A professional pastry chef shows you how to make homemade toffee which is thin, crunchy and flavorful! This delicious toffee has layers of toasted almonds, crunchy toffee, and bittersweet chocolate. It makes the perfect gift or addition to a Holiday table!
Day 2 of the annual 12 Days of Christmas Cookies 2022!
Toffee is one of those candies that seems super complicated and a little daunting, but I promise you that this tutorial on how to make homemade toffee will make it easy. It takes under 30 minutes (unlike homemade Chocolate Bourbon Truffles)! The key to candy-making, just like this Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge, is to have all the ingredients ready to go and near the stovetop. And a candy thermometer!
Toffee uses a little baking soda to make a lighter, less sticky candy. Pair this nutty, crunchy toffee with cardamom crescents or pecan snowball cookies, Moravian Christmas Cookies, and fudgy brownie cookies for the perfect Holiday cookie tray.
Table of Contents
Why is my toffee sticky?
Toffee can be sticky if the sugar wasn’t cooked to 285°F (soft crack stage), not enough baking soda was used, or it was made on a humid day.
Candy-making is a science, and sugar needs to be taken to the soft crack stage to get that perfect crunch. The baking soda in chocolate buttercrunch toffee reacts with the acid in the brown sugar to make a lighter, less sticky toffee. Lastly, you can’t forget that sugar is hygroscopic and will absorb moisture from the air. Even if you do everything right, making toffee on a humid day will always result in sticky toffee.
How to Make Homemade Toffee
Time needed: 40 minutes.
Learn how to make homemade toffee like a pro!
- Almond Preparation
Toast almonds in oven at 350°F and chop finely by hand or in a food processor. Sprinkle half of the almonds on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Candy Making
Combine brown sugar, water, butter, and salt in saucepot. Turn the heat on medium and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 285°F (soft crack stage). Remove the saucepot from the heat, and add the vanilla extract and baking soda.
Pour the hot candy over the almonds on the baking sheet. Scatter the chocolate over top. Wait about 5 minutes until the chocolate has melted and spread with an offset metal spatula evenly over the toffee. Sprinkle the remaining chopped almonds over the chocolate and allow to cool completely.
Break into pieces and enjoy!
- Almonds: I use blanched, slivered almonds in this toffee. When starting on how to make homemade toffee, consider that toasting the almonds balances the sweetness of the toffee and the chocolate, plus it adds an extra crunch!
- Light Brown Sugar: Cooking the light brown sugar is what gives this toffee its flavor and texture. Dark brown sugar can be substituted.
- Water: Water is important in candy making to dissolve the sugar. Tap water is fine. I usually use cold water just because I want a slow and steady sugar syrup heating process.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. In candy making, the butter adds a smooth, richness to caramels, pralines, toffee and brittles.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is less salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties. It heightens the flavor here and will keep your toffee from tasting dull or flat.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla Extract adds a beautiful flavor itself but it also boosts the flavor of other ingredients around it like chocolate and brown sugar.
- Baking Soda: Do check the freshness of your baking soda! It does lose potency over time. If it's not fresh, send it to the back of the refrigerator to absorb some odors, or clean your marble countertops with it!
- Bittersweet Chocolate: I love bittersweet chocolate because it balances some of the sweetness in the toffee. As you practice how to make homemade toffee, you'll find your favorite chocolate combination to make it all your own!
- Nuts: You can use any nut that you choose in place of the almonds. Hazelnuts would be a phenomenal flavor pairing as would toasted walnuts.
- Chocolate: I love bittersweet chocolate in this homemade toffee, but semi-sweet chocolate would make an even sweeter treat. I did not love unsweetened chocolate because it was too bitter even when paired with the sweet toffee.
- Dark Brown Sugar: I make this toffee with light brown sugar but you could also substitute dark brown sugar if that is all you have on hand.
- Dried fruits: Dried fruits would also be a delightful combination. If you're considering how to make homemade toffee with dried fruits, sprinkle ½ -1 cup dried fruit with the almonds on the baking sheet before pouring the toffee mixture over the top. This will soften and incorporate the fruit into the candy better than sprinkling on top.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Make Homemade Toffee
Store homemade toffee in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Homemade toffee will keep for up to a month when stored at room temperature. Afterwards the toffee will begin to crystallize but will still taste good.
You could freeze toffee but I would advise against it. When thawed it will absorb moisture and will lose its crunchy texture.
You can make a larger batch of toffee, but be sure to not make more than can fit safely in your pot. A larger batch will take longer to cook, but can easily be divided amongst multiple baking sheets.
Chef Lindsey's Recipe Tips
A candy thermometer is mission-critical here! I prefer one that clips on the side of the pot to for constant temperature regulation. Test your thermometer calibration before you begin by placing it in a pot of boiling water. The temperature should read 212°F. Happy candy-making!
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast almonds, stirring occasionally, until a light golden brown. Cool completely.
- Chop almonds by hand or pulse in a food processor until they are chopped fine but not a powder.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Sprinkle half of the almonds on the cookie sheet. Try to confine to a 7 inch by 10-inch rectangle. Set aside.
- Be sure to have all ingredients measured and ready near the stovetop.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepot, combine brown sugar, water, butter, and salt. Stir to combine, then turn the heat on medium and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
- Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 285°F (soft crack stage). Immediately remove the saucepot from the heat, carefully remove the thermometer, and add the vanilla extract and baking soda.
- Pour the hot candy over the almonds on the baking sheet. Immediately scatter the chocolate over the hot toffee. Wait about 5 minutes until the chocolate has melted and spread with an offset metal spatula evenly over the toffee. Sprinkle the remaining chopped almonds over the chocolate and allow to cool completely.
- Break into pieces.
Before You Go!
Check out our other delicious, chef-developed recipes for Desserts!