English Toffee

Total Time:
30 min
20 min
10 min

about 40 pieces

  • 14 tablespoons (1 stick, plus 6 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Dash salt
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips or thin chocolate bars

Generously butter a cookie sheet.

Put butter, sugar, and water in a heavy pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a bubbling boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove spoon from pan, and cook to a very brittle stage (300 degrees to 310 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Or, make a cold water test: candy will separate into hard, brittle threads when dropped in cold water. Remove from heat and add nuts to mixture. Add vanilla and salt. Pour onto prepared cookie sheet and spread to 1/4-inch thickness. Cool slightly, top with chocolate chips or chocolate bars, and spread as it melts. Cool completely and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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    194 Reviews
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    First time through I burned the toffee, once the temp just reached 300 degrees I took it off the heat the 2x and it turned out perfectly. The 3x I made the recipe I about doubled the amount of almonds and liked it even more! Next time I sprinkled sea salt to the top as it's cooling, sweet and salty. This is an addictively good recipe my whole family loves!
    I make this every year, but I change a couple of things...not a big fan of pecans so I use almonds (or no nuts) and only cook to soft crack stage at 290.
    Yummmyyyyy!!! These are delicious! They're very easy and quick to make! The recipe doesn't tell you to melt the chocolate first, but Paula's video does, and it works much better to melt the chocolate. I used almost 12 oz of chocolate chips. I also patted some of the excess butter off of the top of the slightly cooled toffee before I put the chocolate on, and the chocolate stuck much better. (when I made them last year I didn't do that and the chocolate didn't stick to the toffee)
    Very easy recipe, but you must keep an eye on it, sugar burns quickly. 
    I wanted a less crackly toffee with just a bit of a chew in it so I took it off the heat right at the 305 temp on the candy thermometer. 
    Very tasty butter toffee which I'm very proud to give as gifts.
    I loved this toffee. The semi-sweet chocolate made it like a dark chocolate heath bar (which is one of my favourite candy bars). plus everyone loves dark chocolate right? It's healthy for you.
    Love Paula, thankful for the video!
    I love toffee, and didn't realize it was so easy to make! I had great success with this recipe, and will never buy toffee again. I used organic raw fair trade sugar, which yielded a much darker toffee with a rich flavor. I also used almonds instead of pecans. It was amazing!
    My favorite candy bar is a Heath Bar. I see no need to buy another one after making this! This is way better.
    This is a great recipe, & i have done similar recipes for years! But recently had trouble with "chocolate bloom" after adding the chocolate pieces to the toffee. I tried melting and tempering the chocolate first then brushing/smearing it onto the toffee but this is time consuming & often difficult. Why cant I just add the chocolate pieces the normal way without the bloom?
    This was the very first candy recipe I've ever made. It was so easy and turned out wonderfully. The only thing I did differently was to pour the toffee onto silicone coated parchment paper instead of a cookie sheet. That made removal extremely easy. 
    If you've never made candy and are trying this recipe at high altitude, make sure you adjust your temperature accordingly. I'm in Denver and had to adjust the temp down about 11 degrees. Just look up on google how to calibrate your candy thermometer for high altitude.
    SO GOOD! SO EASY! Do yourself a favor and make this sometime, you wont regret it. I followed the instructions, but I used a nice milk chocolate for the topping, which I melted in a double boiler. Once the toffee hardened, I poured the chocolate on top. In my first batch I has some issues with the chocolate sticking to the toffee, so the next time I made it I patted the toffee with a paper towel to get any excess oil off, then I poured the chocolate on top, doing this really helped a lot!
    Oh MY HEAVENLY DAYS ! this the BEST candy I've ever eaten... DELISH!!!!!!
    This recipe was very easy to follow. I do suggest watching the video first. The video was slightly different directions than the written recipe.
    I have made this recipe in the past, but misplaced my printed copy, so I went back and printed another - I wonder if the instructions were changed because I followed it to the letter, and the toffee was a dark coffee color. I have never had luck doing the whole water test thing for soft ball, hard ball etc. so I usually rely on a candy thermometer. I did not watch the video, since I have made this before and remember watching the show. I have experienced time/temperature issues before with recipes on Foodnetwork website. The only change I made (and have when the recipe works is to omit the nuts from the toffee (which would not have made a difference in the cooking because I like to press the chopped nuts in the chocolate before it hardens. I did watch the video, and Paula said to cook it to about 300-320 degrees - 320 would be WAY to high. I used to love this toffee, but I guess I need to research other recipes to verify what temperature I should cook the sugar to....
