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Almond Toffee Revisited

by on October 27, 2009 · 92 comments

If you lived close by, we could meet at your house, pull out all the gear, arrange the ingredients and walk through this recipe together. I’d guide you every step of the way and after one try – or maybe two, because after 24 years of making this toffee I still screw it up sometimes, you’ll be master of the toffee making universe. You think I’m joking now, but when you taste this you’ll understand.

Reality is, I can’t be in your kitchen with you in person and you might not want me there anyway, so I’ve done my best to share the recipe with you here and hope you go on to winning state fairs and office cook-offs like others who have learned to make this recipe.

Here we go. Rather than re-write the whole post, I’ve simply updated my lesson from October 2006 so that the comments from the prior post will still be available.

— Anna, October 2009

Now that the holiday season is here, I feel it’s time to bump up a really good almond toffee recipe. I’ve played with the recipe over the years and feel it’s finally perfect, though you can still swap out almonds for pecans or try different brands of chocolate.

What’s funny about this recipe. Or maybe not-so-funny, but definitely interesting, is that some people can’t make this no matter how hard they try while others have made it perfectly (using the directions below) and have won state fairs. Most of the people who master this most-excellent toffee end up making it year after year because friends and family start begging for it at holidays and birthdays. I am not kidding.

Please give it a try, and don’t feel too bad if your first batch doesn’t work out. You’ll know you’ve failed if it never sets and the toffee is chewy. The toffee should be thick, yet very crispy and kind of light. And of course, it should have a very strong butter and almond flavor.

Some tips. Forget the “attach-to-the-pan” kind of candy thermometer and get a deep fry one like this. If you have a fancy digital candy thermometer, that might work too. However, part of making this recipe is watching the mercury steadily rise and I’m not sure the most recent digital thermometers let you do that. Or maybe they do. I’ve grown attached to my deep fry thermometer and like that I can rest it on the bottom of the pan.

Sliced almonds look like this.

sliced almonds.gif

For years, I topped the candy with Cadbury milk chocolate and it kind of became the signature flavor. However, I’ve started changing up the chocolate quite a bit, sometimes using white, dark, or both. I’ve been known to sprinkle chocolate covered espresso beans on top as well.

A good way to pack this is in little cellophane twist-tie bags or of course, Paper Mart’s (see packaging ideas section) tin-tie bags.

The finished candy should look something like this, though sometimes it’s lighter in color. I think different brands of butter yield different results, but I haven’t experimented enough to give you a definite reason. I’m usually so swamped with toffee requests I don’t have time to be that methodical, and by the time the holidays are over, I’m tired of making toffee and can’t deal with it until the next holiday season.


The recipe below is a fairly small batch. Once you master this size, you might want to double it and use a larger pot.

High altitude? Check out the note at the bottom.


Almond Toffee Revisited
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Best-Ever Almond Toffee
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, divided use
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter -- 1/2 pound (salted works too)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces good quality dark or milk chocolate, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread about 1/2 cup of the almonds on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until toasted and aromatic. Set aside.
  2. Line a 13x9 or 15x10 inch pan with parchment paper and set next to stove.
  3. Place butter in a heavy bottom, medium sized (3 qt) saucepan and melt over medium heat. When butter is mostly melted, stir in sugar, warm water and salt. Set a deep fry thermometer in pan, being careful that bulb is not touching bottom of pan. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring once in a while, until mixture reaches 240 degrees F.
  4. At 240 degrees, add the remaining 1 cup sliced almonds to sugar mixture. After adding almonds,
  5. stir constantly
  6. , keeping heat at medium, until mixture reaches 295 degrees F. If temperature is not rising at a slow and steady rate,
  7. raise heat a tiny bit until mercury starts rising
  8. When mixture reaches 290 (make sure it's no less than 290 and no more than 295 degrees F), immediately remove from heat and
  9. stir in baking soda
  10. It will bubble up and lighten a bit and seem almost fluffy. Pour into parchment lined pan. The mixture should be kind of a liquid blob at hit point and if you are on track, the saucepan will be clean when you dump the blob of candy onto the parchment. Mixture will begin to firm, and butter
  11. may
  12. pool and separate. Do not pour off any excess butter. Do not panic, because if you cooked the toffee to between 290 and 295, your candy should set. Sometimes it just takes longer.
  13. While candy is still very hot and in the process of setting, scatter chopped chocolate across top of hot and let chocolate melt into and over the candy as candy firms. Using back of a spoon, spread melted chocolate evenly over candy. Crush your toasted almonds and sprinkle over melted chocolate. Let candy cool for a 1/2 hour or more at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for about 1 hour to firm chocolate.
  14. When chocolate is set is set, lift candy from pan by grasping parchment. Break candy into large chunks.

