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Nov 20, 2011 02:45 AM

PLEASE HELP: Problems when cooking Almond Toffee

So I am trying to cook Almond Toffee but I am facing some problems with it, below is how I am exactly doing it:

- I cook the Butter and Water until it boils, then I stir in the Sugar.
- Then as soon as it starts to boil again I add Salt and Lecithin and stir for seconds to dissolve them in the mix.
- When the mixture reaches to 250f I add the roasted almonds and mix them with the mixture of Sugar and Butter.
- I cook the mixture and keep stirring it until it reaches 290f and then I spread the Toffee into a cooling surface.

The Problems:
1. I know that stirring should not happen while cooking but the if I do not stir, the mixture gets burnt fast and the almonds are burnt because they will be in the bottom of the pan. SO how to avoid this ?

2. After the mixture cools, I cover it which chocolate and then I put it in the refrigerator. when I do the Toffee change its color to be light and as soon as I get it our of the refrigerator it gets dark after 5 minutes.

3. Also when I get the Toffee out of the refrigerator it feel like it start to dissolve and it gets greasy and the task change, as opposed to when eating it directly from the refrigerator. What is causing this ?

4. I have read that Toffee must be aged and kept aside for a while before eating it, for how many days it should be aged? also where should be aged? in the refrigerator or outside ?

I would really appreciate if someone can help me with this.

Thanks :)

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    1. I have never used lethicin in toffee, so I am not sure what it does. I usually cook my toffee to 300 (it probably is a bit beyond, actually). I agree that you need to stir after you add the almonds, or else they will burn.

      Here is a recipe I follow, and it comes out perfect every time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jeanmarieok

        this recipes is pretty due to color of toffee and slivered almonds in pix.

      2. Stirring is not a problem, why do you think you are not supposed to stir?

        All the recipes I've seen start with the butter, sugar, and water in the pan. No need to make it into 2 steps.

        Sugar absorbs water from the air, so the moist refrigerator is not a good place to store it. Unless maybe you live in the tropics and don't want the chocolate to melt, and have a very airtight container. I've never refrigerated toffee, so I don't know what's happening. If it was cooked long enough, it should stay hard and brittle for weeks if stored airtight.

        3 Replies
        1. re: babette feasts

          Most caramel recipes absolutely forbid stirring. But then you are starting with just water and sugar. Maybe this is different with the butter in there.

          1. re: karykat

            When caramelizing sugar, you don't want to agitate it until all of the sugar crystals are dissolved; usually once it starts to color you are safe to stir. This is also why candy recipes tell you to wash the sides of the pan down with a wet pastry brush - a stray undissolved sugar crystal can induce crystallization of the whole pot when stirred into the mix. I'm pretty sure the butter inhibits crystallization. I just made caramel candies last week and stirred plenty once the cream and butter were incorporated. So, don't stir until you start getting a golden color or you have fats incorporated, then stir until you reach the finish temp to avoid scorching.

            1. re: babette feasts

              Yes, this is the reason I have heard for not stirring -- preventing the crystalization from happening. And why you brush down the sides of the pot with a wet brush.

              But I have never heard that you can stir after you start getting caramelization happening and the golden color.

              And yes, it makes sense to me too that the fat in there will inhibit the crystalization. Fat miniglobules would get in the way of the crystalline structure.

        2. You're wanting a crunchy toffee like a Heath bar?
          If so, I would cook to 300F.
          Lecithin? Not sure if that's required either.

          My suggestion is to try another recipe.
          I found David Lebovitz's recipes to be reliable.


          11 Replies
          1. re: dave_c

            Thank you all for you replies.

            @jeanmarieok: lethicin is an emulsifier and it is used to prevent the fats from splitting, I have seen it used by some of the manufacturers of Toffee.

            @babette feasts: I Have ordered Enstrom's Toffee once and I really like the way it was done, so since then I was trying to make something similar, now my Toffee gets similar to it only when it is but in the Freezer, but as soon as it is out just for few minutes the Toffee Changes.

            @dave_c: I am trying to get something similar to Enstrom's Almond Toffee

            1. re: dave_c

              would you think with the DL recipe you could put the 1/4 tsp soda into the vanilla and then add all at once? that way it's incorporated into the liquid vanilla so more ensures it will be better assimilated into the hot syrup...

              1. re: iL Divo

                It probably won't hurt, I'm not sure what the pH of the vanilla is and if vanilla would kick off the baking soda.

                Also, I believe the melting point of baking soda is 120F. The baking soda will mix in when you stir.

                Basically, it's worth a try to just combine the two and simplify the number of ingredients you put in.

                1. re: dave_c

                  yep I agree dave and I've chosen to use Madagasgar Bourbon Vanilla.
                  it should work, either way, I'm goin in... :)

                  my question would also be if the inclusion of BS will make this turn out like NL's hokey pokey.
                  (a personal favorite of mine).
                  with that recipe you have to be the quickest ever with your BS but it's very brittle. guess we'll just have to wait and see.

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    Not enough baking soda for hokey pokey - I make it, and it's a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to two cups of sugar, etc..

              2. re: dave_c

                ok it's cooled enough to have tasted.
                I took 2 pix with my phone, still no idea how to send from iPhone (a photo) then to the web.
                mine got quite dark, the toffee I mean. took it off at exactly 300• smelled like it had gone just barely over according to my smell machine+color. the mixture goes to 225• quickly but it seemed to take a long time to go from that to 300•.
                anyway the taste-good, not great. nice snap though.
                now to take to work tomorrow or pass-hummm

                1. re: iL Divo

                  How did it turn out? Did you coworkers enjoy?

