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Recipe File: English Toffee
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:00 am    Post subject: English Toffee Reply with quote

I've been making English Toffee since about 1980. I use a large cast iron dutch oven. 1 lb. of butter, 3 c. sugar, 1/4 c. water, 1/2 c. sliced almonds. Heat over HIGH heat, stirring constantly until desired color (lighter will result in softer candy and darker in a more hard candy). When I first learned to make this my girl friend told me to use my butcher block counter as a guide:))) I have never used a thermometer.
It will foam up and start turning brown very quickly when the water has cooked off. I then add 1 tsp. vanilla. Pour it in a large cookie sheet and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle one package of chocolate chips (more if you like a thicker chocolate topping) let the heat from toffee start to melt the chips for a min. or two. Spread over toffee. Sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts. Refridgerate to cool and break into chunks.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: help... Reply with quote

OK I am trying to make Butter Toffee Coated Peanuts. Below is the recipe I have used. This site has helped tremendously w/the separation issues I was having. I finally got it so it didn't separate but it will NOT stick to the peanuts.

Does anyone have any idea what I can do to so it will actually coat the peanuts & not end up like a peanut brittle sort of blob?

Butter Toffee Peanuts Recipe

Ingredients You Will Need:
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
3 cups whole blanched peanuts

Butter a cookie sheet and set aside.

Use a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan to heat the sugar, butter and water. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring the mixture to 300 degrees. The temperature will rise sharply as the water is boiled off, so make sure you’re using a candy thermometer. Once the sauce has reached the correct temperature, set your spoon down and do not stir. Remove the mixture from the heat immediately and dump in the nuts.

When the nuts are thoroughly coated, dump them onto the buttered cookie sheet. Separate the nuts so that they are not touching one another. When they have cooled, store them in airtight containers.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:37 am    Post subject: Separation happens when you use un-salted butter! Reply with quote

Always use SALTED butter and you won't have any separation problems.

I have made English toffee many times using salted butter and it has turned out beautifully.

Last week I tried un-salted butter and it separated every time.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:02 am    Post subject: Yummy! Reply with quote

I've been reading this site and trying some of your recipes over the past couple of months with much success. I just love the explanations of "why" certain things in the kitchen happen and how to avoid them - both in the recipes that you post and in the discussion that occurs in the comments section of each.

Everything I've tried has worked out perfectly, so I thought I'd give your toffee recipe a shot since I'd encountered the separation problem as some of the previous posters have, using different recipes. It turned out just as lovely as the pictures you've posted - easy, delicious, and minimal ingredients, AND possible explanations of my separation problem which helped me to avoid it this time around. I was sure to go very slow this time, and used salted butter which a few others suggested, didn't use a thermometer but pulled it from the stove just as soon as it began to turn a peanut-buttery shade and it was as yummy as some I've gotten at the candy shop, maybe better because I was able to make it much thinner and with crushed pecans rather than almonds, just as I like it. This will be a new favorite to go along with the pralines I make every year for Christmas. Next recipe - standing rib roast on Christmas Eve with NO feelings of intimidation. Smile

I appreciate the hard work you must put into this site and hope you continue to post new recipes - I look forward to trying them all.

Happy Holidays!
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:49 pm    Post subject: Toffee Seperation Reply with quote

This was my very first time making toffee and everything was going fine and it was starting to turn brown and then it started separating and I didn't know if this was normal or what was happening. I kept stiring but thought this doesn't look right and I was getting burned from the hot liquid that was landing on my hand. It was getting pretty dark so I took it off the burner and thought do I add the almonds and end up throwing the whole mess away when it isn't cheap to make or do I take a chance. I took a chance and added the almonds and stirred them in and then spooned the stuff into the buttered cookie pan and tried to spead the goey mess around and patted it down to try and thin it out and then I put the chocolate peices on and let them melt and spead them and then sprinkled the rest of the almonds on top. It looked good but I thought this is going to be bad. I got on the internet to see what I could find out and found out that it was a flop and I should have just thrown it out. But I let it cool and put it in the fridge for a little bit to harden the chocolate and then broke off a piece and it was really good. So I gave a piece to my husband and he loved it. So I don't know how mine turned out when I poured so much oil/liquid off of mine that was not incorporated in the toffee. Any ideas? I will try again but not sure how many with the cost.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:32 am    Post subject: english toffee cooling surface Reply with quote

I made the toffee according to this recipe, but poured it out when it was slightly under 310F. The toffee poured onto cookie sheets is nice and crunchy, but the toffee poured onto marble is chewy. We're guessing that the marble cooled the toffee too quickly to make the crunchy crystalline structure.

