Top Tips for Perfect Homemade Toffee

Every year, I share my buttery, chocolaty, nut-loaded toffee with close friends and family. This year, I’m sharing the recipe with you....


Almond, Pistachio, and Hazelnut Toffee. Photo by Elaine Johnson

Every year, I share my buttery, chocolaty, nut-loaded toffee with close friends and family. This year, I’m sharing the recipe with you.

People tell me the candy tastes pretty magical, but candy-making is part science, after all. Follow these tips and the recipe closely, and before you know it you’ll have a big batch to divvy up among all the special people on your own list.

  1. Use the right size pan, plus a candy thermometer. A 5- to 6-qt. pot has the right surface area and volume. This Taylor candy and deep-fry thermometer is easy to read, and has a clip on the back so it stays put while you stir.

A 5- to 6-qt. pan leaves plenty of room for the toffee mixture to bubble. Photo by Elaine Johnson

  1. Add raw nuts (the almonds and hazelnuts) when the mixture reaches 265°. They’ll be perfectly roasted by the time the candy comes off the stove.

Toffee cooking with coarsely chopped raw almonds and hazelnuts. Photo by Elaine Johnson

3. Add roasted nuts (the pistachios) when the mixture reaches 295° (the temp for taking it off the stove). Work quickly so the candy doesn’t overcook.

Once the toffee reaches 295°, add the roasted pistachios. Photo by Elaine Johnson

4. Pour the candy into a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. In advance, I crease the paper at the edges so it will stay put. (And be sure to protect your hands here. This stuff is blazing hot.)

Hot toffee going into a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Photo by Angela Brassinga

5. Spread the hot candy quickly, before it sets.

Keep stirring and nudging the hot toffee to cover the pan completely. Photo by Elaine Johnson

6. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let them stand until softened, about 5 minutes.

Photo by Elaine Johnson

7. Spread the chocolate to cover. An offset spatula is handy but not essential.

Spreading chocolate over toffee. Photo by Elaine Johnson

8. Sprinkle with pistachios for holiday color.

  1. Let cool completely (at least a couple of hours), then break apart.

Almond, Pistachio, and Hazelnut Toffee, broken into chunks. Photo by Elaine Johnson

Almond, Pistachio, and Hazelnut Toffee

MAKES about 2 3/4 lbs.

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 cubes) butter

2 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup water

1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds

1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw hazelnuts

1 cup salted, roasted pistachios, divided

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Line a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper, creasing paper along edges so it stays put.

2. In a 5- to 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat, cook butter, sugar, salt, and water, stirring often, until mixture reaches 265° on a candy thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Add almonds and hazelnuts and continue to cook, stirring, until mixture reaches 295°. Remove from heat and quickly stir in 3/4 cup pistachios.

4. Working quickly and protecting hands, pour and scrape mixture from pot into lined baking sheet. Spread into pan.

5. Let candy cool about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with chocolate. Let stand until softened, about 5 more minutes, and spread evenly.

6. Finely chop remaining 1/4 cup pistachios and sprinkle over warm chocolate. Let toffee stand until completely cool and chocolate is firm, at least 2 hours. Break into chunks.