High Altitude — note from Steve.

I finally had some time today to try the almond toffee recipe. I
experimented with the first batch I made and followed your recipe. I pulled
the mixture at 295 degrees and the heat carryover pushed it a bit over 300
degrees. It came out fine. It was so tasty I made another batch right away.
So if any other readers are wondering about adjustments for high altitude
for this recipe, I wouldn’t recommend any. It is an easy recipe to follow
and very delicious. I am adding this to my MUST make recipes for Christmas

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Published on October 27, 2009

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Drew October 15, 2006 at 10:52 am

This looks great! You’ve got to open a cookie/candy store in Austin. Please? LOL!

Jill October 15, 2006 at 11:32 am

My grandma makes toffee every year. She gave me the recipe and I have never been able to make it work. I learned my lesson after using a plastic spoon to stir it one time and melted it into the toffee! The deep fryer thermometer is a good idea. I’ve never had much luck with my candy thermometer.

veuveclicquot October 15, 2006 at 12:35 pm

I’ve never had much luck candy-making, but you’ve just convinced me to give it a shot. :) I can do it… right?!

Anna October 15, 2006 at 12:21 pm

Sheila, make sure to report back. I’m trying to write the directions for this so that anyone can make it.

Drew, I don’t know. I was kind of thinking I’d open a nightclub.

There’s a local brand of toffee sold here in town under the name “Austin Toffee Company”. I think her recipe might be similar to mine. I can’t get myself to try it.

Jill, you’ll totally dig the new deep fry thermometer. It’s totally worth the $10.

Joe October 15, 2006 at 1:20 pm

We use a version of Anna’s roca each year – they have already started asking when we will start making it. This is one you simply can’t pass up!

southernnole October 15, 2006 at 4:59 pm

My girls and I made this toffee today. It was great – I don’t make a lot of candy so I was very happy when this batch turned out. We are adding it to our holiday baking list. Thank you!

Laurel October 15, 2006 at 5:19 pm

I just ordered the deep-fryer thermometer and plan to give this a try during the holidays. I’ve made a BH&G nut rocha before, sometimes it’s worked and most of the time it hasn’t. A candymaker I am not! But I’m willing to try again.


Anna October 15, 2006 at 5:50 pm

Veuve, this is probably a good candy to start with. It’s easier than traditional scratch fudge but trickier than peanut brittle. It taste better than both.

Joe, I am glad you are still making it. I’ll be looking for some fabulous pictures on your blog.

Southernnole, you are quick! I’m happy to hear that you made it without any problems. Since you are from GA, I think you should know that you can incorporate toasted pecans or other nuts as well. I never leave out the almonds, though.

Laurel, I’m surprised the BH&G toffee was hit or miss since they usually run such thorough tests in their kitchen. I’m guess that recipe was one where you poured the toffee over the nuts. This is one of the only ones I know of where you actually boil the nuts in the hot sugar/butter mixture.

Bev October 15, 2006 at 6:38 pm

Anna, I have a question about the thermometer. Can you simply set this one in the saucepan? I have a candy thermometer that I have to hold and it’s a pain in the…well, you know! I don’t make alot of candy, but I do have a recipe for Crunchy Peanut Brittle that I make for the holidays. I think it tastes so much better than the peanut brittle I remember eating as a kid. And, it has chocolate & peanut butter morsels in it. Tastes more like toffee to me!

