Here is a Twist on Chocolate Dessert Recipes

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Happy English Toffee Day!

January 8th is National English Toffee Day!  This is the day we worship that crunchy, buttery confection that is to some, an obsession. Derived originally from pulled taffy, this confection was originally made by boiling molasses with flour.  There are many variations of toffee.  The English and the Welsh make toffee that is more like what Americans call taffy–a chewy confection.

But here in the U.S., toffee is generally a butter and sugar mixture cooked to the hard crack stage (300-310 degrees) and finished with chocolate and nuts.  This recipe has been in our repertoire for many years.  We still think it’s the best around.  Invest in a reliable candy thermometer and never, never substitute another type of fat for the butter.  It’s the butter that makes it magic!  So let’s raise a wooden spoon to National English Toffee Day!

English Butter Toffee


1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

4 ounces milk chocolate

½ cup finely chopped pecans


Combine butter, sugar, water and salt in a heavy 2 ½ quart pan.  Cook over medium heat to dissolve sugar.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook mixture until candy thermometer reads 305° F.  Final cooking will happen fairly quickly, so shake pan or stir to keep mixture combined.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Immediately pour onto heavily buttered sheet pan.  Cool completely.

Melt semisweet and milk chocolate in top of double boiler or in a microwave oven on medium (50% power) stirring until smooth. Spread half of chocolate over 1 side of toffee and sprinkle with half of nuts Refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Reheat remaining chocolate until flowing. Turn toffee over and spread other side with chocolate and sprinkle with remaining nuts. Refrigerate until firm. When chocolate is set, break toffee into pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

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