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Recipe File: English Toffee
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Joined: 16 Nov 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Michael. I'm making more tomorrow and will "test" freeze it. Since my family devoured the first batch, they can be the testers when I take it out of the freezer. I'll let you know what happens!
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I absolutely adore this website. I'm married to an engineer and I am quite analytical myself. The way the recipes are explained and presented are exactly what I need.

I've made this recipe for toffee many times over. (24 batches just last year around the holidays to give away as gifts. Yes. You read that right. 24 batches.) I have a few hints that some people may find helpful.

I use a wooden spoon with a flat bottom to scrape the bottom of my saucepan as I stir. I like salted butter (Land O Lakes brand) because I like the savory sweet flavor. I also use the best quality vanilla I can find. (Mine is from Mexico) I like semi-sweet chocolate (again, a little less sweet) though some people prefer milk chocolate. On some batches I use almonds and on some batches I use pecans.

The biggest thing that has helped me is the invention of the non-stick foil. I place that on my baking sheet with no need to make a mess with the butter on the back of the parchment paper rolling up on me and making me crazy.

This is the best recipe I have found for toffee anywhere and I have received many many compliments on it! Everyone is crazy for this toffee! Best of luck to you. I've had a few mishaps so no worries if you do! Once you make it a few times, you'll get a 'feel' for it and won't even need the thermometer any more.

Happy cooking!

Midland, TX
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:08 am    Post subject: Love your site Reply with quote

I use this recipe for English Toffee every year - because it WORKS! Please don't ever take it down. Thank you for taking the time to post the recipe with all the steps included. My English Toffee always tanked, year after year, until I tried your method.

Many thanks, Mary
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:48 pm    Post subject: never-fail toffee! Reply with quote

This is by far the best toffee recipe I've ever found. The detailed instructions and descriptions make it virtually foolproof. I've had failures with other toffee and candy recipes, but this one has been successful every time I've followed it (and that's a lot of times; I've been making this toffee every few months for at least 4 years). I include it in my holiday gift-giving every year, and everyone who gets some says the same thing: "You MADE this? No way!" and then raves about how good it is.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:54 pm    Post subject: Thank you! Reply with quote

After reading most of the coments here, I was able to finally get my toffee right.

First, my old recipe only had me bring the temperature up to 285, and pour into a 13x9 pan which left it thicker. Also, 2 out of three times I'd make it, the toffee would have an odd crystallized texture.

So, I took the recipe from here, and from the lovely coments other people, I added one tsp of vinegar, and 1/2 tbsp corn syrup to it. I melted the butter and sugar together with the vinegar, water and corn syrup over a low heat. I made sure all of the crystals were completly disolved before bringing it to a boil. I think pouring it thin over a cookie sheet was a great improvement.

I also believe that humidity does play a big factor in in the texture. So I cranked up the heat and turned on the oven and made sure not to do this on a rainy day.
It is by far the best toffee I have ever made. Thanks so much!
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:53 am    Post subject: toffee or not toffee Reply with quote

When I first came across this site and recipe last winter, I went no further than the instructions, and proceeded to make about 8 variations (all types of chocolate, nut, fruit combos) as well as the original.
They all came out perfect.
Recently, my students asked if I would make it again, so I came back and scrolled down and "ooh, comments-let me read them..."
and the two batches I just made, yep, separated. Blast!!I just drained off the butter, and went ahead. The flavor isn't the same, not as rich, but I doubt the kids will care, since I just loaded the tops with extra chocolate and nuts.
They are cooling now, I'll see what happens when I break it up.
I am at sea level. It is humid out, maybe that's why.
In any case, a hearty albeit belated thank you for the recipe!
Love the website.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:27 pm    Post subject: butter separating Reply with quote

This is a great recipe. I had some trouble with butter separating. The simple and obvious reason was that I used a skillet instead of a sauce pan. But- so what? I figured out that the heating area has to match the size of the pan. If the burner element or flame is a small diameter under a large diameter pan- it separates. Using a large burner of flame at suitable heat means you can make this in a skillet and easily double the batch without problem.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:30 pm    Post subject: Recent toffee Reply with quote

Well, I read through quite a few of the comments, and it was helpful in my toffee-making this evening. I do wish it had gone a little faster, but given the trouble and expense of buying new ingredients at 11pm, I guess it's worth the extra time! I've had it separate in the past, but these two double-batches turned out fine.

The recipe I use isn't quite this one; it's an old family recipe which I've never heard of giving trouble to my dad or grandmother, and I am now feeling more confident in it myself. It uses half butter and half margarine, as well as a little water and corn syrup, which I now feel I understand a little better (whereas in the past I would wonder why I was putting them in!) Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Perfect toffee every time Reply with quote

I found this recipe 3 or 4 years ago and had the same separating problem everybody else has had. I read through the comments and tried a few of the techniques recommended to stop this problem. I finally came up with my own solution.

Cream all the ingredients together in a mixer first. Then put the creamed mixture in the sauce pan on low heat. Let it all completely melt together, no need to stir. Once it is all melted together than increase the heat and follow the recipe to finish, although I don't stir it much at all. My pan tends to get a little hotter around the edges and I assume on the bottom so my stirring is just enough to get it to mix and cook evenly.

