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!

a side angle of english toffee in a bread pan with more pieces on a baking sheet in the background and a red and white striped towel in between

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.

This toffee always reminds us of Grandma Nash, along with her creamy apricot pork chops and poppy seed dressing.

toffee on a baking sheet topped with chocolate and chopped nuts

Even though you could technically make this butter almond english toffee recipe without a candy thermometer (affiliate link), 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.

An image of a pan full of the best english toffee recipe in the world, coated in chocolate and toasted almonds.

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.

an old recipe card of three different recipes one of which is the english toffee shared today

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.]

An image of broken up homemade english toffee covered in toasted almonds and semi-sweet chocolate.
An image of homemade toffee with almonds and chocolate, broken up into pieces on a baking sheet.

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

  1. 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.
  2. Butter a baking sheet and sprinkle with half of the chopped almonds.
  3. 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 (affiliate link) reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage), usually between 10-15 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
a bread pan filled with english toffee pieces on a red and white striped towel

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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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 (affiliate link). 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.
english toffee on a baking sheet

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.

a baking dish filled with parchment paperand broken up pieces of grandma nash's english toffee

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

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Grandma Nash's Best Butter Almond English Toffee

5 from 42 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine European
Servings 12 servings
Grandma Nash's Best Butter Almond English Toffee 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!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup roasted almonds chopped
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate about 6 ounces, finely chopped
  • Candy thermometer

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Chocolate chips work just fine if you don't have a bar of semi-sweet chocolate.

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 184mg | Potassium: 180mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Oh my goodness that looks like the BEST toffee in the whole wide world! I need this in my life! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the New Year 🙂

  2. I LOVE toffee and yours sounds and looks absolutely scrumptious!! I'll have to try the recipe!

  3. This looks like something a Purdy's...but grandma's recipe would be better for sure. Happy Holidays!! Sounds addictive!!

  4. Grandma Nash sure sounds like a hoot to be around. I be she appreciates that you keep her supply of this beautiful toffee stocked every year. And how fantastic is that old newspaper clipping???. . . a true testament to just how delicious this toffee is.

  5. Making toffee around the holidays is so much fun, and it makes the perfect gift. This looks wonderful. Family recipes are the BEST!

      1. I have used macadamia nuts with white chocolate (it's a really delicious version!) and I have seen people use sesame seeds (I think to avoid allergies). I haven't personally used pecans, walnuts, or peanuts, but I think they would all be delicious! We do peanut brittle every year so I know that would work, and I'm positive pecans would be good as well.

  6. Made my first batch tonight!!! A few notes for those who move too quickly... Don't buy pre roasted almonds. Also don't try to do the toffee while you "warm up" said pre roasted almonds lol. I was running back and forth trying to chop up the warmed almonds and stir the toffee. Haha attempt #2 will happen tomorrow!

    1. Yes, it should. The flavor won't be quite as strong since light brown sugar doesn't have as much molasses as dark brown sugar, but it's close enough that I doubt you would ever notice.

  7. 5 stars
    Just made this toffee for my mother, Agnes Ellertson Schwaar. She is a cousin to Madge, or as I knew her, Aunt Madge. I was talking to mom about growing up in Mona, and all her gang of friends including Madge. After hanging up I found this on Pinterest so I knew I had to make it.

    1. Thank you so, so much for this sweet, special comment! I had to forward it on to my mother-in-law so she could read it. 🙂 We miss Grandma Nash!

  8. just made this and i did it just like i was supposed to. the candy separated and turned back to butter. what went wrong?

    1. Oh no! Candy can be tricky but my guess is that it is one of two things - either not cooking it to the right temperature or not stirring enough. It takes almost constant stirring to get the butter to combine with all the other ingredients and stay that way.

    2. My toffee recipe that is a little bit different than yours, (no brown sugar, water or baking soda), goes from boiling away looking like what I call "marshmellowy", and then the oil separates out from the candy. But, if you keep stirring and cooking the toffee, the oil blends back into the candy and it turns a nice caramel color and then you pour it out. So, you may not have cooked it quite long enough!

      Haven't tried your recipe, but I'm going to! It looks wonderful!! I just love English Toffee!

