English Toffee

English Toffee
Hello there. 
How are things?
Sure wish you talked louder. 
I can barely hear you, ya know. 
Are you enjoying the holiday season…
and have you seen the funny Christmas Commercials from Target? 
You know, with the hilarious blond lady all dressed up in Christmas red, sporting a gigantic strand of pearls. 
The girl cracks me up. 
Just take a look!
Try to remember to come back so we can chat about toffee. 
I’ve been chuckling about the funny Target lady all week. 
“Rum tummy tummy…Ho Ho Ho”
Who thinks this kind of stuff up?
They deserve a pat on the back and a thumbs up, 
if you know what I mean. 
Love a little bit of hardy-har-har this time of year.
Thought you might like to see it too, if you hadn’t already. Also, wanted to let you know that I am guest posting today over at 
Adventures in Mommyland, if you would like to hop over. 

Let’s talk English Toffee shall we?

 This English Toffee recipe comes from our Aunt Delsa. It’s the best toffee recipe I have ever tried. (And I’ve tried a bunch)
The texture is perfect, and the flavor divine.
Don’t be nervous about making toffee. 
I’ll walk you through it, alright? 
Let’s do it. 

English Toffee
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: one large jelly roll pan full
Recipe from the lovely Desla Feil

2 C butter (I use salted)
2 C sugar
3 T corn syrup
6 T hot water
1/2 C sliced almonds (optional, but wonderful)
2 C chocolate chips (semi or milk…whatever you prefer)
 *Tempered chocolate works as well, but is more expensive and hard to come by.
1/2 t shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
1/2 C finely chopped nuts (I like pecans or almonds best)

1. Place the butter in a large heavy pot. Turn the heat to medium high.

2. Once the butter is almost melted add the sugar and stir it well to incorporate.

3. Keep stirring. When the mixture has come to a boil add the corn syrup and stir it well.
4. Add the water a few tablespoon or two at a time, in different spots of the pan. (For some reason I couldn’t get a good picture while I was trying to stir, drip the hot water into the pot and and hold the camera. Picture the water being added in your minds eye, will ya? Thanks for your participation.  You are such a kind reader.)

5. Keep stirring and add the the almonds.

6. Now it’s just you, the wooden spoon and the candy, my friend. Stir it and stir it and stir it over medium heat. You want to continue cooking it until it until it reaches 275-280 degrees. This should only take about 8-10 minutes. It will start to become kind of frothy and light brown in color. If you are worried about your candy thermometer showing inaccurate numbers try this easy test.

SIMPLE TEST: Dip a spoon into the candy. Run cold tap water over the top of it. If the candy turns hard and brittle…it’s done. It’s as simple as that.

7. Remove it from the heat and pour it into a large jelly roll pan. My pan is 11 1/2 by 16 inches. Let it cool completely. Overnight is best.

8. Pour the chocolate chips into a medium sized bowl and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and return to the microwave to heat for another 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
9. Add the shortening and allow it to sit in the chocolate for about 30 seconds. Then stir it around until it melts completely.
10. Pour the chocolate over the top of the cooled candy.

11. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts.
12. Allow the chocolate to cool and set up completely. Then break it into pieces. Store in an air tight container for up to three weeks.
For a complete list of Holiday Treats
click HERE

Post a comment!


  1. 1
    December 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    The Target Lady is hilarious!
    Do you have to have a candy thermometer or can you just use the water test? I've used the water test for years making caramel popcorn.

  2. 2
    December 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I've always wanted to make English toffee, but have been intimidated and nervous to try it. I think you may have inspired me to give it a go! This looks divine. Thanks for all the great recipes.

  3. 3
    December 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    shortening…butter? crisco? oleo?

  4. 4
    December 8, 2011 at 1:34 am

    what size cookie sheet do you use and have you ever used a larger one making a thinner toffee. Any problems with doing that?

  5. 5
    December 8, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Oh, I really want to make this! Think it will be good without the nuts? I bet it will.

  6. 6
    December 8, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I've never used a thermometer before with toffee. I always stir stir stir until its the same color as a brown paper sack. Works every time. Yum!