Since applying this technique I have had ZERO failure, regardless of the weather, room temperature, humidity or elevation.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good! I made it plain because I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand and it was still delicious. I also just poured it onto a regular cookie sheet with lots of butter and it was easy to unstuck from the pan. Thanks for the great recipe!
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Indy kevin

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:25 am    Post subject: Simplify Reply with quote

Looking for alternate recipes, I came upon this forum. I found a few that included milk, which was my intent. I've been making this toffee for about 15 years. This recipe came in a complimentary cook book from Litton Microwave Adapting Recipes. Not as cockle warming as dear ole Mum. After reading about 2 years of post and skipping to the last few on this forum, I didn't see references to the microwave. I used to follow the recipe to the "T" with varying result and separating. Here goes simplified...
put 8 minutes on the microwave on high. Melt the butter for about a minute and add about 1 cup dark brown sugar. This should be a microwave safe container about three times the size of contents. Return to the micro about three or four minutes. it should be foamy. Once the foam settles (about 30 seconds) if there's any oil on top add a little sugar at a time to absorb the oil. If when settled it looks grainy or dry add butter a little at a time until the candy looks silky. I have even found that a slight layer of oil on top usually doesn't hurt. It makes no difference to mix in crystals on the side of container. Return to microwave and continue heating to hard crack. That is the most unsimplified part. You have to watch it doesn't pass the hard crack stage to which is stinking burnt. the microwave gets there fast and continues upward for about 15 seconds after it's removed from the oven. Checking with a thermometer takes the guess work out of it. Checking temperature often doesn't hurt the end result. Using a small cheap digital candy thermometer I deem it's ready at 300 degrees, rising about 15 more by the time it's ready to pour. Pour on to about 1/2 cup chopped pecan spread evenly on my granite table top. Sprinkle about 12 cup of chocolate chips. Wait a few minutes and spread around the chocolate. In retrospect, you've actually cooked less than 8 minutes (Double batches don't even use this much cook time). You'll spend more time prepping and cleaning I've found trying to describe this method more complicated than the actual doing. This maybe the wrong forum because there is really not much engineering here. Have to go and clean the sugar off my keyboard now.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:39 am    Post subject: Thank you, Mr. great! Reply with quote

My favorite candy as a kid was always "Heath Bars", so I've always wanted to try to make it myself, but never had the confidence. After reading the comments about separation, I was still apprehensive, but I decided to try this recipe, and was glad I did: it turned out perfectly.

I made only a couple of "tweaks" to your excellent procedure:

When I added the vanilla, I also added a 1/2 tspn of Almond Extract.

Poured the toffee out onto buttered foil in cookie sheet.

Used Ghiarardelli's "Dark Melting Wafers" for chocolate. Divided the 12 oz bag in two parts, applied the first half as per your instructions. After the 1/2 hour fridge time, I laid a sheet of foil over the now solid sheet of toffee, turned the whole thing over, peeled the base foil off, nuked the second half of the chocolate wafers, spread them, and after applying the almonds, put it back in the fridge for another half hour. Chocolate and almonds on both sides.

And as far as almonds go: I roasted some sliced (rather than slivered) almonds beforehand and allowed them to cool, and then put them into the food processor for a couple of short pulses, to create some variation in texture from full slices to some "dust". Worked great, they stuck to the chocolate well, and the roasted almond taste blends with the toffee perfectly.

Had no problems with separation. I did everything over low heat in a vintage copper-bottomed Revere-Ware stainless pan; used a silicone spatula, took my time, and gradually raised the heat. Didn't stir all that often, used a candy thermometer. The sugar and butter browned just right by the time it hit 310 degrees.

So thank you for a recipe that works!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:57 pm    Post subject: time Reply with quote

I am about to make my first batch of toffee, I am a little concerned about all this talk about separation - crystallization. I am a pretty good cook but not a gourmet chef. can anyone tell me the approximate length of time for this cooking process to take place Shock
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1276
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

per the recipe
"heat until 300F (150C) while stirring"

if you are using a candle to cook with, it'll take a while.
if you are using an ox-acetylene torch, it'll go real quick.

using a cooktop, somewhere in the middle.
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Michael Chu

Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1654
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It takes me about 10 to 15 minutes to cook a batch of toffee. These days, I go fast because I make a lot each Halloween to give out (and other random times of the year). Because I'm running on medium to medium-high heat, my toffee almost always breaks (separates) as it approaches the 300°F point, but I've worked out a solution for this. I keep about a cup of boiling water ready (I use an electric kettle while I'm bringing the toffee up to temperature) and then when it separates, I splash in some boiling water (I'd estimate about 2 oz or so) and stir like mad. Be careful when adding the water and when starting the stirring as you might splash the liquid butter if you are too vigorous at first. Once it starts to come back together, just stir like crazy and it'll be uniform again. Since boiling water is much cooler than the toffee, you will have to cook it a bit longer to bring it back to 300°F, but I've never had it separate a second time. I take it off the heat at that point and stir in the vanilla extract.
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