English Toffee


I was in college. It was the first time I sluffed class . . . in my life. I was making toffee for the first time as well. And wouldn’t you know it, I burned it! Karma. Right? Sluffing was a huge disappointment! Toffee is a tradition in my family during the holidays, but it is somewhat tricky to make. Thanks to my friend, Jan, I finally know how to make it. She not only taught me all the tricks but then sent me home with some. Now that was a good day!!


My best tips: use real butter, use a wooden spoon because it won’t melt, use medium heat if your stove tends to cook hot, wash down the sugar crystals with a wet pastry brush (or else the toffee will “sugar”), and the trickiest part of all: work so quickly to pour that toffee out of the pan as soon as you stop stirring it and remove it from the heat. It burns quickly!!


2 c butter (not margarine)

2 c sugar

4 T Karo syrup

10 T water

2 t vanilla

8 1.5-oz. milk chocolate candy bars

2 c chopped walnuts


In heavy saucepan, combine butter, sugar, syrup and water. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly over medium or medium/high heat* 10-12 minutes (occasionally washing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals) until mixture turns the color of brown sugar, pulls away from sides of pan and is slightly smoking. Remove from heat, continuing to stir. Working quickly, stir in vanilla. Immediately pour onto 18 x 18 marble slab**, spreading toffee within 1 inch of the edges. Place candy bars on hot toffee and let sit 3-5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate over entire layer of toffee. Sprinkle with nuts. Cool to room temperature 1 hour or so. Break into bite-size pieces. Store in airtight container.


*stoves vary . . . most people use medium/high heat but I use medium


**can half recipe and use buttered 11 x 17 baking sheet

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6 Responses to English Toffee

  1. Jan Jardine says:

    Carol, I’m so proud of you! It looks perfect! And now you’ll be able to carry on the family tradition forever. Thanks for giving me a plug in your post. You forgot to mention that you taught Suzie and me how to make kettle corn and supplied us with a bag of amazing mushroom popcorn! (Since you won’t toot your own horn, I’ll do it for you.) Have fun with the toffee making!!

    • Carol says:

      Thank YOU Jan!! I’m so grateful to know how to make toffee!! I’ve enjoyed it at family parties for years but seriously never known the tricks that makes it turn out. You are just the best!! And might I say that your grammar, too, rocks!! You’re a fabulous friend . . . I really enjoy you!!

      • Jan Jardine says:

        Thanks, Carol! I really enjoy you, too! Speaking of grammar, I always wish I could do a “daily lesson” on Facebook to help some of the adults, but I’m afraid I would appear too pedantic. You, however, don’t need those lessons. You must have been a very attentive student!

        • Carol says:

          I get what you mean. I do love all of your Facebook funnies on grammar! Maybe they can be your lesson disguised as humor?! Haha!

  2. National Food Day says:

    Hello, your site was featured on the National Food Day facebook page. Looks delicious and the recipe looks easy.

    Amy Van Artsdalen

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