This English Toffee Recipe is so SUPER, SUPER SIMPLE and it only requires 4 ingredients! This is my absolute favorite candy! If I could only eat one candy this would be it!
Out of all of our Christmas Candies, this 4 Ingredient English Toffee recipe is my absolute favorite Christmas candy recipe! This easy English toffee has a wonderful crunch with a nutty caramely flavor and a hint of chocolate. It’s great to include in a party dish with other tasty Christmas candies. Mmmm, I’m tempted to go make some now!
I see recipes all over for English toffee but those recipes include saltine crackers in them. Toffee is so super simple to make why would you waste a glorious candy like that by adding crackers?
Here is our English Toffee recipe from volume 1 of our cookbook. Try it and you will wonder why you never made it from scratch before!
English Toffee Recipe
1 cup nuts, chopped (pecans or walnuts are best) *
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Butter an 8×8 inch pan. Spread the nuts in the bottom of the pan. On medium heat, bring the sugar and butter to a boil and boil 7 minutes. Spread into the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Let it sit a few minutes. When melted, spread evenly. Let cool before cracking into pieces. Makes 24 pieces.
- White Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts (not cheap but to die for!)
- Dark Chocolate with Almonds
Click here to get our Dining On A Dime Cookbooks 25% Off NOW! They’re filled with tasty recipes and tips to make your life easier!
Is there a tip for how not to burn the sugar? I followed the directions, but mine burnt. Thankfully, I love burnt marshmallows & the flavor reminds me of when I make smores, but I’m not making this for me alone! LOL
You need to turn the heat down much lower it sounds like and stir it continually. That may help. Some stoves cook really hot. You might try another pan too. I had family members who insisted that I use these very expensive pans (I think they were stainless steel) and I hated them because I burnt everything I made even when I used my lowest heat. The pans mixed with my stove cooked to hot so those are are couple of things you might try.
I wish you would have included “stir continually” in the recipe directions. I have never made any kind of candy, so I followed the directions exactly. My sugar burned even though I used a very heavy bottomed pan.
We will try to get that changed.
Stirring constantly until it reaches the soft crack stage on a candy thermometer. (270 to 290 degrees)
You will begin to smell a burt sugar oder if you let it get to hot. At the first whiff, remove from heat and pour in the prepared pan. I like to use buttered foil on a cookie sheet as it makes it easier to break into pieces.
Maybe also try using a double boiler. If you don’t have one, you can rig up your own using a heat-resistant bowl (glass or metal) and a pan of simmering water. Firstly, make sure the bowl is large enough to not slip into the pan. Next, place the ingredients into the bowl and place the bowl over the simmering pan. Do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. This should melt the ingredients without burning them. (There are instructions online if mine aren’t clear enough).
Try using a flame tamer. They are about $10 on Amazon.
I made this yesterday afternoon and my family loved it. Easy-peezy! I will definitely keep this recipe on hand for Christmas! Side note – I used a very heavy bottomed sauce pan to make this and stirred it several times to check for burning. Well back to my newsletter, cup of coffee and chunk of toffee. :)
So glad you liked it Brenda. This is great to make to give as a quick gift. Most of us have all the ingredients on hand and I toss mine in a cellophane bag with a ribbon. Easy, fast and inexpensive.
Mary Sue Hopper
Could you use a double boiler as I don’t believe I have a pan with a heavy enough bottom. Mine scorched both times I have attempted to make it.
Yes, you can. If it’s scorching turn down the heat. Tawra (posting as Mike -)
Can you double this recipe? If so do I need to add to the cooking time?
Kathy I have not doubled this recipe before. Most cooked candy recipes are not safe to double it but that being said if I was going try doubling one this is the one I would try it on.I wouldn’t add any cooking time though. The thing is this is so easy to make that it is really not that much extra to make 2 batches.
Grizzly Bear Mom
Kathy Poulson, most cooking is merely physical change. Stew+cut up meat and vegetables. If you tried hard enough you could seperate each individual component. Cake, souffle and candy making are chemical changes in that you can no longer seperate the ingredients. Doubling the ingredients and only cooking them the few minutes instructed in the recipe may result in slop or sauce rathern than candy. I would follow the directions exactly until I didn’t have to ask questions like this any more.
Yet, why not ask? Chances are that another reader has doubled the recipe and knows the answer. I would definitely try doubling the recipe after having made one batch following the recipe so that I knew what it should look like. Chances are quite good that the time won’t need to be doubled when doubling the recipe. I have doubled many recipes and found that I do not need to double the cooking time. If I put a half stick of butter on the stove to melt, or a full stick, both take the same amount I’d time. The main key is going to be how much of the mixture will be touching the surface of the pan at one time. That week new the deciding factor of how long to cook a recipe. Even with one batch being made it could take longer depending on the stove to .and whether the stove is gas our electric. I prefer gas, I have better control over the amount of heat being used!
You can easily double most recipes the only time I am a little hesitant about doubling a recipe is with some cooked candy that it does make a difference when you double them.