  7. 7
    December 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I bet the water test would work well. Also, as another reader (and my mother in law) has pointed out if you cook it until it's the color of a paper sack it's done.

    The shortening that goes in the melted chocolate is butter flavored Crisco.

    My cookie sheet is 11 1/2 by 16. The toffee is pretty thin at this size. You could try a larger pan and see how you liked it, but I wouldn't go much bigger than this…might bet too thin.

    Jane Anne,
    It would still be wonderful even without the nuts.

    Good luck everyone! Crossing my fingers it turns out wonderfully for you all.


  8. 8
    December 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I just made some toffee on Monday, and then you posted this. I made mine with out nuts (it was for a party and there could have been nut allergies). I like the thickness of your chocolate I only used 1 cup. I'll have to try this one too. However that means I have to buy more corn syrup. I'm all out. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. 9
    December 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I love to make toffee too. Hard Crack stage using my thermometer was easy – harder to get accurate was making homemade caramels. I tried over and over and adjusted temp for elevation etc. Then I learned to calibrate my thermometer by testing what temperature it read in just simple boiling water and learned it was off by 10 degrees! Now that I know that I adjust everything by how much my thermometer is off and it turns out perfect.
    Here is a link on how to run the test on our own thermometer.


  10. 10
    December 11, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Would love to make this now, it looks so good, but it is 1am! My mother always put nuts, chocolate slivers on the bottom of the pan, then put the toffee on top with the slivers and nuts. The heat from the toffee melted the chocolate. Gives you extra chocolatey goodness! Thanks for posting your recipe!

  11. 11
    December 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I made this over the weekend and it turned out perfectly. I shared some with friends and neighbors and they loved it too. That was my first attempt and I was so glad it was a success. Thanks for the recipe.

  12. 12
    December 19, 2011 at 1:03 am

    OMG! You are my new best friend for sharing this recipe! We LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I must confess, though, that I misread one teeny tiny instruction. Instead of using 1/2 tsp shortening with the melted chocolate, I used 1/2 cup. (Time for new eyeglasses.) Although the chocolate topping didn't harden up quite the way it should have, it came close (a little time in the refrigerator remedied the situation). And it certainly didn't hurt the wonderful taste. If I keel over from a heart attack tonight, that's alright because this toffee was oh, so worth it! I'd want to be buried with this toffee, though.

  13. 13
    December 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I find that putting chocolate chips directly on top of the toffee immediately after its poured is an easier way to get the chocolate topping. The chips melt and are easily spread. Top with nuts and cool.

  14. 14
    Becky Ethington
    December 4, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Hey: I am a self-proclaimed English toffee dropout! I have tried twice now to make these suckers and I always end up with a layer of fat (looks like overly melted butter, kind of separated) on top of the candy part once the toffee has cooled. What causes that? Perhaps if I knew I could stop making that happen. 🙂 I haven’t followed your instructions yet–I’m still at work!–but hopefully they will help. But, if you have any advice to give before I start out I would totally appreciate it.

    I started out looking at this recipe last week but only got as far as the Target lady and had to follow the link. I ended up laughing with my kids looking between me and the computer going, “What? Why is that funny? What are you laughing about?” If you have to be old, and perhaps a woman, to enjoy those commercials, then I am grateful to be an old woman! AWESOME! I totally “get” your sense of humor! 7 months now and I am still loving your blog! Keep it up. 🙂

    • 15
      December 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Becky,
      I had forgotten that I added a link to the funny Target lady when I posted this recipe last year. Thanks for the reminder! Love that funny gal, puts a smile on my face every year. Gald you enjoyed it. 🙂
      As for your toffee making, I myself have ruined several batches. It just takes a litte bit of practice and the right recipes. Follow the instructions and you will be good to go. As for the toffee separating, be carefull about getting any water into the pot (like if you dip a spoon in to the candy, taste it and then put the spoon back in…or if your stirring utensil has water on it). Sometimes this can make the candy separate.
      Good luck! Crossing my fingers it turns out well for you this time around. 🙂

