December 14, 2010

Tuesday Treats: English Toffee

{We're keeping the holiday season extra sweet this year at The Finer Things! Each Tuesday, until December 21st, will be dedicated to delicious holiday cookies. Be sure to check back each week for a yummy recipe that you can bake for yourself, your family, your friends or co-workers. Today's recipe is from Melanie,'s Senior Pre-Press Designer. Melanie is an extremely talented baker, cook and cake designer. Be sure to check out her work on her blog, Mel Mel Cooking. Thank you for the yummy recipe, Mel!} 

Traditional Christmas cookies have never really tickled my fancy.  As of late, I’ve had a taste for Heath toffee bars. It must be due to all those raids in my niece’s candy bowl this past Halloween. I probably ate them all single-handedly. The buttery toffee combined with chocolate, nuts and a little saltiness makes my tongue do back flips! Since I’m an avid home cook I decided to try making my own English toffee for the holiday season to wrap in cello bags and give to friends as gifts. The following recipe is a combination of Paula Deen’s from and Martha Stewart’s from with my own twist. For someone who rarely ever makes candy I found this surprisingly easy. I may never eat toffee any other way again.

  • 14 tablespoons (1 stick, plus 6 tablespoons) salted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
    Line a cookie sheet with foil and generously butter.

    Put butter, sugar, water and vanilla in a heavy pan or skillet over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Remove spoon from pan, and cook to a very brittle stage (300 degrees to 310 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Or, make a cold water test: candy will separate into hard, brittle threads when dropped in cold water. The toffee should be a creamy caramel color when ready.

    Remove from heat and pour onto prepared cookie sheet. Cool completely.

    Gently wipe the top and bottom of the toffee with a damp paper towel to soak up excess oil. Put toffee on a clean piece of foil, parchment or wax paper and allow a few moments to dry.

    Melt chocolate chips and spread evenly on top of the toffee. Top with almonds and refrigerate about 20 minutes to set the chocolate. Break into 2 inch pieces and store in an airtight container. Yields 30 to 40 pieces.

    Good Luck!

    Please note: I have an electric stove at home so temperatures and times may vary as my stove tends to run a bit hot. I didn’t have a candy thermometer but the cold water test and a watchful eye worked like a charm. I also used a large cast iron skillet which worked wonderfully to keep the heat evenly distributed.