BTW, we are at 3000' altitude.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:36 am    Post subject: English toffee cooling surface postscript Reply with quote

Also, the toffee poured onto the marble slab cooled so quickly that the chocolate chips didn't melt, and I had to use an iron to melt them.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:48 am    Post subject: Toffee is not DULCE DE LECHE Reply with quote

RE: Armando's posting :

"Good morning everybody! For Mr. Chu, toffee is also an old colonial dessert in the former spanish empire South American colonies, mainly Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Peru (since late 1700�s). For instance, it is called "dulce de leche" (literally, milk candy, in Argentina) or "manjar" (Chile) and is a very popular and frequent in both homes and restaurants. You can find "dulce de leche" in many presentations, including the ones developed in Cooking for engineers, and, more usual, as a more semi-liquid dessert, including "dulce de leche mousse" (superb!!). .."

I live in Argentina and have traveled to PERU and CHILE and tried both Manjar blanco and Ducle de leche and they are NOT brittle toffee but simply caramel spread. Living in Argentina I have never ever found anything resembling toffee. My husband who is Argentinean tried ALMOND ROCA and he said there nothing comparable to it here. What is very popular here is the caramel spread- Dulce De Leche- on everything!

I will be trying this recipe as I miss toffee! Hopefully the Argentines will like it as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Avoiding toffee separation... Reply with quote

My first experiences with this recipe produced glorious results. Then I moved from Chicago to North Carolina and couldn't successfully make the toffee to save my life. Without fail, it separated into an oily mess. A year later, I moved to Washington state and still couldn't produce a batch that matched my earliest successes.

I wasted countless pounds of butter and sugar trying to tinker with the method: using more water to melt the sugar; whirring the sugar in a food processor to reduce the grain size and make it dissolve faster; adding invert sugar (in my case, corn syrup or honey); higher heat; lower heat; more stirring; less stirring; less-vigorous stirring. You name it, I tried it - and all to no avail.

I thought I'd lost my toffee mojo, and told my friends to stop wishing and asking for more toffee, because I'd given up trying to make it.

Still, I continued to ponder what had happened. I finally decided that it had come down to one of two issues:

1. I successfully made the toffee on a gas stove in Chicago, but had access only to electric stoves in NC and WA.

- or -

2. I was using different pots once I moved away from Chicago.

If it was the former issue, my friends were to remain out of luck. I bought a house with an electric cooktop, and I wasn't about to change that just to be able to make toffee.

The latter issue seemed unlikely. Since moving away from Chicago (and my housemate's Calphalon pots), I had used both a Corning Visions (= plain tempered glass) pot and one of my own new Le Creuset pots. It didn't work in the Visions pot and the Le Creuset batch not only didn't work, but it wound up burnt on the bottom. Hardly a process improvement.

While I wasn't willing to invest in a gas cooktop, I thought I'd try a Calphalon pot. I found a reasonably inexpensive one (less than the cost of a pound of Vosges toffee!) at Amazon and bought it. My friends were hopeful this would do the trick...


My toffee mojo has returned, and I can now make it with impunity and at will.

Looking back, I suspect the Visions pot, which I used for all but ONE failed attempt, didn't have a sufficiently heavy bottom (all the toffee recipes I've ever seen prescribe the use of a "heavy-bottomed pan"). I still can't figure out why the Le Creuset pot didn't work - I can only guess that there was something else wrong with my method the only time I tried it with the Le Creuset pot.

Good luck!
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1182
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

candy making involves a lot of sugar type stuff - which melts at high temps and burns in the blink of an eye.

heavy sugar solutions also 'hold' a lot of heat and being rather viscous, heat does not move through melted sugar solutions all that quickly.

you'll like find copper pots in a dedicated candy making operation - it transmits heat quickly and evenly.

glass on the other hand is actually a pretty good insulator

this article:
outlines the "thermal" characteristics of various materials use in cooking

copper, which is except for silver, the best heat conductor - ranks at 401 [units]
glass ranks at 1.xx

you didn't mention what exact flavor of Le Creuset pot you used - they sell several different materials - however it the ref article you can see:

aluminum ranks at 237 [units]
cast iron ranks at 80 [units]

the Caphlon is most likely aluminum base / coated / whatever.

so you can see that in terms of "heating the schufft" evenly, cast iron is about 20% effective as copper, and aluminum about 50% as effective.

this may explain the woes experience in getting a 'pot full of sugar' mass up to temp without burning it or creating very localized hot spots within the sugar solution.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:07 am    Post subject: Holiday gifts - Maybe I got lucky - Made 40 lbs. Reply with quote

So I didn't read all the posts here - didn't have time before Christmas. I just went back to take a look and maybe glad I didn't. I found 100 cellophane bags at the local paper wholesale for $9 and 300 yard spools of curly ribbon (green and red) for an equally low price. We filled 80 bags, 1/2 lb each and everybody was thrilled. Final cost including packaging was $2/lb. I just had a request from one of the kids teachers for a repeat and my son is using toffee to score points at school. Just did another batch tonight and no issues.