  15. 16
    December 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Looks great…little more intense than mine which comes out the same… 1lb of butter 4 cups of sugar..heat to hard crack on candy therm..or do the water test which i have done for years…pour into lightly buttered cookie sheet let set about 2 minutes pour the chocolate chips on top let set about 30 seconds to a minute run the back of a spoon over it and spread the chips they will be melted and spreads like butter..sprinkle with chopped nuts (your choice) .. put in the fridge till completely set and crack into pieces…Yummy

  16. 17
    Becky E
    December 17, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I tried it tonight and….SUCCESS!!! Maybe it was the water. Either way, I now have a luscious holiday treat to share with the neighbors. Now, on to the peppermint cupcakes… 🙂 Thanks for the tips and a yummy recipe. Keep up the great work! Your new friend, Becky.

    • 18
      December 17, 2012 at 7:03 am

      Woo Hoo! So glad it worked out for you!!!!!!! Hope you love the cupcakes as well. 🙂
      Happy Holidays,

  17. 19
    December 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Hi Jamie,
    today was my first attempt at toffee and I made your recipe. LOVE IT! I have one question, though. When I was breaking up the finished product, I had trouble with the chocolate coming off the toffee. Any idea why or what I can do to prevent this on the next batch? Not really a problem since ny husband gladly volunteered to eat the “Imperfect” ones, but I would like to avoid this on toffee I use as gifts. I used Ghiradeli semi-sweet chips, btw. Thanks for the amazing recipe.

    • 20
      December 18, 2012 at 6:36 am

      Hey Darlyne,
      Next time, if there is a greasy layer on top of the toffee, try to dab some of it off before adding the chocolate. Another option is breaking the toffee pieces apart before you add the chocolate and then dipping the pieces in the chocolate as opposed to pouring the melted chocolate over the top of the toffee. Good luck!

  18. 21
    December 19, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Hi, I have enjoyed many of your recipes and tried the toffee one. When it is done ‘perfectly’ is it a bit sticky on the teeth? The other recipes I looked at cooked to 300 degree; whereas yours is to 280 – which I did. Should I cook it a bit longer if I want to avoid any sticky, or is that just how toffee is.

    I did dry roast the almonds and that is the bomb! It brings out the flavor.

    Thanks for your time and recipes for us to try.

    • 22
      December 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Hi Carrie,
      It shouldn’t be sticky on the teeth. I would suggest cooking it a bit longer next time. Good luck!

  19. 23
    December 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    OMGoodness…Jamie. This turned out beautifully and I’m so so glad I tried it. 10 mins was just right. I did do what another person suggested, though, because just after I poured the toffee into the pan, I noticed a light butter layer on top, so I thought I would try to melt the choco chips right on that–made sense to me that the butter layer would absorb into the chips, thus leaving it shiny and smooth ! Perfection !! Thanks–and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and everyone !

  20. 24
    December 10, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Why do my cookies go flat when they come out of the oven so nice and puffy?

    • 25
      December 11, 2013 at 6:33 am

      Try popping your dough into the fridge for 30 minutes before you shape and bake it. I bet it will help. 🙂 Good luck!

    • 26
      February 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Christi Ferguson – SO BEAUTIFUL! The photography, and the model! =) I can aettst to both of your work first hand; Katelin you’re amazing as always and Dana’s your treats are insanely good!! Love, love, LOVE!3.22.2011 1:56 pm

  21. 27
    December 14, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Es todo tan apetitoso que intentaré hacer todas estas maravillosas recetas.Feliz Navidad!

  22. 28
    December 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Can’t wait to try this. But 2 questions:
    do you grease the pan ?
    when letting harden overnight do you put in frig or just leave on counter ?
    thanks so much

    • 29
      December 24, 2013 at 7:50 am

      No need to grease the pan, and just leave it on the counter to set. Good luck!

      • 30
        November 20, 2017 at 5:47 pm

        I pour mine on parchment paper. Works great!

  23. 31
    December 23, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    The Target lady is my FAVORITE commedienne, Maria Bamford. Search her on you tube. Especially episodes of The Maria Bamford Show. They’re just a couple minutes each and are hysterical. Try to watch them in order.
    I’m going to try the toffee, it’ll be my first attempt. Thanks for posting!