                  How quickly did you heat to 300F? Generally, it takes about 30 minutes but I generally keep the heat at medium. My main concern is at 300F the sugar mixture seems to go from brown to black in a blink of an eye. I (wrongly?) believe if I'm a easy on the heat; I'll have a few extra seconds to react.

                  In regards to your Iphone picture - bring up your picture. On the bottom of the screen there's an icon with an arrow coming out of a box. Press that icon and email the photo to yourself.

                  Your question below... I've noticed many different toffee recipes with varying amounts of sugar and butter. DL uses a 1 stick to 1 cup of sugar ratio while Becca's recipe uses 2 stick to 1 cup of sugar. There are recipes with ratios in-between. It all goes to how buttery the toffee will taste.

                  1. re: dave_c

                    I gave to one group yesterday walking into work and then my cohorts got a bag too.
                    oh they LOVED it. I'll just say it was quickly gone.
                    I used the high BTU burner and that could have easily been what made it go to dark.
                    it was on medium but that burners' medium has more fire and a bigger fire ring.
                    probably a half hour but it got to the 200's quickly just much longer to reach 300•.
                    I should have trusted my nose and eyes instead of depending on a thermometer.

                    your thoughts about giving you a few extra seconds are well taken and think you're right.
                    I love a very buttery flavor myself.
                    I have a butter walnut flavored extract I may use in one experiment with it.

                    I do email the photo to myself but then how do I get it online from my iPhone email instead of a desk top or lap top? I know how to save to Docs from there but I have no document feature on my iphone. does that even make sense?

                    thanks for comments dave_c, much appreciated.

                    I'll get there, no worries *)

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      Re: the iPhone. When you connect to the computer, besides iTunes popping up, the iPhone appears as a drive on your computer (like a thumbdrive). That's where you can copy photos from your phone to your computer.

                      Re: The toffee. The butter walnut extract sounds delicious. Also, you can try different ratios of butter to sugar. I bet you'll come up with your own recipe in no time. :-)

                      1. re: dave_c

                        oh I do do that too Dave.
                        but when I have no computer handy and only have my
                        phone it's not possible until a time where my home computer is available.
                        can't do this at work on works' computer as they're monitored.
                        so until I remember to remove from phone and save to docs on my computer, it's a no go. these posts like this one are mostly done from my phone which is why all the

                        I'll continue working on the toffee until I get it just how I like it. < not sure the body will look the same though ;:-/

              3. I am sharing the best toffee recipe ever! CI forum members have been making it for years...

                Marilyn's English Toffee

                1 lb unsalted butter
                ½ teaspoon salt
                2 cups granulated sugar
                3 tablespoons water
                1 cup slivered almonds
                12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
                2 cups lightly toasted pecans

                1 Melt ¾ of chocolate over hot water or in a microwave oven at half power for 2-3 minutes. When melted, stir in remaining chocolate and set aside. Line a large jelly roll or half-sheet pan with heavy-duty foil and butter the foil.
                2 Melt the butter with the salt in a heavy 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add the sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the water about halfway through this process.
                3 After all the sugar is added, begin testing the mixture to see if the sugar is dissolved. Place a drop of mixture on wax paper; allow it to cool and rub it between your fingers to make sure it doesn't feel grainy. If it does, continue to cook and test again. The mixture will probably be boiling at this point.
                4 When sugar is dissolved, add the almonds, and increase the heat to medium high. Cook to the hard-crack stage, or about 310-320 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring often to keep the candy from burning on the bottom. When it’s done, it should be a medium-dark amber color and have a caramel aroma. The almonds should have a toasted color but they should not burn. This is the tricky part, as there’s a thin line between perfect and overdone, and to some extent it’s a matter of taste.
                5 Remove from heat and pour into the prepared pan, spreading as evenly as possible with an offset spatula. Be careful, this stuff is hot! Set the pan on a cooling rack. After 2-3 minutes, when toffee is just set, pour reserved chocolate on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, and press them in gently with a spatula or bottom of a glass to anchor them in the chocolate.
                6 Allow the toffee to harden at least 6-8 hours—overnight is better. Break into pieces using a sharp pointed knife with a rigid blade, or you can use your hands. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Makes about 3 pounds.

                10 Replies
                1. re: Becca Porter

                  Becca, could you tell me which brand of candy thermometer you use?

                  1. re: blue room

                    Taylor. I have the one with the metal casing.

                  2. re: Becca Porter

                    I'm just stymied by the different amounts of butter and sugar.
                    this recipe is 4 sticks of butter and 2 cups sugar.
                    the DL recipe is 1 stick butter 1 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown.
                    yet they both yield a superb toffee? one confused woman here.
                    oh well my DL version is in frig chilling up all ready to break into pieces when cooled.
                    can't wait-hope it's delish!

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      I can tell you that there are at least a dozen people who make this every year in batches. One guy sells extra for $15 a lb to his friends who beg him for it. It is amazing!!

                      1. re: Becca Porter

                        but Becca does it surprise you (the ingredients) and how they differ?
                        oh I'll try it, promise you that, but with only 3 sticks left from the pound of butter I bought today...guess it's more butter on the horizon.

                        1. re: iL Divo

                          I think I'm going to have to try this recipe, too. The recipe I use includes 1 c butter and 1 1/3 c sugar.

                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                            is it white sugar you use chocolatechip?

                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                              Chico, does yours also use water/vanilla/baking soda?
                              I have ingredients right now looking up other recipes.
                              had to buy more butter... darn ;( < not-love butter...

                              1. re: iL Divo

                                so I made one today from a recipe I found online at no particularly noteable site.

                                it called for sugar butter salt and almonds.

                                no vanilla, no water, no baking soda.

                                it didn't work, the butter never met the sugar so it never poofed.