Ready or Not #141: English Toffee

I can’t go another Christmas without sharing my mom’s English Toffee recipe.  I have such good memories my mother and father and us kids making lots and lots and LOTS of toffee every Christmas season when I was young.

One year, I thought that I was living in a candy factory – it was heaven.  We even had a second fridge that its sole purpose (at least during the Christmas season) was to cool the candy.  As soon as the candy could be broken up, the cookie pan was recycled and the process started all over again.

We had no less than eight or nine cookie sheets in use at any one time.  If ever there was a time that I came close to chocolate and toffee overdose, it was then.

English Toffee

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
8 oz. milk chocolate candy bar (a good quality milk chocolate bar, the thin ones are the best)
½ cup chopped or ground walnuts

Combine butter, sugar and water in a heavy saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Then cook uncovered, while stirring constantly (very important), until mixture darkens slightly, about 290 degrees.  You don’t want to overcook because it will get too hard.  But if you undercook it, it won’t set up.

Pour onto a buttered cookie sheet (use butter not Pam) and let the toffee mixture spread out to about a ¼” or slightly less.  Immediately lay broken pieces of the candy bar, evenly spaced, over the top of the hot mixture.  Carefully spread the chocolate over the mixture as it starts to melt, and sprinkle the top with ground walnuts.  It is helpful if you pat the walnuts lightly into the melted chocolate so that the nuts won’t fall off when you serve the finished product.

Cool in the refrigerator. (You can cool it on the counter, but it takes too long for me. I’m too impatient).  Break into serving size pieces, but be careful when doing this because sometimes the chocolate will separate from the toffee.  If that happens, don’t stress – it is still edible.

If you will notice, ALL of the above ingredients are food storage items, including the water (two gallons of water, per person, per day for a two-week period) and it is a fairly easy recipe to make and it is certainly a mood lifter.  Even if it doesn’t turn out perfect the first time (don’t worry it will), the results are still incredibly tasty.

The other thing that I like about this recipe, and this time of year, is that it brings the family together.  All of the family can help make this recipe — even the youngest member of the family can butter the pans.  Doing activities as simple as cooking and creating together helps families grow closer together.

Having strong relationships and a good network of people who care about you and your well being is vital in truly being prepared.  Hopefully you are part of a close network and you support others too; that is the greatest gift of all – giving the gift of self.

Merry Christmas everybody.

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