  9. 5 stars
    This is absolutely the BEST toffee I have ever had!! I made some for the first time at Christmas for some treat baskets I made for my customers, and everyone loved it! The first batch I made with almonds just as the recipe shows, but the 2nd batch I decided to replace the almonds with pecans instead!! OMG! Didn't know it was even possible to get even better....but it was PURE HEAVEN! If you are looking for a great toffee recipe you found it! Thank,you for sharing:)

    1. I'm so glad to hear how much you love this recipe! I'm going to have to try pecans next time as well! Macadamia nuts are good too. 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    I just made this and it was my first time attempting toffee! I used toasted walnuts because it was what I had on hand, also added some pretzels to my bottom layer of nuts, and used milk chocolate because thats what I had on hand. Its so good! I am so glad I found your recipe! The addition of baking soda is what sets it apart from all of the other recipes I looked at, gives it an easier bite in my opinion! We LOVED IT! This will be the only toffee recipe I ever use!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this toffee! It's such a special recipe to us because it came from my husband's grandma and we feel like it is the best too!

  11. 5 stars
    This stuff is amazing. I could eat the whole thing myself! And, it makes such a pretty treat for holiday gifts! Thanks for the recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    I haven’t made the recipe yet but I fully intend to this week.

    The reason I’m writing is because I was very touched by your description of Madge. So much so that when I read she had passed, I cried. She sounds like a wonderful, fun-living gal. Thank you for introducing me to her.

  13. I love the yellowed newspaper clippings and food memories are the best. This buttery toffee looks absolutely amazing!

  14. 5 stars
    I vowed that is would never make another almond toffee recipe again because, of all the disastrous results I've had over the years, until I saw Grandma Nash's recipe. I used my trusty cast iron skillet, candy thermometer, wooden spoon, prepared all the ingredients, read the entire recipe, helpful hints, and I was ready to go--Delicious! I cooked it LOW and SLOW--didn't have any butter separation-just wonderful almond toffee gift giving. Thank you!

    1. I'm SO glad that you not only tried the recipe, Eileen, but that you left this comment and review. This was pretty much how my candy making experiences had gone until Grandma Nash shared her toffee recipe with me as well!

  15. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing. I got a chuckle seeing the newspaper recipe...I live in San Jose, and was born in 1962, the year this recipe was published in my local papeso it seemed meant for me! I made it last night, and am so happy with the results I will be making more tonight.
    It's super easy to make, just be sure to have your pan greased and nuts chopped before you start.
    I used pre-roasted almonds from Whole Foods, and Cadbury milk chocolate, since I prefer that for toffee, and it was truly delicious.

  16. 5 stars
    I made this twice last Christmas, and not only was it easy, it was so delicious. I call it Christmas crack. I am about to make more tonight!

  17. 5 stars
    Our office received some Enstrom Almond Toffee as one of the many corporate goodies that arrive over the holidays. I never tasted this type of almond toffee before and was super impressed. However, Enstrom isn't available in Canada. Undaunted I combed the interwebs looking for a recipe clone. After narrowing it down to only a few I started to research the differences of which there are few. The biggest difference seems to be in the addition of baking soda at the last minute (or not). My wife and I gave it a try and instantly made two double batches, much of which was shared as gifts. This is an absolutely amazing recipe and while I can't say whether its the best in the world or not, I have never tasted better! This has instantly become a Christmas tradition for our family. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Is this toffee soft and easy to chew or it it really brittle? I’m on the hunt for soft-ish toffee that doesn’t break your teeth or isn’t difficult to bite into. Thanks.  

  19. Tried this twice today. Utter failure. Mixture separated both times. I was left with browned butter and a grainy, congealed mess. I'm at a loss.

  20. I'm totally new to this forum so, hi y'all! Made this the other day. I consider myself a very good cook BUT I'm new to candy making. First batch was a disaster and after researching it I came to with what I did wrong: I used a stockpot instead of a sauce pan (I needed to use the ones you use to heat up canned soup on the stove), I used too high heat, my kitchen was too warm and humid (it's fall/winter time here in Michigan and I was running the dishwasher and washing dishes in my sink both). After making the needed changes and opening up a window, everything cooked up to PERFECTION the second time. I did NOT scrape any toffee from the sides or bottom of the pan; I simply used what poured out and I'm glad I did because what was left over and stuck in the pan was yucky in texture. I too was worried that my chocolate bar pieces were too large but they weren't AND I was concerned that my chocolate wouldn't set up unless I tempered it first. I did not temper it and it hardened up (woohoo!) BUT it took about 12 hours... Who cares as long as it "behaves"??? I did use a higher quality store dark chocolate. I also used roasted pecans that I roasted myself in a non stick skillet and cracked salted pretzels on top instead of nuts. I was originally debating to brown the butter, add vanilla or bourbon, etc but thought I'd make it as is written. I wouldn't change a thing to the recipe though. It's really that good. And it doesn't stick to teeth! This is a keeper! Thank you for sharing this with us!!!