    • 32
      December 24, 2013 at 7:49 am

      Thanks for the info on Maria Bamford. I will check her out on You Tube. Have a Merry Christmas!

  24. 33
    January 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Is 2 cups of butter correct? Because when I put mine in the jelly roll pan, it was very smooth and greasy from butter.

  25. 34
    December 19, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Thanks for this. I found the recipe quite by accident last year and made up a batch (it took a couple of tries as I’m in the rockies so the temps are a bit different, the mistakes were tasty too). It was a hit and I’m about to make some more.

  26. 35
    December 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Just finished my second pan today only 2 more to go. Thanks

  27. 36
    Nancy N
    December 21, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Almost like mine which I have been making for years and everyone loves it, so easy. Bring 2c. granulated sugar and 1 lb. butter to a boil over medium heat until it reaches 300 degrees on the candy thermometer. Quickly pour into a prepared lightly buttered jelly roll pan. Grind 1/2 cups almonds. Sprinkle 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips over hot toffee in pan and spread evenly over toffee when chips are melted. Sprinkle with ground almonds. Allow to cool in cool place until chocolate is hardened, crack, and enjoy. It is so simple, delicious, and always turns out. As they say “try it, you’ll like it”.

  28. 37
    December 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Yummy! My mom always puts a bag of chocolate chips right over the toffee while it’s hot and it melts it so you can spread it around easy. Also, we keep a brown paper bag next to the pan, it’s the perfect color to know when it’s done 🙂

    • 38
      December 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks for leaving this great tip!

  29. 39
    November 20, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Well, I made this and the toffee turned out perfectly!!
    But… the chocolate wants to come off in places. Is there a chocolate that won’t do this?
    Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  30. 40
    December 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

    I have never used corn syrup or water. In my toffee interesting

    • 41
      December 1, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Seems strange adding water to hot stuff? Have you tried it? Was also,thinking of trying white chocolate for a change

  31. 42
    December 21, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Do you butter the pan?

    • 43
      December 22, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Thanks for your question. No need to butter the pan. Cooking spray should work out fine.

  32. 44
    November 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Fantastic! Just broke up my first batch and took a little nibble – really good and relatively simple to make. It bears repeating as I will be giving away lots for Christmas!

  33. 45
    December 1, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I made this toffee and it turned out perfect. The question I have is about the chocolate. When I was breaking it up some of the chocolate didn’t stay on the toffee. It separated. What did I do wrong?

    • 46
      December 2, 2018 at 7:01 am

      Hi Dee,
      So glad the toffee turned out so well. I find that my chocolate slips off sometimes too, not sure of the reason. I think if has to do with the toffee being so buttery. Sorry I don’t have a clear solution for you!

  34. 47
    December 3, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Don’t need corn syrup or water… works great without it. I’ve been making this for 25 years. 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar… easy peasy! I make peanut butter toffee, pina colada toffee, espresso toffee, peppermint bark toffee, pumpkin spice. For the person with question who wants to know about chocolate separation: could be because you don’t stir enough while cooking OR if the pot you use is thin and doesn’t conduct heat well, then the toffee is not being cooked at a consistent temp.

  35. 48
    December 10, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    I made this and it seems like the butter separated to the top when it set overnight. What did I do wrong?

  36. 49
    Gary Roszell
    December 17, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    I’ve made this a couple times already this season because I can’t keep my wife out of it! I’m going to have to make another batch to hand out.

  37. 50
    December 21, 2018 at 6:03 am

    This toffee is the bomb !!! Turn out great. I left mine in the fridge over night. Then let it get to room temperature . I pattied the toffee with paper towel to remove the film of butter or excess. Than melted the chocolate and poured it on the toffee and back in the fridge overnight before breaking it into pieces.

  38. 51
    Celeste Orgeron
    December 21, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I’ve come back to this recipe every year for 7-8 years now. This has become a holiday staple! Thank you for this recipe!

  39. 52
    February 17, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    I, too, put my chocolate on top of my hot toffee and let it sit until the chips are shiny. Spreads like a charm. I spray my 9×13-inch pan to put it in. I found that if you let your toffee come to room temp before breaking it up, the chocolate stays on the toffee.

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