OMG! This recipe for English Toffee is absolutely delicious! I made it for Christmas gifts this year, and I have to insist that you make some. I adapted the recipe from Bertha C. at English Toffee Recipe – Food.com. Bertha knows what she’s doing!
The first order of business is to thoroughly butter a 9″x13″ pan. Don’t skimp on this and don’t use cooking spray.
As an alternative, you can use a piece of parchment paper to create a sling in the pan. This will enable you to lift the toffee out more easily. If you go this route, it still needs buttering.
In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt two sticks of butter with one cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir, stir, stir, stir with a wooden spoon. This mixture will go through several changes — bubbling, browning, caramelizing — all yummy. The trick is to know when to remove the molten flow of deliciousness from the heat.
My special tool was Dan the Man’s digital thermometer. We use this tool all the time, and it’s a surefire way to know the temperature of the food you are cooking. Continue to stir and melt the toffee mixture until the thermometer registers 300-310 degrees. You can also use a candy thermometer or the cold water test (Hard Crack Stage in Candy Making (thespruceeats.com), but I find the digital thermometer more reliable.
When the mixture comes to temperature, it will be a nice caramel color. Pour it in to your buttered pan. Set this aside to cool.
When the toffee is cooled, it is time to do the chocolate/pecan topping. You will need 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup coarsely-broken pecans. I make a double boiler to melt the chocolate by putting a heat-safe bowl over a simmering pot of water. (Don’t let the water boil or the chocolate may seize.) When the chocolate is melted, spread it over the toffee. Quickly sprinkle the chocolate with the pecans and gently pat the nuts into the chocolate.
Once the chocolate sets, the fun begins! Either crack the toffee into random pieces within the baking dish, or, if you’ve made a sling, lift the sling out and break the toffee. (My toffee looks camouflaged against my countertop!) Now share with people you love, but I won’t tell if you eat it all yourself!