The Best Homemade English Toffee

Heirloom Recipe

This recipe comes from my Grandma Eddie (so named because her great-granddaughter could not say “Nellie”), who got it from her neighbor, Lou. I have fond memories of Grandma’s kind older neighbor across the alley. But I have even fonder memories of my own mother making dozens of batches of this wonderful heirloom candy. It was my mom who truly perfected this recipe and has shared all the tips and tricks she uses to make it perfect. Although I suspect many of you, like me, may find that you can never make it quite like Mom’s.

One of my favorite holiday treats, English Toffee has all the best elements of a great candy. The buttery, crispy toffee is best when perfectly set to that not-too-hard, not-too-soft stage. A solid, heavy pan, and a good candy thermometer make this ideal balance fairly simple.

The next trick is getting the toffee cooled just a bit so that the melted chocolate will adhere. Too hot and the chocolate seems to melt right off. Too cool and they don’t stick together very well. Cool the candy just until it feels a bit warm to the touch. I like to also gently soak up any melted butter pooling on top. Our family likes semi-sweet chocolate, but you can definitely use any chocolate you prefer.

Once the chocolate has been spread on top of the toffee, immediately spread the chopped nuts over all and press them into the chocolate slightly. Some nuts will definitely come off once the candy is broken into pieces, but getting as many as possible to stick to the melted chocolate helps cut down on that.

I feel like candy making has become a bit of a lost art in recent years, but I’m starting to see a comeback. I’d love to know if you try this recipe!

Lou’s English Toffee

Avatar photoCori Gillespie
A wonderful heirloom recipe of a holiday favorite.
Course Candy
Cuisine English
Servings 1 Half Sheet Pan


  • Heavy Pan
  • Candy Thermometer


  • 2 C butter no substitutes
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp white corn syrup
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ lb semi-sweet chocolate melted
  • 2 C walnuts or almonds chopped very fine


  • Generously grease bottom and sides of a jelly-roll or half-sheet pan; set aside.
  • In a large, heavy pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until sugar dissolves. Cook very slowly to 310°F on a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally.
  • When toffee reaches 310°F on the candy thermometer, add vanilla, stir well, and pour into the prepared pan. Allow toffee to cool to the touch, then gently dab the surface of the candy with a clean paper towel to remove excess butter.
  • Pour melted chocolate over candy and spread evenly over entire surface. Immediately sprinkle nuts over top and press down slightly to help nuts adhere.
  • Once chocolate has set, break toffee into large pieces. Store at room temperature in a loosely covered container.


  • Keep in mind that humidity affects candy-making. If you try making this candy on a rainy day, the toffee will not set.
Keyword candy, chocolate, heirloom, holiday, nuts

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