English Toffee

Candy making may seem intimidating, but I am telling you: don’t fear it!  Although I cook a lot and having a cooking blog, I am still a spazz in the kitchen 99% of the time.  And even I can make candy- it’s easy as long as you follow the directions and use a candy thermometer.  Yes, you may have some times when you are adding ingredients that spill on the counter top and floor and you have to yell for your mom to get your more cranberries and vanilla extract RIGHT NOW because you are supposed to be constantly stirring.  Or you may end up using three different candy thermometers at once because your digital one is not rising fast enough so it is obviously defective.  These are all hypothetical scenarios, of course.  Anyway, the secret to candy making is to keep cool, calm, and collected.  

The holidays are the perfect time to make candy.  You can make a batch, keep some for yourself, and give out the rest as gifts to friends and family.  You get a portion sized batch of candy, and your friends and family will love the gift.  This batch of toffee went out to a family friend.  I was sad to see it go because it was so sweet, crunchy, and addictive, but now I am ready to whip up a new batch of candy now.

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 chocolate baking squares, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Arrange chopped pecans in one layer on a baking sheet.  Toast for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned, watching carefully.  Cool and set aside.

Line a 9×13 baking pan with wax paper, leaving overhang.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add sugar, salt, and water.  Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring to a boil and continue to cook until reaching the hard crack stage (300°F on a candy thermometer).  Working quickly, stir in vanilla and pour mixture into prepared baking pan.  Spread mixture evenly.  Let cool at room temperature until the toffee is hard to the touch.

In a double broiler, melt baking squares.  Pour chocolate over toffee layer.  Top with toasted pecans.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chocolate has hardened and toffee is cool.  Using the wax paper overhang, remove toffee from pan.  Break into pieces.

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