Bev October 15, 2006 at 6:41 pm

Ooops! If I had read the entire recipe, I would have known that you “set the thermometer in the pan”! :)

Anna October 15, 2006 at 8:08 pm

Bev, yes. You can set it right in the pan. The body of it goes slightly past the bulb so you can rest it on the bottom of the pan without worrying about the bulb hitting the bottom.

Claire N October 15, 2006 at 9:37 pm

I’ve never made almond toffee but this looks great!

Erika October 15, 2006 at 9:59 pm

Another recommendation here! This has been the one thing my Mom has asked for from me for Christmas for the last two years, and she just asked me about it for this year. It’s so good and makes fantastic gifts.

Janet October 16, 2006 at 5:20 am

Oooh, yum! I have been wanting to make toffee. I just found that I have the Taylor’s Deep Fry thermometer (hiding out in my kitchen drawers). I love your cookie blog site and enjoy the many recipes you try and all the helpful comments. Thanks!

Laurel October 16, 2006 at 7:31 am

I’m the one who’s hit or miss, Anna! The very first time I made it, it was tremendous; I’ve never quite gotten the same results. You’re right though; you sprinkle the nuts on after it’s been cooked and spread in the pan. Maybe with a new thermometer I’ll try it again and your recipe.

Rachael October 16, 2006 at 10:10 am

I don’t have enough almonds to make this today but I want to try it soon.

I made the chocolate cheesecake bunt cake, it was wonderful.

Therese/Wisconsin Cheesehead October 16, 2006 at 10:34 am

Hey Anna!

My sister-n-law/Dianne makes the BEST toffee covered in milk chocolate!!
She makes some for me every year to top off my christmas cookie tray! YUMMO!!!

Jen October 16, 2006 at 3:20 pm

Maybe this will be the year I give it a go. Is there a particular reason the deep fry thermometer is better? Not doubting, just wondering.:-)

smash October 16, 2006 at 3:55 pm

You’re so right about the deep fry thermometer. Forget those attach to the pan ones, they’re a waste of money (in my experience).

Jackie October 16, 2006 at 6:31 pm

Is Joe’s blog a cooking blog too? Would he mind if you gave us a link? If it’s anything like yours it’ll be worth checking out.


Janet October 16, 2006 at 8:13 pm

Hello Anna! I made your BEST EVER ALMOND TOFFEE tonight and it’s wonderful! I took it immediately over to my best friend’s house to share and she couldn’t get enough nor could I. This is a WINNER!! Thanks again….I look forward to trying it again and gifting it for Christmas gifts! Thanks a million!! Janet in Simpsonville SC

Anna October 16, 2006 at 8:41 pm

Therese, what would Dianne do if you suddenly started making your own toffee? I don’t know. Maybe you should not try this recipe, because I’d hate to see Dianne’s reign as toffee queen come to an end.

Jen, the snap-on bulbs only measure the temperature of what’s going on around the perimeter of the pan. You can’t rest them in the center of the pan (where all the action is!) because the bulb has nothing to rest on and will measure the temperature of the bottom of the pan rather than the candy/liquid that’s in it. It may even break. The deep fry thermometer can be placed in the center and it has a nice little piece of metal jutting out on which it can rest.

Smash, I am all for deep fry thermometers. Every once in a while I wonder how a digital thermometer would work, but I don’t think most digitals can stand up to hot liquid. They say the Pampered Chef one can be used for candy, but I’ve never tried it…..

Jackie, Joe is at

….he should be in NYC working as a food stylist, though.

Janet, I am so glad to hear that the directions were accurate and that your batch turned out. Now that you’ve made one regular batch, you can start playing with variations. BTW. Let me know when you’ve tested it out on someone with XY chromosomes. I’ve notice in my family, women like it, but men seem to go nuts (no pun intended) over it. Seriously.

