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Grandma Nash's Best Butter Almond English Toffee recipe is one to be handed down through generations. The crunchy, buttery toffee and toasted almonds with a thick layer of chocolate makes this one of our favorite candies and a Christmas tradition that we love to share with friends & neighbors! Watch me make it in the video at the bottom of the recipe card!
If you love making homemade edible gifts for the holidays, be sure not to miss any of my easy Christmas candy recipes! My Classic Southern Pecan Pralines and Old-Fashioned Homemade Peanut Brittle are always popular this time of year!
For the past few years, I have made 8 or more batches of this fabulous butter almond English toffee to go on plates of goodies (along with this Rocky Road Fudge) that we take around to friends and neighbors in our area, along with Christmas cards.
And I always make a batch to be lovingly packaged up and shipped off to Paul's grandma (our girls' great-grandma), from whom this recipe comes. She is in her 90's now and no longer makes her famous toffee herself, so I have taken over making it for her and making sure she has a supply to share with her friends who come to visit during December.
Even though you could technically make this butter almond english toffee recipe without a candy thermometer , I highly recommend investing in a good one. They aren't too expensive and it's a great stocking stuffer for anyone who might like to cook but hasn't done much candy-making!
And it almost makes toffee-making a foolproof endeavor since all you have to do is get the toffee up to the right temperature.
Paul's Grandma Madge clipped the recipe for this Butter Almond English Toffee from the San Jose Mercury Newspaper in 1962 and she made multiple batches of it every year after that.
Her toffee is famous in the Nash family, so one Christmas a few years back I asked her if I could get a copy of her recipe so that I could learn to make it since we don't live close by and Paul always raved about her toffee. She pulled out a box of recipe cards and had the original newspaper clipping taped to a card with her handwritten notations "Delicious '62" and "Christmas Candies" over the top, along with recipes for "Creamy Caramels" and "No-Bake Holiday Orange Balls".
I haven't tried either of the other two recipes from those newspaper clippings, but can attest to this "Butter Almond Toffee" being particularly delicious.
The only change I have made is to double the amount of chocolate called for in the original recipe. And I can't imagine who is going to complain about an adjustment like that.
I also rewrote the instructions a bit to include some steps that I have found helpful.
Grandma Nash is such a wonderful, interesting lady. She goes by her middle name, Madge, instead of Gwendolyn, which is her first name. My dad does the same thing so when our Rose was born, we decided to do the same for her and have her go by her middle name as a nod to each of them.
Grandma Nash was born in Mona, Utah in December, 1924 but raised her family in San Jose, California. Paul grew up in the house next door to her and she was his piano teacher, as well as teaching 4th grade at an elementary school for decades. She is still really sharp and loves to discuss books and politics (she's a staunch democrat) and classical music. And she makes the best toffee ever.
[UPDATE: Grandma Nash passed away in 2017 but her memory lives on in many ways, the least of which is her wonderful toffee recipe.]
I have used a large pot and quadrupled the recipe with great success, since I usually make between 8-12 batches. I still divide the chocolate and almond into separate bowls, and pour the toffee out into individual baking sheets to set, but I cook all four batches at the same time with no problem.
How to Make English Toffee
First, toast whole almonds in a 350 degree oven by spreading them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roasting for 10 to 15 minutes. Chop the cooled almonds into small pieces and set aside.
Butter a baking sheet and sprinkle with half of the chopped almonds.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan, then add sugar and water, stirring to combine using a long-handled wooden spoon and bringing to a boil over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage), usually between 10-15 minutes.
Remove the candy from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda. Immediately pour the hot candy over the almonds in the prepared baking sheet and spread out into a thin layer; then sprinkle with chopped chocolate. The heat of the toffee will melt the chocolate which you can then spread out evenly with the back of spatula or knife.
Sprinkle the remaining chopped almonds over the melted chocolate. Let the toffee cool completely and the chocolate re-harden and set, before breaking the toffee pieces.
Troubleshooting this English Toffee Recipe
Generally speaking, this recipe gets rave reviews because it's such a great, easy one to follow for candy success. The biggest question I get from some people is "why did my toffee separate?". And there are three possible reasons (that I'm aware of).
- Using a pot that is too thin. When making toffee, temperature is very important. Hot spots on a pot that is too thin can make toffee making more difficult than it needs to be because the butter will separate. Use a heavy bottom pot or a dutch oven for best results and to avoid wasting expensive ingredients.
- Not stirring enough. This is a recipe that you are going to need to stand by the stove and watch. I usually put an oven mitt over my hand and just stand there and stir for about 10 minutes or so until the toffee comes up to 300 degrees F.
- Not cooking to the right temperature. The final culprit I can think of is if your temperature is off. It's why I highly recommend using a reliable candy thermometer . It doesn't have to be an expensive one, in fact, I find the cheaper ones to be better in my experience. But for a visual cue, the toffee will go from a light color to a nice, golden color that's pretty much the same color as peanut butter.
Tips for the Best English Toffee Recipe in the World
Yes, I'm serious, this really is the BEST. I know it's a bold claim, but I think it's the addition of the baking soda which changes the texture just enough to make it really truly amazing.
You want to make sure that this butter almond English toffee is completely set before breaking it into pieces.
I find that it is easiest to let the toffee set overnight, then use a butter knife to jab firmly down into the toffee, which cracks apart into scrumptious buttery, chocolatey, almond covered shards.
While the recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, I have used milk chocolate in the past instead and it is also delicious. Totally go with whatever is your personal preference.
I'm so glad to have this cherished butter almond English toffee recipe in my collection, along with my mom's Chicken Cordon Bleu and my aunt Becky's Black Forest Cake. I'm sure your family will love it as much as ours does!
More Homemade Candy Recipes that make Great Edible Gifts
- Easy Homemade Rocky Road Fudge
- Old-Fashioned Divinity Candy
- Gourmet Homemade Caramel Apples
- Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
- Old-Fashioned Homemade Peanut Brittle
- Puppy Chow (aka Chex Mix Muddy Buddies)
- Easy Homemade Cream Caramels
- Creamy Easy Chocolate Fudge
- Easy Homemade Peppermint Bark
Grandma Nash's Best Butter Almond English Toffee
- 1 cup roasted almonds chopped
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate about 6 ounces, finely chopped
- Candy thermometer
- To toast the almonds, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread whole almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast 10-15 minutes, until fragrant and toasted, but being careful not to burn them. Let cool, then chop into small pieces and set aside.
- Butter a baking sheet or silipat mat, then sprinkle half of the chopped almonds on the buttered surface and set aside.
- In a heavy pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, then add both types of sugar and the water. Stir to combine using a long-handled wooden spoon and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage), usually between 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in the baking soda, working quickly. The toffee will bubble and foam a bit when reacting to the baking soda. Immediately pour the hot candy over the almonds in the prepared baking sheet and spread out into a thin layer with the back of your stirring spoon; let cool slightly for 2-3 minutes before sprinkling the chopped chocolate over the toffee. The heat of the candy will melt the chocolate after just a few minutes and then you can spread it out into an even layer with the back of spatula or knife.
- Sprinkle the remaining chopped almonds over the melted chocolate and press down lightly with the back of a clean spoon. Let the toffee cool completely and the chocolate re-harden and set, then break into pieces.