The total package
Sweet, salty, crunchy, buttery, nutty, and loaded with chocolate and coffee flavor: toffee has it all. Click through to learn the tricks for making great toffee at home.
Line the pan with parchment paper
Begin by lining the bottom and sides of a walled sheet pan with parchment paper. If you'd like, use a little tape to adhere the parchment firmly to the pan.
Assemble mis en place and tools
Measure out all of the ingredients that are not added immediately to the sugar mixture and keep them close to the stove, along with a rubber spatula for stirring and scraping, my candy thermometer, and pastry brush (not pictured). I also like to keep a container of water nearby to hold my candy thermometer once the cooking is complete.
Begin cooking the sugar mixture
Unlike many other caramel-based candies, the butter in toffee is added at the the beginning of the cooking process. Combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and butter in a large, heavy saucepan with tall sides (at least 2/3 of the pan should be exposed) and place over medium-low heat. Wash any residual sugar off the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, to avoid having excess sugar on the sides burn too quickly.
Cook to hard crack stage
Once the sugar mixture begins bubbling, place the thermometer into the liquid. Allow the mixture to bubble, do not disturb or remove from the heat. Cook the mixture until it reaches 300° F, or hard crack stage, which gives the toffee it's crisp texture. Turn off the heat and remove the thermometer.
Add baking soda and mix-ins
Once the mixture hits 300° F, remove from the heat and immediately add any additional ingredients (espresso powder or finely ground espresso beans, chopped nuts, salt, vanilla, etc.) and stir thoroughly to combine. Then, (if using a recipe that calls for it) add baking soda and stir quickly to combine, Immediately pour out the mixture onto the prepared pan. It is important to work quickly in this step, to avoid having the mixture continue to cook too much from residual heat, and to maximize the aeration provided by the baking soda.
Allow the toffee to harden
Allow the toffee to harden and cool at room temperature. This will take an hour or more.
Spread the chocolate
Once the toffee is cool, temper the chocolate that you will need and pour it in the center of the toffee in the pan. Spread the chocolate over the toffee evenly using an offset spatula.
Before the chocolate sets, evenly sprinkle chopped nuts and additional sea salt over the top. Place the pan in a cool, dry place to allow the chocolate to set completely, approximately 2 hours. To accelerate the process, you may place the pan in the fridge for just a few minutes, but no longer.
Cut the toffee
Once the chocolate has set, carefully cut away the edges with a sharp knife. Slice the toffee into pieces, and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. The toffee will keep for several weeks.