English toffee is one of my all-time favorite Christmas treats to make and share.
Once upon a time, long, long ago, a dear family friend shared her recipe with me…back when I thought I could remember everything FOREVER…so I abbreviated here and there. Back when thought that awesome memory of mine would never forget where I put the recipe card…
Well, I forgot.
Every year I try to make it from memory and even though it’s always slightly different, it turns out GREAT! But every year, I’m not any closer to remembering the true, real, Selby recipe so here is this year’s version that I’m in love with enough to call my own!
You don’t need a candy thermometer, but you do need a wooden spoon and a large, heavy bottom sauté or frying pan. Copper bottom if you can, but NOT non-stick. I repeat: NOT non-stick.
You’ll also need:
Butter…lots of glorious butter.
Sugar…lots of sweet, delicious sugar.
A pinch of salt, some water and light corn syrup.
Melt these down into a pool of luscious, golden, velvety syrup.
Almonds…toasted then crushed. Set aside ¼ cup for the topping, but keep the 1.5 cups close at hand.
The candy will start to bubble up and grow as if it’s trying to escape the pan.
Stir slowly until it turns a light brown sugar color.
Tip: The longer it cooks, the darker it will become = the harder or more brittle the candy will be.
Throw in 1 cup of almonds and continue to stir. Add vanilla, if you’re in the mood for it. Move fast so it doesn’t burn!
Pour into a greased 15×10 or 17×11 sheet pan (with edges!) and spread the candy to the edges. Be careful! The mixture is extremely hot!
Top with chocolate chips and patiently wait for the chips to soften. Using a spatula or the same wooden spoon, smear the chocolate chips into each other and let the hot candy melt the chips across the entire pan.
Sprinkle with remaining almonds and move to a cool place for the candy to set.
Break into pieces and share with strangers to make new friends, or the ones you love to keep them coming back for more.
Merry English Toffee Christmas Presents!
- 1 lb butter (2 cups)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 TBSP water
- 2 TBSP corn syrup
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 1.5 + ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted (reserve the ¼ cup for topping)
- 6-8 large chocolate candy bars, unwrapped or 1 bag chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet or dark)
- Toast the almonds on a sheet of foil for 5-8 minutes in 350 degree oven until lightly browned. Stir occasionally; when you can smell the almonds cooking, they’re about ready to take out. Cool slightly and use your hands or a rolling pin to crush.
- Grease a 15x10 or 17x11 sheet pan or cookie sheet (with edges!) with cooking spray or butter, set aside.
- Heat a large, heavy bottom sauté pan over medium heat and start to melt the butter. Add sugar, salt, water & corn syrup and stir slowly (with a wooden spoon) to combine and continue to melt the butter. Let the mixture warm up and start to bubble.
- Depending on the thickness of your pan and heat distribution (I sound like a nerd) this can take anywhere from 5, 10-15 minutes. Don’t walk away. Once it starts to turn a light brown sugar color, add the almonds (and vanilla, if using) and remove from the heat. Pour immediately into cookie sheet and spread it out as thin as you can.
- Top with chocolate and let the candy’s heat soften the chips or bars and then spread out with a spatula or same wooden spoon. Top with reserved crushed almonds and move to a cool place to set. Once set, break apart with your hands into odd shapes and sizes and serve with just about anything any old time of day.