Few things are as delicious as homemade English Toffee. Except maybe Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds! It’s truly the best and a great gift; just be sure to save some for yourself!
I first published this recipe almost 4 years ago and while I love this toffee and the product of that effort was as fantastic as I expected, I never really shared it much. Why? Well, it was in the period when I was between homes, living with a friend while my house was being completed and working at my daughters. The toffee got warm on the way from one location to the next and ‘bloomed’ and I always hated the photos. Sure I explained what happened but seriously? These new photos have been needed for a long time; this looks more like it and now I’m happy to tell the world!
I have to say that I’ve loved toffee since I can remember…I mean I actually remember when my mom would take me to the neighborhood ‘five and dime’ and all I wanted (and begged for) was a Heath bar. Every. Single. Time. True confessions? I took one once when she said no and put it in my pocket. I had no idea I was stealing from the store, I was only about 4; I just thought I was pulling one over on my mom. Ahem, didn’t work. Had to go back, apologize and return it. Saddest day of my young life. I’ve always given Heath Bars credit for my first cavity too…a testimony of my love affair that started decades ago that has never waned.
So when my friend Karen offered me a piece of toffee that she had received from Peyton, one of her pre-school students (before I had even met MY Peyton!), as a teacher gift; I think I offered that she instead take the one piece and that I would gladly take the rest. OK, maybe not but I’m sure I thought it! Now…I’ve had and made a lot of toffee over the years but this one was still especially good. Was it the technique or the ingredients or just the mastery of that mom in the kitchen? Probably a bit of all three but I had to have the recipe!
Karen requested the recipe for this Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds from Peyton’s mom and she was quick to comply. I knew something was different even before seeing the ingredients and I couldn’t wait to discover what it was. The toffee was a lighter color and yet had been cooked enough to harden; beyond that it just had a softer bite. Barely discernible but I just felt it wasn’t quite as rock hard as so many toffees are. I was delighted to get the recipe and discover the secret…a bit of cream is used in this recipe in addition to butter and sugar; that must have been it!
Christa’s note was sweet; she was aware of ‘food blogging rules’ and even included in her email that the original recipe was from Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home by Nina Wanat. Nina used to operate a very popular candy shop in Los Angeles call BonBonBar. While that store has now closed, I’m delighted to have experienced one of her confections and the book is in my Amazon shopping cart now…I want MORE!
As anyone who reads this blog might expect I had to switch it up a bit cause that’s what I do and if I say so myself the end result was pretty outstanding. The original recipe calls for plain toffee topped with chocolate and sliced almonds; stellar just as it was. BUT. I only had whole almonds in the house and after one recent experience trying to slice them in my Cuisinart (can you say ‘almond dust?’) I decided that my almond component would be in the form of putting chopped pieces into the candy. Toasted ones. Oh yeah. We liked it so much I revised the recipe.
The salted thing? Does everything have to be ‘salted this’ or ‘salted that?’ No, it does not. While I love just a touch of salt with chocolate and/or caramel, the truth is if you don’t have a good finishing salt, I highly recommend you avoid this step. I love Maldon salt flakes; they are less salty than table or kosher salt and are so pretty too so I can highly recommend them but trying the same thing with table salt would be a mistake. So either use a good finishing salt or none at all; either way I know you will love this toffee. So will your children, husband, dad, sister, mom or brother. Or you can send some to me. Just kidding. No I’m not.
Salted Chocolate English Toffee with Toasted Almonds for a Homemade Father’s Day Gift
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup butter
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 oz milk chocolate, chopped or milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted
- Finishing salt (I used Maldon)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Boil water, butter, sugar, cream and salt over medium heat in a 3 qt saucepan. Stir slowly but constantly until it reaches 300 degrees. (See notes for high altitude)
Remember to keep all kids and pets out of the kitchen
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and chopped nuts.
- Pour onto parchment and spread to desired thickness.
- Sprinkle chocolate on top and let sit for a few minutes; it will melt and then you can spread it to cover.
- Sprinkle Maldon salt on top of the warm chocolate; using a light hand. Just a bit is enough!
- Put the tray in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes to cool completely and then break toffee into pieces; store in an airtight container.
A few tips from Christa for those who haven't made candy before
Get a good candy thermometer every degree counts.
At high altitude you have to lower the temperature. The general rule of thumb is 2 degrees for every 1000 ft. So in Denver where Christa and I live you would lower the temp by 10 degrees to 290. If you want to be really accurate you can calibrate your thermometer by putting it in boiling water and seeing what temperature it boils at.
Water typically boils at 212F, whatever temp yours boils at is your difference. Mine is 11 degrees so for this recipe I would cook the toffee until it was 289F before it would be done.