    The toffee tastes amazing! Quite a bit of separation of the butter and toffee, so after chilling for about 5 minutes I just drained the excess butter and patted dry the toffee with paper towels and then continued to chill for a couple of hours before breaking apart. I had the worst time getting the chocolate to stick to the toffee, after it all chilled the chocolate would break off from the toffee when I went to break it into pieces. Overall, the taste is great and I made 4 batches of this stuff. Oh, and I used 2 full sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar, and I boiled it until it turned the color of peanut butter, didn't even bother pulling out my candy thermometer.
    I was having a serious chocolate craving and did not want to take the time to make cookies or a cake. I remembered this recipe had chocolate, so I cued up the video and made it while watching it. Turned out great. Didn't wait for the chocolate to harden. Thanks for sharing!!
    I kept stirring, can't imagine not continuing to stir, as it would just burn on the bottom, and it didn't take nearly as long as I expected it to per the directions. That said, it was very easy, tasted quite lovely, though in the future I will use milk chocolate and reduce the amount of chocolate, possibly by as much a a half.
    I really hate the day I found this recipe. I am up to 6 batches or more every year, just for me to have one piece, and oh we aren't even talking about the calories. I put the cold salted butter,water,sugar on low to med. heat, I continue to stir even though she says to stop, I go hard ball stage. I dont put all the butter it calls for I take the amount it calls for, i take the 6 T amount and grease my cookie sheet what ever is left I put in the mixture. when it gets to hardball stage i pour it on the cookie sheet and let it coolabout a min., then i take my chocolate lay it on top I use the better choclate. Godiva,ghirardelli,lindt chocolate the kind i like to eat. when it sets a min or two, i spread it out. let it cool usually takes about 2 or 3 hours then break it apart
    Made it without the chocolate...still WONDERFUL!!!
    I made this and it didn't come out good at all, it is very loose, I guess I didn't cook it long enough, the directions say 10min. I think it must be a lot longer that that. Not going to give up, going to have a go at it again! I'm going to increase the sugar like some of you have suggested and see if that helps the problem.
    used almonds but it was great,
    After reading reviews, I changed the recipe: 
    -used 1 and a half cups of sugar so that there isn't the excess butter problem some others had 
    -MELT THE BUTTER FIRST. In the video, the butter was already melted, but in the recipe, it didn't specify 
    -lastly, i just took MANY people's advice on judging the butter/sugar and taking it out when it was a peanut butter color, instead of using a candy thermometer 
    It turned out great! My first time making candy and it was delicious! :D My mom said that the toffee was too sweet, but like Paula said, it was for a sweet tooth. I love this.
    I love it!! I made two batches one right after the other and both turned out perfect. I did use one and a half cups of sugar and cooked it for about fifteen to twenty minutes instead of ten. It came out perfect just like it was bought from a candy store. No problems at all. You just have to be patient and stir it until it turns to a light peanut butter color and thats it. So delish!! Will definately pass on the recipe to family and friends.
    Here's some advice for those (like me who experienced problems making this toffee: use a 2 quart pot to make the toffee and don't let the thermometer touch the bottom of the pot for a more accurate reading (I originally used a pan and laid the thermometer in the pan following Paula's video, and ended up with toffee that didn't set. After my Mom gave me the above advice, my toffee turned out perfect and was absolutely wonderful!
    Love Paula to death, but will NEVER make this again. This first time I used the candy thermometer, and it burned. The second time I went by color, and it wasn't quite there. It ended up grainy. I wasted good butter and vanilla on this. I think if I want toffee, I will buy it.
    Wow! I made this without a thermometer and used the color of peanut butter as my guide to when its ready. I melted the butter, added the sugar, then the water and cooked til the same color as PB (I didn't add salt because I used salted butter. After cooking on medium heat for about 7 to 8 min, it looked like the proper color but the oil from the butter was just starting to separate. I cut the heat, added the vanilla and a cup of walnuts and quickly put it on the buttered sheet pan. The oil from the butter seemed to reincorporate into the mixture. Let it cool a bit while melting 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in microwave in 20 sec intervals until melted then covered the toffee with the chocolate. It turned out perfect! Love you Paula!
    I made this recipe again for Christmas gifts. It is soo easy, and soo good. All of my daughters teachers have begged me for this toffee again this year. It is a favorite of everyone who tries it! I love Paula- and her toffee!!
    After reading some of these reviews I was scared to death at attempting what seemed like a fairly easy recipe. I gave it a shot anyway and followed Paula's directions to a T, using a candy thermometer. The only thing I did differently was melt the chocolate in the microwave before putting it on the toffee. It turned out perfectly on my first try. To make sure it wasn't beginners luck I quickly made another batch and it was perfect too. Read the directions and you will be fine.
    This recipe is my favorite go to for holiday hostess gifts. It is simply divine, and everyone flips. I experiment with the chocolate I melt on top--from semi sweet morsels to expensive dark chocolate.
    Pack it in a little colored box with tissue and a bow and it's good to go!
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