Hello! I just made this recipe, doubled it, so I could make one with walnuts and one with almonds. It came out fine, still cooling down. I would warn people to be careful with the sugar / butter mixture, it’s REALLY hot. The right pot / pan is important, I used a wooden spoon and kept scraping down the sides too. For getting the chips to melt, I put a cover over the pan for a few minutes so that the heat was kept in and I didn’t have any un-melted chips. :-) Thanks for the recipe! Julie
I’ve made this before and it turned out great but this time it burnt. Do you think it had something to do with using dark brown sugar?
Not sure Lisa. I assumed you used the same stove because some stoves cook hotter than others. You might use light brown sugar and turn the burner down a bit next time. Also be sure to stir constantly.
I have two questions. Did you use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar….and did you use semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips? Thanks :)
I used light brown sugar and you can use semi sweet or milk choc. chips that is just taste preference although I usually use semi sweet.
Do you toast the nuts or use them plain?
Either way but we use them plain.
I would leave the nuts out, for my family it would be enjoyed a lot more if there were no nuts in it.
I just made this. I did exactly as you said, but i’m worried that it won’t harden. It still looks soft, cooling in the pan. If it doesn’t harden, is there anything that I can do at this point, or is this ruined?
If it doesn’t harden it will still be fine to eat it would just be more like chocolate covered caramels. Next time just cook it a minute or so more.
Cook to hard crack with a candy thermometer…
I love your recipes for candy!
I made this yesterday and it did not harden up. I’m very disappointed in it to say the least. I know I cooked it longer than the 7 minutes from the time it started a rolling boil. It’s way too soft and sugary tasting. What did I do wrong????
It there is humidity it can sometimes make a difference also you need to make sure you used salted stick butter. Whipped butter or margarine will not work in this recipe.
I have made this recipe!! Super easy and taste so good!!
I have to say that the questions portion of this is very helpful… some of my questions were answered by your responses… My toffee is cooling as I write this. I KNOW for a fact, that even toffee that did not set up … is great eating !
I tripled this recipe today. Used chopped almonds. Mine didn’t harden completely either so I put it in the freezer for a few minutes before breaking it up. Why do you need to use salted butter? I guess I overlooked that part ?. Is this supposed to harden up like peanut brittle or a heath bar? Maybe I’ll try individual batches next time.
You can’t cook candies by doubling or tripling the batches. It just doesn’t work. If you make each batch separate it should work just fine.
I know this is the wrong thread for this comment, but could I just say that it’s ok if you need to scale back a bit on Christmas baking/candy? As much as we love doing it, my daughter and I are both sick this year with serious illnesses and it will have to be 2-ingredient fudge and doctored up cookie dough (I’m the queen of doctored up cookie dough, lol!). People really do understand and our family has been just great with helping us. so the little gifts are what matter this year.
Only 4 ingredients :) and looks so tasty… I will try this recipe
Great recipe– just about foolproof! The only note I would like to share is that it’s probably best to pour the toffee mixture into the corners first– much easier than trying to tip the pan around to get the toffee over all those nooks and crannies created by the layer of nuts! Thanks, ladies! :)
Could you use a double boiler for sugar & butter?
Delicious and Simple to make! My husband loved it!
I made this toffee and it had so much oil I had to dump it out so the toffee could harden and while I was cooking the butter and brown sugar it started smelling burnt with 3 minutes left on simmer stage.
Not sure what happened. Some stoves cook hotter than others or you had the burner on too high. There could have been a couple of different things that could have happened.
Also it could be you melted the sugar and butter together on too high of heat to start off with.
How long can you store this?
I have stored mine for at least a month. It is just butter, sugar and chocolate so there is nothing to spoil.
I made this today.
Thank you Randy so glad you liked it.
Would love to try this. Should I stir the sugar and butter while it is cooking?
I stir it occasionally at first. After it starts changing color I watch it more closely and stir more. One thing you need to do is too melt the sugar and butter together on low at first just to help with the oil not separating. Then once it is melted you can turn it up to a medium heat. When it comes to a rolling boil you time it for 7 mins. Stirring occasionally.
Awesome! Thanks for the help…will let you know how it turns out!
Any suggestions for people who can’t eat nuts ?
Just leave the nuts out. Nuts in most cases don’t make a difference in a recipe usually. It is like adding blueberries or chocolate chips to pancakes or muffins – they are good with or without them.
I Googled “replacement for nuts”. These are the answers: 1). Granola; 2) crisp rice cereal
3) pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or combination of. They also recommended dried cranberries, a mixture of any dried fruit might be nice as well. Hope this helps.
You can do these for some things but for this toffee recipe some of these will change the flavor quite a bit so it is best just to not use the nuts. We have several in our family who can’t have nuts and have just left them out for them and it tastes pretty much the same.
If the seeds were toasted the texture would be more like nuts!
That is true but the thing with this recipe is the nuts give it a certain flavor and the texture is not as important as the flavor. If they were in a muffin or a salad then the texture would be important.
Are you a new cook? I agree with what has been said, just forget the nuts.
I think I would prefer the nuts on top of the chocolate.