Janet October 17, 2006 at 6:52 am

Heyee Anna, DH does not like sweets. I bake lots of sweets and LOVE sweets and so all my goodies are shared with friends and neighbors. I go to an all women fitness center but I will ask them today to take the toffee home and share with the guys and tell me what they think of it. BTW, oven repairman is coming this morning to replace my oven control panel (hmmm, think that is what happened to my batch of bars?). About the variations to this recipe…would I reallllly want to change anything? It’s perfect;-))) Thanks, j

Therese/Wisconsin Cheesehead October 17, 2006 at 10:39 am

Hey Anna!

I will indeed try this recipe! Dianne is the queen though….she even has a chocolate tempering machine..does the caramels…turtles…chococalte covered everthing. But, this recipe looks mighty…mighty fine!!! I have to get that thermometer…but, will try this…thanks ANNA!!

Drew October 17, 2006 at 7:13 pm

As long as you sell cookies and candy at your nightclub, I’ll come. ;-)

T. Martin October 18, 2006 at 9:50 am


What brand of thermometer do you have? And where did you purchase?

Anna October 18, 2006 at 10:06 am

It’s a Taylor thermometer and I bought it at Linens and Things. I believe Bed, Bath & Beyond sells them too.

rachael October 20, 2006 at 1:07 pm

I just made this and so far so good. It was my first time making candy of any kind so hopefully it turns out good! It looks delicious. :D

Do you have a recipe for popcorn balls? I tried Gale Gand’s recipe last year and they were like baseballs, totally inedible. I’d really like to try them again and they are my dad’s favorite halloween treat.

Anna October 20, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Hi Rachael,

I’m glad you were successful. So far, so good. No one’s reported any disasters. Then again, I think mostly baking geeks read this blog ;).

I haven’t eaten a popcorn ball in over 28 years, so no, I don’t have a good recipe to recommend. I’d check Recipezaar if I were you.

Amy B. November 13, 2006 at 12:21 pm

hi, I was refered to your blog by a friend. I know this is an old post, but I hope you can answer my question. I make toffee every year with great success. My recipe has corn syrup, so I’ve never had it fail. What it doesn’t have is the baking soda. What does baking soda do for the candy? Do I need to adjust my recipe to include it?

Anna November 13, 2006 at 12:43 pm

Hi Amy,

What happens when you add the baking soda is that the mixture bubbles up and forms air pockets. The candy hardens, but there are tiny air pockets remaining and the candy is crisper. I wouldn’t try adding the baking soda to just any recipe, though. I’d use this one.

Janet November 17, 2006 at 6:12 am

Made this again and it was another huge success! My sister can’t stop telling me how delicious it is and it’s like something you’d buy rather than being homemade. Great recipe and easy to make!

Lindsay November 17, 2006 at 7:51 pm

First batch of toffee I’ve not ruined! Anna, you have a gift…seriously. Maybe it’s the thermometer (I bought the deep fry), but more than likely it’s the well-tested (and well-written) recipe. I can’t tell you how elated I was when I poured the toffee in the pan and it actually set. Thanks a million!

Anna November 17, 2006 at 7:56 pm

Yay! Glad you toffee turned out, Lindsay. I’ve rewritten the recipe a couple of times, so I guess it’s finally at a point where it can easily be followed. I hope you like how it tastes.

Stella November 25, 2006 at 7:17 pm

I made this toffee yesterday, and it set and tastes great, but the butter pooled a bit on the top and bottom. You can see the butter separated from the candy, and the streaked the chocolate on top. Any advice on how to stop this from happening next time?


Anna November 25, 2006 at 8:03 pm

Hi Stella,

I haven’t figured out why this happens. Sometimes mine pools, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve never had it pool so much that it streaked the chocolate. I’ll try to find the answer as to what causes the pooling.

T. Martin November 27, 2006 at 10:08 am


I typically only have unsalted butter on hand…should I increase the amount of salt called for in the receipe?

Steve December 4, 2006 at 3:45 pm

What temperature does the mixture need to reach for ‘high altitude’ cooking? Here in Colorado, we are at 6,000 feet. Should I pull the the mixture out at around 290 degrees to compensate for the altitude difference? Or should I pull it at 295 like the recipe says. Just want to make sure the mixture isnt too hard or soft. I want to try the recipe for Christmas gifts. Your recipe looks like a winner………

Anna December 5, 2006 at 8:00 am

Hi Steve,

I hope you do give the almond toffee a try. I’ve never made it at high altitude, but the general rule is 2 degrees for every thousand feet, so you would probably need to subtract 12 degrees. However, with this candy, it’s important to err on the side of “over” cooking rather than under. If you accidentally overcook it, it will be slightly harder, but still very good. If you undercook it, it will be chewy.

