English Toffee is a classic holiday candy: buttery candy poured over almonds, topped with milk chocolate and walnuts. Make it in a brownie bite pan to get the cutest toffee bites – perfect for gifting!
I’m shocked that this is my second holiday season and I haven’t shared these English Toffee bites with all of you until today!
Thanks to one of my besties, RHONDA (hey girl!!), she shared this awesome English Toffee recipe with me years ago. And it became a tradition that we would have a holiday candy-making day.
We even would get our oldest daughters involved. Natasha on left, my daughter Alyssa on right- taken in 2008 they were just babies!
We usually gave them the job of rolling Peanut Butter Buckeyes and wrapping homemade caramels…you know, the “chores”!
This English Toffee is typically made in an 11×7 pan, but a few years ago I found a silicone brownie bite pan. And it’s all I use now. No more slicing toffee, just pop the toffee bites out and you’re good to go.
However, if you don’t own one of these pans (or 5 like I do), feel free to pour your English Toffee into a foil-lined 11×7 pan and slice the finished toffee into pieces.
Just make sure not to cut English Toffee while it’s cold or the chocolate will separate from the toffee. Keep it room temp!
Oh, and breaking English Toffee into pieces will leave you some shards on your cutting board. SAVE THESE. They are delicious on ice cream. Just sayin!
How to Make English Toffee
My English Toffee recipe starts with whole almonds spread across the pan or divided evenly into each of the silicone brownie bite pan compartments (about 2-3 almonds per slot).
In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, margarine, sugar, salt and vanilla. You’re going to want to use a wooden spoon (yes, really a wooden spoon!) to stir this mixture constantly (yes, really constantly!) while it comes to a boil.
Once it starts boiling, let it continue to boil for 5-7 minutes. Don’t stop stirring!
The goal is for the candy to be the color of almonds. I like to keep an extra almond next to the stove so I can compare the color easily – take a look at the recipe video to see what I mean. If you prefer to use a thermometer, the goal is about 300 degrees.
As soon as the candy reaches this point, quickly pour or scoop it into the prepared pan over the almonds.
Once the candy has cooled, spread the melted chocolate over the top and sprinkle generously with the walnuts. If you like, you can also choose to cover both sides of the English Toffee or toffee bites with chocolate and walnuts. YUM.
Why does my butter separate when making toffee?
A couple of things can cause the butter to separate. The first is using cheaper, thinner lined saucepans.
Reach for a heavy-bottomed saucepan to help with this. Even using a small enameled Dutch oven would work.
The second can be from heating the butter and margarine too quickly. Keep the pan over medium to medium-high heat. Don’t crank the heat up for the sake of bringing it to a boil faster.
Can I use all butter?
Short answer: Yes!
However, the reason I like to use half butter and half margarine when I make English Toffee is that I find I get more reliable results, without any separation of the butter and sugar. The flavor is still amazing!
Give this English Toffee recipe a try. I can promise that these little toffee bites will become a seasonal favorite with your family – they’re too delicious to resist!
Why does my chocolate fall off the toffee when I cut it?
This is most likely due to excess butter on the toffee surface. Before adding your chocolate, be sure to wipe the top of your toffee with a dry paper towel to absorb any excess butter.
If it still feels a little “greasy”, sprinkle a small amount of cocoa powder or crushed nuts to the top before adding your chocolate. This should help!
More Holiday treats
- Chocolate Peppermint Graham Crackers
- Peppermint Meringues
- MORE Christmas Cookies
- Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
- Peanut Butter Fudge
- Peppermint Bark
- Churro Toffee
- Divinity Candy
- Christmas Crack
- Sugar Cookies – perfect no-spread cut out cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup margarine
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 ounce milk chocolate melted
- 1 cup unblanched whole almonds
- 1 cup finely ground walnuts
- On a foil lined baking dish (11×7)- or in a silicone brownie bite pan (with 24 bites)- arrange almonds in a single layer. Set aside.
- In a heavy pan, combine butter, margarine, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat with a wooden spoon until butter melts, stirring constantly. (REALLY STIRRING CONSTANTLY)! Bring mixture to a rolling boil. Continue boiling (AND STIRRING) an additional 5-7 minutes until candy turns the color of almonds (about 300 degrees). Pour over almonds. If using the brownie bite pan, I use a small metal scoop to get toffee into each bite, working quickly!
- Cool completely.
- When candy is cooled and set (about 2 hours), spread chocolate over top of toffee. Sprinkle generously with ground walnuts. If doing both sides, use only half of the chocolate and walnuts. Allow top to set before flipping over and doing bottom. When set, pop out of silicone pan and store in a airtight containers. OR cut into pieces. ENJOY!
- Tip- when I say stirring, I'm talking taking that wooding spoon and whipping it! haha!! I have an electric stovetop and turn my heat on 7…and it remains on 7 through the entire boiling process.
- If you choose to scoop into brownie bite pan vs.pouring into a baking pan, your butter might separate a little bit by the time you get to the 20th scoop! Don't worry about it. I use my scooper to slightly stir as I take a scoop of toffee.
- Many will ask WHY DOES MY BUTTER SEPARATE? This can be from using cheaper, thinner lined saucepans. It could be from heating the butter and margarine too quickly.
- You may say, "CAN I USE ALL BUTTER?" The answer is yes. However, I find I get reliable results, with no separation of butter and sugar, when I use half margarine. The flavor is still amazing!
Since I started using cold butter my toffee never separates. Maybe I am just better after making it for so long if it does separate it still tastes good on ice ream. I also use a thermometer adjusted to my 5000 ft elevation 280 degrees. I also pour the vanilla in at the very end. Your ingredients are exactly the same as mine except I used pecans.
Love the idea of molds.
Toffee is the most requested of the holiday treats I make and I make a lot.
For the chocolate can I use milk chocolate morsels melted?
These are amazing. Thank you so much for posting this! I have actually been holding onto this recipe since last year. I did follow the recipe exactly, and they turned out perfect. A couple of notes I will add:
1. I used a 6.5 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven
2. Using the ratio to make them look as pictured, this actually made about 50 (pleasant surprise!)
3. I tried putting them in the mold BOTH using a cookie scoop and using a batter dispenser – definitely recommend the batter dispenser, this made it go super fast!
4. I used a brownie bite silicone mold with 40 holes, definitely would recommend!!
Great tips, thank you!
I’ve been making toffee for over 45 years… and not just plain…pina colada, peanut butter and espressoso are some…so here are some tips. Butter should be at room temp and stirring while cooking should be consistent. If you add chocolate while toffee is hot enough you won’t have separating. And never use margarine as the chemicals can effect the separating and flavor. Real candy makers don’t use articial anything! Use salted butter and eliminate added salt step. And in addition you don’t need a thermometer… when toffee starts boiling and steam comes out of bubbles, it’s done! You can keep cooking if you want a darker color.
Would love to see your pina colada toffee recipe!! Thank you for the tips!
Can you send me your recipe for Pina colada and espresso toffee? I would love to try these!
Would love your other recipes… pina colada and espresso
Can you use butter with a little oil, instead of margarine?
You can use butter (not oil). Just watch the temperature closely so it doesn’t heat too fast.