English Walnut Toffee ~ there’s nothing quite like making homemade candy, and this crisp nutty English toffee is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten ~ make it for friends and family, but definitely make extra to squirrel away for yourself!
The toffee is crunchy but not jaw-breaking ~ the large proportion of chopped walnuts gives it a wonderful texture.
A few weeks ago my husband and I bought Amazon Local tickets to one of those chocolate tasting fairs, where you pay an entrance fee and then, once you’ve got your badge and your hand is stamped, it’s a chocolate free for all, with small gourmet and specialty chocolate companies packed into a huge convention center, all practically flinging their chocolate samples at you.
We tasted chocolate with Thai chilies, with guava, allspice and orange, lavender, and even gold leaf…but actually the most memorable taste to come out of the afternoon was a classic toffee. You only need four super commonplace ingredients to make it: butter, sugar, walnuts and dark chocolate chips. I just loved it, and so did everyone else in the house.
A great toffee is surprisingly easy to make, but it’s rather specific. I recommend reading through the directions ahead of time. Once you get the hang of it, you can churn out this fabulous homemade candy with very little effort.
TIP: Have everything ready before you start. Get your pan lined with foil. Measure out the chocolate chips and chop all the walnuts. Once you start cooking it will go fast, and you need to move quickly.
I recommend giving this a try if you need any last minute gifts. You can’t go wrong with this one.
*Note: after a few readers have had trouble with the butter separating from their toffee I’ve re-tested and slightly updated the recipe.
English Walnut Toffee
- a clip on candy thermometer
- 2 sticks or 1 cup, unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp corn syrup
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 rounded cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts for garnish
- Line a square 9x9 baking pan with foil, leaving the ends overlapping the edges so you can lift the toffee out when it has set for easier cutting.
- Put the butter, sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.
- Gently boil the mixture, stirring constantly, until it darkens in color and reaches 300F on a candy thermometer.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour the hot candy into the prepared pan, smoothing out with a spatula. Be very careful as this is very hot.
- Scatter the chocolate chips evenly across the surface of the toffee and let sit for a couple of minutes to let the chocolate melt. Spread the chocolate out evenly with a spreader. Then top with chopped nuts, pressing them in gently so they will stick to the chocolate.
- Let cool until set, either at room temperature, or in the refrigerator.
- Remove the foil and cut into pieces.
- You will need a clip on candy thermometer for this, and most candy recipes. They are easy to find, even at the grocery store.
- Use a heavy bottomed pot so the heat is conducted evenly.
- Stir the toffee almost continuously while it is cooking.
- If you're a white chocolate lover, try my Candy Cane Toffee recipe.
Questions and Reviews
Can this be made without the walnuts (pecans in my case-did you know walnuts should be avoided if you have thyroid issues?) in the toffee part, just sprinkled on top of the chocolate? Would I need to make any modifications to the recipe?
No, switching nuts should cause no issues.
Do you store the toffee at room temperature or in the refrigerator? Can it be frozen?
I store at room temp, but I assume you could freeze it.
I have made this recipe for thirty years or more but the last couple of years I have had the butter separate. I never pay attention to salted or unsalted butter. Do you think this could be the problem? It looks like the butter clarifies to me. I do use a thermometer but also the old fashion way of testing it in cold water. I can’t remember the cold water method having a layer of butter grease of top of the water when I test it. I use the same kind of butter, Land o Lakes.
I don’t think the type of butter would matter. I think butter separating out is usually due to either over heating, or sharp temperature swings while you’re making the toffee. Also make sure you’re using a nice thick pot, not a thin aluminum one.
I am an experienced home cook, and I followed your directions exactly. I don’t think this worked for me because when I went to put it in the pan, it seems as if much of the butter rose to the top. I put the chocolate chips on top and waited a couple of minutes before spreading. The butter layer is still on the top. It hasn’t cooled completely yet, but I’m guessing that butter layer is going to be on top of the chocolate. So, what exactly did I do wrong? I had my candy thermometer and watched it like a hawk, however, I think it went a tad over the 285 F. Was it too hot? I don’t know because this is the first time I’ve made toffee. I’ve used my thermometer many times making Italian Meringue without fail. Well, I guess I’ll call this one a learning experience. Have you any ideas?
Hey Marilyn, in response to a few messages I’ve gotten about this toffee I retested it repeatedly today and have tweaked the recipe, I don’t think you should have trouble going forward. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you. While the original recipe worked fine for me, I’ve now adjusted it so there shouldn’t be any issues with butter separation.
Similar to another comment, my butter seemed to separate. I did use a candy thermometer. I’m wondering about the following:
I used European style butter
I live in a high altitude and made no adjustment for this
Wondering if either of these factored in.