Homemade English Toffee Recipe

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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!

I love making candy every holiday to give as gifts and serve to guests. If you’re new to candy, start with our easy rocky road fudgehomemade turtles, and peanut butter cups.

Stack of three pieces english toffee.
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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).

We usually gave the girls the job of rolling Peanut Butter Buckeyes and wrapping homemade caramels…you know, the “chores”!

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

Ingredients needed to make english toffee.
  • 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

Step by step photos showing how to make 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.

Step by step photos showing how to make english toffee bites.

Recipe FAQs

Why does my butter separate when making toffee?

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.

Can I use all butter in toffee?

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.

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!

Individual bites of english toffee.

More Holiday treats

Holiday Candy Recipes

See all Candy recipes

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English Toffee

4.66 from 70 votes
By: Aimee
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!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 24 bites

Ingredients 

  • 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
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Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

  • 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.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece, Calories: 239kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 54mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 16g
Course: Candy
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on December 12, 2023

Comments & Reviews

  1. This is my first time commenting on a recipe because it is so well deserved. I actually jumped up and down because I successfully made toffee, my favorite!!! I had a bad experience my first attempt with another recipe. I blame the author. Here are some things that work for me: I chopped up the almonds. Between the toffee & chocolate I followed all 3 suggestions. Someone suggested putting the chocolate on top of the toffee while still hot. I used all butter because I did not have margarine. The chocolate will melt and when somewhat set spread the chocolate. I may consider that next time. I melted my chocolate with coconut oil. I used pecans cause I did not have walnuts. My chocolate did take a while to set. I didn’t want to put it in the fridge fearing it would be too cold to cut. I cut it carefully and then put the tray in fridge. The squares were perfect! YAY!!!! A piece of advice to others, be patient when stirring the butter and sugar. Mine wasn’t changing colors and before I knew it there it was! It took exactly 7 minutes after it first boiled. My arm was hurting. Good workout. Thank you so very much!!!! I’m an experienced baker and was disappointed that I couldn’t make my favorite sweet. Thank you so much Mx. Aimee.

      1. Amazon sells the Wilton 24 mini brownie mold or local craft store like Michael’s sells the mold as well 😊

  2. This toffee looks fantastic! Just curious if you think it would work in the Pampered Chef metal brownie bite pan. Would the squares of the pan need to be greased? I’d like for the squares to be as attractive as the ones from the silicone pan. 
    Eager to try and present it at a pitch-in next week!
    Thanks!

  3. Yum…this is delicious! My first attempt and I learned a few things. Would definitely use the silicone molds. My toffee just broke into pieces, not too pretty, but no matter it’s that good. Also some of my toffee separated from my chocolate when I cut it, not sure why. And, my toffee cooled and setup in 15 min. , not 2 hrs. so felt rushed spreading the chocolate. It wiPennyll be more presentable next time–it probably won’t be around for Christmas Eve anyway! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I made these last night.  Everything went well until I tried to cook to 300 on the candy thermometer.  I thought the color had reached the almond  color but tried to get it too 300.  They turned out dark and lil a burnt and still delicious.  I am making another batch for Christmas.  Is it better to cook until it reaches the almond color rather than 300 degrees. 

    Thanks for sharing your recipe.  Have a great day/week 

  5. My mother made a lot of homeade candy. She told me to always use an all metal pan-no teflon in the cooking process. Slowly bring to a boil-stir constantly- heat to 300 degrees(hard tack stage) If you do not have a thermometer you can use a cold cup of water and put a drop of the mix in it. It should instantly harden. That is the hard tack stage

  6. Any suggestions on how the “glue” the chocolate back onto the toffee?  I’ve made this is the past but this is the first time I had almost half separate as I popped them out of the silicon bite pan.

    1. I have found that if the chocolate falls off, it’s probably due to excess butter on the toffee surface. Before adding your chocolate, wipe the toffee gently with a paper towel, then cover in chocolate.

  7. I tried another toffee pinterest recipe two weeks ago and it turned out horrible. The butter separated. Now that you have suggested to heat slower, I will give it another go. I was going to move on to another dessert but these look so good!

4.66 from 70 votes (69 ratings without comment)

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