If I were making this at high altitide, I would probably watch it closely and take it off the heat between 280 and 290. You do not want to do it too early, but again, too late would probably be better, so if you don’t smell burning (which you probably shouldn’t anyway), pull it off around 288.

Let me know how it goes because I am very interested to hear your results.

Chelsea November 20, 2007 at 7:20 pm

I made it! The butter didn’t pool at all. And silly me, I forgot to add the baking soda! So as a last ditch effort I sprinkled it onto the toffee on the wax and stirred it in. lol, it worked fine. (can you tell I’m a beginner?!) And I’m typing w/one hand because I burned my finger. Such a clutz, but I’m soo happy w/the results! Thank you!

Anna November 20, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Chelsea, that’s great! Sorry you burned your finger, though. I’ve had plenty of toffee related injuries myself.

cassandra December 1, 2007 at 3:50 pm

I just made this not two hours ago and it’s already half gone! Did I mention I’m the only one home? :]

susan December 20, 2007 at 1:35 pm

The first time I made this, great!, Second batch, a hint of burn, but keepable. Third, fourth and fifth batch – BURNING WAY TOO FAST! What can I do to hold off the smoking/burning until at least 280? I’ve tried stirring a lot and not stirring at all. Oh, and my pan seems to be heavy. It has a heavy metal addition to the bottom. One last thing: I’m in Florida, but it’s a nice day today, not too humid. I’m very frustrated but willing to try again.

Anna December 20, 2007 at 2:20 pm

I emailed Susan, but for those of you having the same issues, here’s what I told her.

#1. Try a heavier pan.

#2. Don’t add the sugar until the butter, which you’ve combined with the water and salt, has completely melted. Add the sugar later seems to make a lighter colored toffee. So if you are having burning issues, adding it later might help.

#3. Take candy off NO EARLIER than 290 but no later than 295.

Lisa June 4, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Hi Anna,
Your recipe is the best ever!now a want to make a sugar free almond toffee. Do you have a sugar free recipe. If yes, please let me know.

Ed Almasy October 13, 2008 at 11:48 am

Can whole almonds be used? Or how can whole almonds be cut?

Anna October 13, 2008 at 11:51 am

Hi Ed,

I’ve always used sliced almonds, but I supposed chopped almonds would work. The best way to cut them is to put them on a big cutting board and cut with a chef’s knife.

liz November 24, 2008 at 10:57 pm

This is a great toffee recipe. I made it today and we’ve eaten most of it. I’ve never made it where you put the almonds in while cooking, just where you pour the toffee over the almonds.

I used Nestle milk chocolate chips for the chocolate and it hardened up in the refrigerator but softened back up after I took it out. It’s fine for us but not so good for packaging up for gifts. Should I not use milk chocolate or is it because there was some extra butter that had separated out from the toffee? Or do I just need a better quality chocolate? Any ideas? I prefer to use milk chocolate or cheapo waxy chocolate for myself because the stronger, darker chocolates can be a migraine trigger for me but can use any kind when I am making it for gifts.

I’m definitely making it again but next time pouring it into a smaller pan so it will be thicker. Thanks!

Anna November 24, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Hi Liz,

Thanks for trying the toffee recipe. I’m glad you liked it. I’ve never had problems with the toffee being too melty and I live in Texas, so I guess the type of milk chocolate you used had something to do with it. Maybe you could do another batch and do a little test. Put the cheap milk chocolate on one side and some high end dark chocolate on the other.

liz November 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm

OK, the chocolate had hardened up pretty well but slightly soft to the touch by this morning in my cold kitchen. My weekly lunch group came over and devoured the rest of it and all seven of them went home with the recipe. I’ll try different chocolate next time.

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