This recipe for traditional English toffee is one of my family's favorites. You don't need a candy thermometer to make this candy, but it can be a little tricky if you've never made it before. The very first time I made this toffee recipe years ago, I burned it so I've included some tips that might help. Once you've made toffee a few times, you'll get a feel for the correct consistency and color that tells you when it's at the correct temperature and then it's easy. My son now knows how to make this and takes great pride in making it himself.
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1. In a medium sauce pan combine butter, sugar, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook approximately 15 to 20 minutes (but this time varies) to hard crack stage (300 degrees) stirring constantly. Immediately pour into a buttered glass 13x9 inch pan. Cool completely.
2. Melt the chocolate chips by heating a pan of water on the stove. When water boils, turn off the heat and place a bowl containing the chocolate chips over the pan. Gently stir until chips are melted. (Don't microwave the chocolate chips or the chocolate will burn and won't be the right consistency.) Spread over toffee. Sprinkle with nuts. Let chill for at least 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Break toffee into bite size pieces.
A few tips
1. Use a good saucepan that's heavy or has a thick bottom. A thin, low quality saucepan will heat quickly and burn the candy.
2. Have a glass of water nearby to check the candy. You'll know when the toffee is ready when the mixture turns a light brown, caramel / toffee color. (dark brown in burned) The candy will also turn hard and brittle when a small amount is put in the water. This is hard crack stage for candy.
3. Be careful! While cooking, this candy is HOT and will burn badly.
4. Avoid distractions. Once you start making the candy, you cannot stop stirring! You must stir constantly to prevent burning and scorching the bottom.
Your toffee will look like this and taste even better!