how to: make homemade toffee.

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I make homemade toffee for Christmas every year. I give it to friends, neighbors, family, and the mailman. No seriously I do, he’s the nicest guy ever.

Sometimes I wish I’d never started this tradition because my kids won’t let me stop.

It’s not that making toffee is complicated {it’s not} but that I make batches and batches and batches of it, until my house smells of nothing but butter and we’re eating toffee for breakfast. But it’s as much a part of Christmas as our Polish Christmas Eve dinner, and my kids look forward to it all year, so I’ll continue to make it {and secretly love it} as long as I can.

Here’s what it takes:

It’s basically butter and sugar, which is why it tastes so good. And the vanilla is totally optional, {much like it is in my homemade sugar scrub} but yummy to add anyway.

For one batch, which fills up a cookie sheet, you will need:

7/8 lb of butter {3 sticks, oh yes}
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon of salt
dash of vanilla {optional, but I love everything a little more with vanilla}

Also, have a greased cookie sheet at the ready, the second you finish the toffee you’ll be pouring it onto the sheet.

Melt the first stick of butter in a pan over low/medium heat. We’re not trying to boil anything yet, just melting.

Don’t be alarmed by the fact that my 5-year-old is manning a stove by himself while I snap photos. There’s no need to call child services, we’re busy making memories here.

He’s doing a good job of melting the butter, anyway he’s an expert at toffee making.

Once you’ve melted the first stick completely {no boiling yet} add the remaining two sticks of butter to the pan.

They’ll melt like buttah.

I slay myself.

Now you have a pan full of melted butter, it’s time to turn up the heat and add some sugar.

Add one cup of sugar, stirring quickly as you do. You can never, ever stop stirring while you’re making toffee, it’s the law. You will burn almost a pound of butter and that’s a total waste.

Not that I have ever burned an entire batch of toffee before and had to dump the whole thing in the trash, and scour the pan, and take out the trash before the whole house knew what had happened. That’s never happened to me.

Stir in the second cup of sugar and it will look like this butter/sugar paste; I’m afraid it’s not a very scientific process at my house, I just do it by sight.

Now turn up the heat to medium/high because you need to get this butter bubbling.

Boil the butter until it gets all bubbly and foamy.

Now add the corn syrup, stirring all the while.

While we’re making toffee the kids sing-song,

*keep on stirring, keep on stirring*

to the tune of the song Dory sings in Finding Nemo. Remember that part? It’s pretty cute.

Don’t be alarmed but this is the part where the toffee looks wrong. I can’t explain it but it just looks, I don’t know, like something in an anatomy lab instead of a kitchen. Stay calm, it gets better.

Just keep stirring, just keep stirring.

Now it will start to brown up a bit, looking more like toffee.

See the little bubbles? That’s a good thing, you want it to keep boiling on lowish heat until it’s the right color of brown and is a silky consistency.

Now take the pan off the heat {we have a gas stove so I just turn it off} and add the salt.

Stir that in really well. Keep in mind that toffee is finicky, you can’t let it cook even a second too long before you pour it onto the cookie sheet.

The pan is still really hot so it’s technically still cooking. Hurry and pour it, hurry!

Now spread it out with a wooden spoon. It’s going to harden really fast so you’ve got to be quick about it.

Give it a few seconds to cool and then score it with the wooden spoon, or slat, or whatever you have on hand. This will make it easier to break into manageable pieces later.

Don’t skip this step.

This is what it should look like as it’s cooling.

I pulled a piece out to taste and Charming snitched a piece while I pressed the shutter. Sneaky little bugger.

Once the toffee has cooled take a spatula and scrape it off the pan. It should come off in the pieces because you were clever enough to score it before it cooled!

I put all the bigger pieces on a plate because I h
ave to re-use the pans, as my kitchen is a toffee factory for days on end.
Doesn’t it look pretty?

There will be casualties in every batch, but don’t even think of throwing them away, you can add little pieces of broken-up toffee to batches of chocolate chip cookies well after the holidays are over.


Now put several big pieces of toffee in a cellophane bag, add a ribbon and a tag and deliver to your neighbors.


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Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Donna :

    Yummy! Hope I get some!

  2. Carol :

    Mmm, your toffee looks good and easy. I'll have to give it a try! Great tutorial! Thanks! Stop by and visit sometime!

  3. Petit Elefant :


    I'll make another batch, just for you.


    You have to try it, you'll love it!

  4. SLCFoodie :

    I love toffee! This is a perfect gift. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. Camille :

    I'm sorry, but every time I hear about toffee at Christmastime, I revert back to the film "Nora's Christmas Gift" where the lady goes blind and ends up dumping a bottle of salt in her toffee, then throws a fit and doesn't want to go watch the MoTab concert. Ever seen it? It may have been before your time. :)
    I'm sure yours tastes so much better than hers!

  6. Petit Elefant :

    Vintage Mixer,

    It is good, you have to make some and tell me how it goes.


    Sadly, I haven't seen it. But if I dumped too much salt in, it wouldn't be that much different than when I burned a whole batch. Awful.

  7. Naomi :

    Totally going to have to get MY five year old to work on this… mmm!

  8. Petit Elefant :


    Mine has been helping me with batches all day long, it's perfect for keeping the monkeys happy.


    I know, I'm gaining about 5 lbs just making it. No worries about your teeth though, it's hard as a rock!

  9. melissa :

    You saved my neighbors! I made cookies for them last week, but something in them was rancid.

    And…I can now say I've made candy. So easy with your fun directions! (It's been on my bucket list.)


  10. Petit Elefant :


    You're so sweet! I'm so happy the instructions were easy to follow, I hope your neighbors are happy.

  11. MostlyFlumxd :

    Thank you for this post- I just gained 5 pounds reading it and my teeth are stuck together! Looks yummY!

  12. The Breeders Digest :

    We make homemade caramels which is just as tricky — that delicate butter/sugar/boiling point trinity is nerve-wracking! We'll have to try toffee!

  13. Petit Elefant :


    Oh it is yummers, my bum is getting bigger just making it.


    It is tricky! I had no idea how hard it would be, but it's down to the second isn't it?

  14. Marie {Make and Takes} :

    Delish! I also make an English toffee that has a chocolate topping, yum!

  15. Petit Elefant :


    I did that one time, but it took too much time! I need to do it again because the combination is YUM CITY.

  16. noreen :

    we love making toffee to, we uauslly add chocolate on top. I just want to clarify your recipe you list 3 stick of butter which is 3/4 of a lbs of butter but you list 7/8. I am thinking you meant 3/4 (of 6/8)
    The recipe I use is similar but no cornsyrup and makes a much smaller batch.
    A hint would be to butter tinfoil in your pan which really helps get the candy out, I will have to try the scoring of the toffee before it cools if we make a batch without chocolate. We made a batch for Daddy on Father's day and they added sprinkles, not the yummiest but they would so proud.

  17. Petit Elefant :


    Yep 7/8, 3/4, it's all the same. Too much butter! The tinfoil trick is definitely something I'll have to try next year, thanks!

  18. londonfoggirl :

    holy smokes that looks good!!!! YUM!

  19. florence :

    Love toffee and use it to ass a yummy crunch to all sorts of fruit deserts in the summer.

    Fresh peaches, vanilla yogurt, with a sprinkle of toffee is the bomb!! mostly healthy with a luscious topping..