  21. Hi again.. I wanted to add my notes about the texture since so many asked about it and I forgot in my earlier post. The texture is a semi-hard toffee. It is not chewy, doesn't stick to teeth and it is easy bite into. It's like a shelled Walnut or pecan in texture- hard but not jaw-breaker hard. I would have no problems giving this to my grandma who has full top and bottom dentures. (Maybe I'd skip the nuts for her sake tho). I'm thinking the baking soda perhaps keeps it from being hard, stick-to-your-teeth or like a hard kids' sucker that they get from banks?? It's a really good recipe.

  22. OMG made single batch exactly as written including only stirring twice. No problems, no separating, no burning. Perfer, fantastic, delicious. I will make multiple batches for the holidays and through the year. Don't forget the baking soda. It's essential to keeping the toffee just airy enough to not break a tooth.

    1. Thank you, Ruth, for your comment! I'm so glad this turned out so well for you! We think it's the best toffee too with the perfect texture from the baking soda! I use the same technique in my peanut brittle.

  23. Hey, Amy! This toffee is AWESOME, and deceptively simple to make. I've made a ton of peanut brittle, and since this recipe follows the same general guidelines, I had no trouble at all. Now that I've made it, I'm thinking of possible variations -- pecans (which were already suggested), toasted coconut, white chocolate chips, etc., etc., . . . The Christmas treat bags are going to be beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, and the story behind it. Being a staunch Democrat myself, and a book lover, Grandma Nash and I could have had some lively conversations right about now! What a lovely way to pay tribute to her memory. Again, thank you, and from my house to yours, wishes for a wonderful holiday season. *S*

    1. You are welcome! And thank you for your thoughtful comment! I love the idea of toasted coconut and white chocolate chips!

  24. This is the absolutely THR BEST TOFFEE! AI have been making this for customers for the last 2 years as Christmas gifts, and I get so many compliments about how they love it! I originally made this with almonds just as the recipe shows, which was still delicious, but personally I prefer pecans and decided to try using pecans instead and it was a huge hit!
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    1. You are so welcome! And I'm glad to hear you are enjoying it with almonds! I've made it with macadamia nuts and white chocolate and it's delicious that way as well!

    1. The baking soda lightens the texture ever so slightly so you don't break a tooth on the toffee. I do the same thing with my peanut brittle, but other recipes for toffee and brittle don't always include baking soda. It's my secret ingredient for perfect toffee!

    1. I always use salted butter and have never found it needed any additional salt. But that said, I love salted desserts and salted chocolate toffee sounds fabulous!

    2. Ohhhh!!  Maybe sprinkling some sea salt on the chocolate before it hardens. That might be very yummy. Maybe try on half just in case it isn’t. Haha

    1. By break, do you mean does it separate? Because it shouldn't. Make sure you are using a heavy pan, that your heat isn't too high (just medium heat is what you want), and then you stir it almost constantly until it reaches temperature.

  25. Made the toffee. Lord help!!! Absolutely scrumptious!!! And if you follow the directions not hard. Definitely sharing!!’

  26. I made this today and it was delicious. Next time I must remember to wear an oven mitt, lol. Both my husband and I loved it and he’s asked me to make the peanut brittle. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe it came out perfecto. 

  27. this was, THE BEST TOFFEE ever.  My husband grew up in Grand Junction, home of Enstrom's Toffee, and this tastes VERY similar.  I will make this again and again for sure.  I just reread the recipe and saw that you had doubled the chocolate -- surprisingly I think I would have preferred half as much chocolate, but that is how they do it at enstroms, very thin chocolate. Thanks for such great instructions.  I normally fail at candy making but my first batch of this was a huge success.

    1. I haven't tried Enstrom's but I'm so glad you enjoyed this toffee! Yes, by all means cut the chocolate back if you want it thinner with more focus on the toffee flavor!

  28. I made the toffee and it’s delicious but it’s soft and crumbly? It never got hard and crunch like usual English toffee (like Heath bar.) What do you think I did wrong?

  29. I made this toffee yesterday and it was delicious!  I used a cookie sheet but one batch wasn’t enough and my toffee was pretty thin. Do you use the entire baking sheet?  Seems like a silly question, sorry!

  30. I have a recipe vagaries is virtually identical to this, so I imagine that the taste will be similarly delicious! What I really appreciated are the thorough directions and the video. Now I know where my mistakes have been - not stirring frequently. I’d also just thrown my butter and sugar in together at one time before the butter had melted. Also, I didn’t let my chocolate melt before adding the almonds, which was something I’d been contemplating. I also didn’t have a candy thermometer, but my meat probe worked really well I thought. I’ll be buying a candy thermometer now. I can’t wait to try this version!