I have done it all ways. Nuts mixed in, nuts on top but my favorite nuts on top and mixed in. :) You can add them anyway you want or leave them out this recipe is butter and sugar it is going to taste good no matter what.
When the toffee is boiling for 7 minutes do you stir it thank you
I just stir it a little to make sure it isn’t sticking. It is best to stay right with it because it can boil over if you aren’t watching it.
This sounds amazing. Can I double the recipe and make in a 9×13?
Yes you can Lori.
Is this hard or somewhat soft ?
It is not soft and chewy like taffy or a caramel but it isn’t rock candy hard either. It isn’t he kind that will break a tooth or on the other hand pull out a cavity if that makes sense. Now if you cook it too long or not enough that will make a slight difference. I don’t know if you know what a Heath candy bar is but it is just like that.
I have candied pecans on hand. Can I use them instead of plain pecans?
Yes you can Susan. Nuts in recipes like this don’t effect them. I have often would do a pan with nuts and one without nuts for those who don’t like nuts.
Made recipe. Couldn’t get out of dish (buttered) and choc would not get hard. Finally put in refrigerator. Hope this helps. Love this stuff!!! What did I do wrong???
Not sure what went wrong but you do need to butter the pan really well. I use a pan like an thinner 9×9 cake pan or something that I can slightly twist plus sometimes if you poke a table knife straight down the center that helps to crack it a little and it will come out. Not sure why the chocolate didn’t get hard especially after you put it in the fridge.
I have lined my pan with parchment paper and it comes out nicely
Yes you can use parchment paper. It is just so buttery and with the pan I use it slides right out without the parchment paper but it is perfectly fine to use it.
no candy thermometer temperature for candy?
No Carolyn that is what is so great about this recipe and many others you really don’t need a candy thermometer. They are not quite as sensitive as some that we use to have to do with a thermometer.
Forgive my ignorance here, but how do I boil brown sugar and butter? Does it liquefy? Should I stir constantly and watch it? I’m not too good about burning stuff on the stove, alas. As for the chocolate, I want to use a bittersweet chocolate bar (65-70% cacao), so would this recipe still work if I melted it first? I don’t think the big chunks will melt enough to spread just sitting there on their own, would they? Thanks!
Tina the butter melts and becomes a liquid so that is how they boil. Since you are doing this for the first time stay with it and keep stirring it. Once you have made this a couple of times it really is easy. Like many things you just need to practice a couple times to get the hang of it. As far as the chocolate goes you can melt it or even just soften it slightly.
Hi, I made the recipe today, and it tasted very sugary. Great tate, just not the texture I expected. I was expecting it to be smooth like toffee. Did I do something wrong?
There are a few different things that could have happened. First always cook it on medium heat not high, second stir it slowly and stir until the sugar and butter is well blended and melted together then just stir once in awhile but keep watching it. Altitude and humidity can all affect candy. Also some butters can not work quite right because of their water content.
Can you double the recipe
I really don’t recommend double any candy recipe that you need to cooked. Recipes like our york peppermint patties or peanut butter cups you can because you don’t cook those but anything else to play it save I don’t double. Plus if you happen to do something wrong (and it can happen to the most experienced cooks) you have less ingredients that have been wasted.
What kind of butter, salted or unsalted?
Salted but it really doesn’t make any difference.
Hi Jill, i made it just now but is a,soft tecture, nit hard and brakeable, i used woidenspokn margerine and think that is my problem as you say it may have a water content
Yes Lettie this recipe really needs room temp butter and not margarine. There are a couple of butters out there that might not work too but just try another brand.
Can I use parchment paper instead of buttering the pan?
Yes you can.
Are you suppose to stir it?
I gently stir if when I first mix it then just stir it gently every once in awhile
This is not only super easy but tastes great as well. I’m making more but adding crushed peppermint candy to it this time.
If I double the recipe, do I double the time for cooking?
Terry it probably would be better to make two separate batches because some of these cooked candies don’t do quite as good when you double them.
Why did my butter and brown sugar mixture turn dark when heating up?
You may have had the heat too high (it needs to be cooked on a medium heat) or cooked it to long and it started burning.
Well, It doesn’t tell you to stir it . Almost every candy recipe I’ve ever made if it’s boiling you HAVE to stir it the whole time it’s boiling . So this would be stirred for 7 minutes . Mine turned almost black too ,because it’s burned .
You don’t need to continually stir this candy. There are many candies you shouldn’t stir while cooking. Like many candies you need to watch it carefully and don’t walk away from it because it can go from golden and ready to pour to black with in a few seconds. Also be sure to not have the heat too high. But the main thing is don’t get distracted and stand and watch it for when it is ready. Some stoves cook at different temps too so you may have to cook it for a minute or two less.
Can this recipe be doubled? If so, how long do I bowl?
No it is best not to double it or most cooked candies.
Brenda Jean Beers
Thank you so much for the recipe and for answering the plethora of questions. I hope to make this soon.
I like Heath bars but actually prefer Skore bars..I may have misspelled it.
Thanks again and have a Happy and Blessed 2022!