So here is the secret to my success:

Electric Stove - GE base unit with the home build - large burner
Faberware 10 inch stainless steel dutch oven type pot
3 inch wide wood stirring spatula
butter 12x18 cookie sheet with butter wrapper (parchment is waste)
break up Walmart butter into 1 inch chunks with spatula
add salt
melt butter at 6 o'clock until half melted (medium heat)
add cane sugar all at once - keep stirring!!!
move heat to 4 o'clock (medium high heat)
Cook stirring constantly in figure 8
use my Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer for temp (engineering tool)
at 200 degrees add almonds if desired-it toasts the almonds while cooking
cook stirring constantly to 290 degrees (I am at 6100 feet)
take off heat and stir for 1 minute to even out candy and temp
pore and spread on cookie sheet with wooden spatula
cool in refridge for about 10 minutes to 170 in center and 140 on edge
wipe off any extra surface butter with clean napkin
sprinkle nestle semisweet chocolate chips and spread with rubber spatula
sprinkle with almonds ground to mealy texture in blender
tamp down with flat bottom of glass
put in refridge for 10 minutes
twist pan and toffe pops loose - stick knife under and flip right in pan
wipe off butter on second side
melt other half of chocolate in double boiler
spread chocolate, sprikle ground almonds and tamp down
put in refridge for about 30 minutes until chocolate hardens to touch
break up on large cutting board with POINT of butcher knife
who cares about irregular pieces - we are going for flavor

recipe for this thick toffee is
1 lb salted butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup almonds cut in half

covered with
2x 6 ounce of chocolate chips (6 oz per side)
1 cup ground almonds in blender

yeild: 3 lbs 4 ounces (just enough for 6 1/2 bags with munchy leftovers)

Out of about 10 batches, not one failure or seperation.
And by the way - it is dairy so you have to keep in refridge!!!
As far as long term storage - who knows - I can't keep it around that long.

Compare it to toffee grand junction colorado - you will be amazed....

How was that for an engineers view (I am sys engineer for switch company)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:45 am    Post subject: The toffee issues Reply with quote

Well, I'm not an engineer but I am a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, if that counts for anything.

Some thoughts here: My first thought is that you folks are overthinking the process. The separation comes from crystallization of the sugar. To avoid that, add a bit of invert sugar, baker's glucose, or plain old corn syrup. Be sure there are no grains of sugar stuck on the sides of the pan above the liquid level. Put a tight lid on the pan and do not take it off until the mixture has begun to boil. This will trap steam that will dissolve any sugar outside of the liquid. It is not necessary to stir. Stirring does not aid the process but it does increase the likelihood of crystallization. Use a candy thermometer and pull the heat at 295 as you will gain 5 degrees or so after you shut off the fire. Brown sugar, white sugar doesn't matter. The exact amount of water doesn't matter; more water = longer cooking time to reach the desired temperature. Oh, yes. And temper the chocolate before you put it on top.

Good luck and have fun.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject: success, I think Reply with quote

Thanks for this site. The photos and clear directions make the recipes easy to follow.

I just made this English toffee recipe for the first time. Some of the previous comments were helpful, but others were enough to make me think twice about making it.

Anyway, I think it's successful--it's cooling now on the back porch (winter in Iowa allows this to happen). There was no separation, but I think I might see how it could. I took the advice of combining the sugar, butter and water over very low heat on my gas range. That worked fine. I stirred the mixture but only now and then and not rapidly when I did.

When it all seemed to be combined, I turned the flame up to medium-high but noticed a little separation, so I turned it down to medium. The mixture seemed to do everything what Michael said (and showed in the helpful photos) what it would do. Perhaps mine did not bubble up or collapse as much as Michael's photos show but both steps did occur. I also used a candy thermometer and made sure I took if off the heat at about 318 degrees and then added the vanilla.

Hints: After reading the cane sugar/beet sugar discussion, I used pure cane sugar I had in the pantry (C&H Baker's Sugar). I also used unsalted butter (American, Land O'Lakes). I did not use corn syrup, as I didn't have any on the shelf. I did toast the slivered almonds before I started everything this morning.

By the way, where I cook in the Midwest is 955 feet in elevation. This is February in Iowa, so the humidity is a trace amount (although we have ,lots of snow and ice, we do not have humid winters).

I hope this helps anyone wanting to try this recipe for the first time.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:56 pm    Post subject: toffe with popcorn Reply with quote

Any advice on adding small chips of toffee with chocolate to popcorn??
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1182
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:04 pm    Post subject: Re: toffe with popcorn Reply with quote

johnboy wrote:
Any advice on adding small chips of toffee with chocolate to popcorn??

check this thread for ideas
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