English Toffee and other Xmas Delights

This english toffee is my grandmother’s recipe, and it is really too easy for it’s own good.  Plus, it makes a metric ton of toffee, so make sure you have somewhere to give it away.

English Toffee

  • 1lb Butter
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 package chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecan pieces

Place butter and sugar in the pan on high.  Break up butter.  Stir vigorously all the time while cooking.  As mixture starts to bubble along sides, add cream of tartar – stir.  Keep stirring until miture turns toffee colored – light brown (300 degrees farranheit = hard crack).

Pour on lightly buttered aluminum cookie sheet.  Spread on chocolate chips while hot with spatula (give them a second to melt, spreading will be easier).  Sprnkle chopped nuts on top, then refridgerate.  Break into peices when hard.

This is not in the instructions my grandmother gave me, but I wrote at the bottom of the page:


The color that the toffee turns is much darker than I think the recipe indicates, so if you’re cooking without a thermometer, really give it a chance to turn a nice toasty brown before you pour it!  Otherwise, you won’t get a good hard crack.


As for the Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels, I stole those from Alton Brown

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels


  • 1 batch Sugar Cookies, recipe follows
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies


Divide the dough in half and add chocolate and vanilla to 1 half and incorporate with hands. Add egg yolk, peppermint extract, and crushed candy to other half of dough and incorporate with hands. Cover both with plastic and chill for approximately 5 minutes. Roll out doughs separately to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Place peppermint dough on top of chocolate and press together around the edges. Using waxed paper or flexible cutting board underneath, roll dough into log. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place cookies 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Sugar Cookie:


3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon milk

Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.


10 responses to “English Toffee and other Xmas Delights

  1. So would that toffee still be good if I left out the pecans? I’m really not a nut person, but I love me some toffee, and toffee with chocolate? Yummy!

  2. Absolutely! I’ve seen people use matzoh instead, and I think shredded coconut could be good too, but you don’t really need to add anything. I think the nuts just keep it from sticking as much if it gets warm, so keep it cool.

  3. Coconut is one thing I can’t stand more than nuts. and matzoh just confuses me…. Do I need to keep it cool if I eat it all?

  4. Washing it down with a cold glass of milk should do it!

  5. Ok, I made my attempt at this and actually found a candy thermometer in the house. Of course now I have a new question. “Spread the chocolate chips” was I attempting to get a uniform distribution? or just get them to melt in a little? What was my goal there, because it kinda cludged up when I was trying to spread them (Looked a bit like curdled milk), but I just spread to some degree then called it quits.

    And also, one cookie sheet of toffee != metric ton of toffee, I could probably eat this today : )

    • Yeah, getting the spreading right takes practice. You have to give the chips a couple of minutes to really melt, otherwise they won’t spread right. It still tastes good though!

      • Hmm, I tried to let them melt… maybe put the chocolate chips on cookie sheet so the hot toffee stuff melts them as you pour it on? I would have waited longer, but the toffee was cooling too much and I was worried about spreading it when it was firming. Haven’t tasted it yet though, it is in the fridge cooling. Will let you know how I do on eating it all today (working from home on papers today, might make it through all of it!)

  6. Also, if you put it on more than one cookie sheet, you get thinner pieces, which make it seem like more, I guess. I could probably also eat it all in one day, but I really, really shouldn’t

  7. So AJ loved this, and I think it helped me figure another of my food idiosyncrasies out. Apparently, I can really taste cream of tartar and I don’t like it. The toffee, which smelled fantastic, had a taste that I associate with bakery sorts of cookies, that just always make it a bit disappointing and not as yummy as cookies I make at home, and I know cream of tartar gets put in large batch cookies more than home made ones. In fact, I think there was a cookie recipe I had once that used cream of tartar and I felt the same way about it. Interesting, though baking powder is baking soda + cream of tartar like things, it actually uses different things than cream of tartar and so that I don’t mind. Chalk this up to another Kt weirdness with food.

    However, more importantly, AJ found the toffee fantastic and ate all of it before I could use it in cookies : )

    • I’m glad it helped you figure that out, and that AJ loved it! I would offer my peanut brittle recipe as a substitute, but I’m pretty sure it has cream of tartar as well. Oh well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s