English Toffee is a classic holiday candy that’s buttery, nutty, and rich thanks to a combination of almonds, walnuts, and milk chocolate. Make it in a brownie bite pan to get the cutest toffee bites—perfect for gifting!
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Why You’ll Love This English Toffee Recipe
Thanks to one of my besties RHONDA (hey girl!), who shared this awesome English toffee recipe with me years ago. It became a tradition for us to have a holiday candy-making day with our oldest daughters, Natasha (on the left) and my daughter Alyssa (on right).
Here’s what makes this English toffee one of my favorites:
- 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—easy, neat, perfectly portioned pieces!
- If you like Heath Bars, this homemade English toffee is like that, but so much better than store-bought. It’s rich, buttery, and much more nutty.
- Not everyone is a baker! If you struggle to get your Christmas cookies looking just right, switch to candy—it’s a lot easier to make, with fewer details to manage. No more struggling with icing or cookie cutters!
Important Ingredient Notes
- Unsalted butter – There are three dominant flavors in English toffee: butter, nuts, and chocolate. Spring for a good butter!
- Margarine – 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!
- Kosher salt – Salt is important for adding balance to this recipe. If you’d like, you can also sprinkle flaky sea salt on top of the melted chocolate.
- Vanilla extract – Aside from the butter, toffee is also vanilla flavored. Use a high-quality pure vanilla, not imitation. Our homemade vanilla would be perfect.
- Milk chocolate – Again, high-quality is important here!
- Nuts – You’ll need both unblanched whole almonds and finely ground walnuts.
How to Make Homemade English Toffee
Prep the Almonds: On a foil lined baking dish or in a silicone brownie bite pan, arrange the almonds in a single layer.
Make the Toffee Mixture:
- In a heavy pan, combine the butter, margarine, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the butter melts. Bring mixture to a rolling boil.
- Continue boiling and stirring for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the candy turns the color of almonds (or reaches about 300 degrees, if you have a candy thermometer).
- Pour the toffee mixture over the almonds. (If you’re using the brownie bite pan, I use a small metal scoop to get toffee into each bite, working quickly!)
- Cool completely.
Finish: Spread the melted chocolate over top of the cooled toffee, then sprinkle with the ground walnuts. Once the chocolate sets, remove from the brownie pan or cut the English toffee into pieces.
Using thin lined saucepans can cause butter to separate. A heavy bottomed saucepan can manage the heat better. The second reason may 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.
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! You can use all butter if you prefer.
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
- 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!
- If you’d like, you can add the chocolate and walnuts to both sides of the toffee. To do it this way, use only half of the chocolate and walnuts for the first side. Allow the top to set before flipping over and doing bottom.
- Oh, and breaking English toffee into pieces will leave you some shards on your cutting board. SAVE THESE. They are delicious on vanilla ice cream.
- See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.