Christmas Cashew Toffee is the best toffee, cashews take it to a whole new wonderful level.
My husband, Craig, makes the best toffee in the whole world. Almond Roca doesn’t even come close nor anyone else’s. Although the recipe is from Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook (new meaning published in 1981 – it was a wedding gift), anyone can get it, there is just something different about his. I think it has something to do with the pot (an old pressure cooker – another wedding gift),a little bit with experience, and a lot with a talented, patient cook.
Here I will let him tell you about it in his own words.
Years ago I decided I wanted to make myself some toffee. OK yes, I was willing to share a bit. Toffee is one of my favorite candies and I was determined to learn how to make a good batch. I have to say, initial attempts were a bit inconsistent with bad thermometers and burning or under cooking.
As the years have passed and my skills improved, sharing our toffee has become part of our Christmas family traditions. In recent years, I have purchased some nice NordicWare cookie sheets (heavy duty and non stick surface) that don’t get used for anything other than toffee making.
This is a labor of love. Each batch takes about 25 minutes of fairly constant and increasingly vigorous stirring.
- Salted Butter – adds a nice buttery flavor to the toffee
- Granulated Sugar – keeps the toffee sweet and helps give it the crunchy texture once cooked
- Light Corn Syrup
- Salted Cashews – You can substitute your favorite nut, like almonds, pecans, etc, or even leave the nuts out if you choose
- Chocolate Chips – To give the mixture a nice chocolatey topping
How to make Cashew Toffee?
- Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium low heat, stirring it often to keep it from burning.
- Once the butter is melted, add in the sugar, corn syrup and water and stir together to make a gooey consistency.
- Raise the heat to medium or medium-high heat, and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon often until the temperature of the mixture reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a recipe you’ll need a candy thermometer for (unless you’ve made it hundreds of times like my dad has, then you may learn the colors and texture by sight).
- Once the temperature reaches 225 you will stir the toffee mixture constantly to keep it from burning on the bottom of the pot.
- Keep stirring as the temperature continues to rise. Your arms will probably feel like they are burning. The toffee will be a golden brown caramel color. You want to cook it until the candy thermometer reaches 290 F to 300 F. (You want it to reach the temperature for the hard crack stage, and the toffee will keep heating for a few minutes when you stir in the cashews.)
- Then remove the toffee from the heat, stir in the coarsely chopped cashews.
- Pour the mixture from the pan into a greased baking sheet with edges. You don’t want to scrape the bottom of the pot as the bottom may have burnt bits. Spread the mixture evenly over the cookie sheet all the way to the edges and corners.
- Let the toffee cool slightly, for 5 to 10 minutes. Then sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the surface of the toffee. Let the chocolate sit for a couple minutes as the heat of the toffee will help it to melt.
- Then spread the chocolate evenly over the top of the toffee.
- Sprinkle additional nuts over the chocolate if desired. Let the toffee sit until the chocolate is set, then break it into small pieces to serve.
Tips and Tricks:
- Line your pan with parchment paper or foil for easier clean up if desired.
- Try topping the toffee with white chocolate chips, or butterscotch chips instead of semi sweet chocolate
- Use the extra toffee crumb pieces, or break some of the pieces even smaller into to toffee bits and save for ice cream topping, or using on other desserts.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What makes toffee grainy?
Toffee can turn grainy when the mixture is heated too quickly. The sugar will crystalize on the sides of the pot and then gets stirred back into the toffee mixture, and created a grainy texture.
What is the difference between toffee and brittle?
Brittles usually are mostly sugar, with just a little bit of butter, making them sweeter. While toffee has a lot of butter, giving it a richer and more buttery taste. Brittle is usually thinner than toffee, and a bit more airy thanks to baking soda added in to add air bubbles. Where toffee is more crunchy.
How to store toffee?
Toffee can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, or wrapped up in ziplock bags, or cellophane bags for packaging up and delivering to friends and neighbors.
This homemade cashew toffee is a delicious homemade candy for the holiday season. It’s got a nice bit of snap, with a delicious crunchy, buttery sweet candy topped with creamy chocolate and crunchy cashews, it’s such a delicious
More Homemade Candy Recipes:
- Microwave Peanut Brittle
- Polar Bear Paws
- Chocolate Turtles
- Crockpot Candy
- Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge
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Christmas Cashew Toffee
- 1 lb butter (4 sticks)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 6 TBS water
- 1 1/2 cups cashews** (divided)
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- In a medium sized heavy saucepan melt the butter over low to medium heat stirring occasionally to keep from browning.
- While the butter is melting lightly butter a large 12 x 17 cookie sheet.
- Hang a candy thermometer on the inside of the pot while cooking, make sure it does not rest on the bottom of the pan.
- Once the butter is melted add the sugar, corn syrup, and water.Stir and mix to a sugary goo.
- Raise heat to medium or medium-high (the higher the heat the faster you need to be prepared to stir)
- Stir using a wooden or non heat-conducting spoon at a slow pace taking brief breaks until the temp is approximately 225 degrees. (The only reason for stirring slow is to save your energy for the latter stages)
- Above 225 degrees, stir constantly and progressively more quickly to minimize scorching. (The hotter the stove top, the more prone the mix is to burn)
- After the heat rises above 270 degrees watch carefully because it will begin to heat up more quickly.
- Toward the end, you will feel like both the toffee and your arms are burning. (20-30 minutes) By now you will have switched hands several times. You will want to stop. Keep going! Toward this end it will have turned a dark golden brown and may be smoking a bit.
- After the temperature passes 290 degrees, remove from heat, stir in the coarse nuts, and remove the thermometer. (A little burning on the bottom of the pan is normal. A lot of burning may not ruin it, but might add a slightly bitter taste making it more suitable to ice cream topping. Well yes, you can over cook and burn it if you try hard and don’t stir enough.)
- Pour entire mixture onto the cookie sheet, spreading evenly to the edges with the stirring spoon.
- After cooling slightly, (5-10 minutes) spread the chocolate chips evenly over the surface. Wait a few minutes to allow the chips to melt. (If you allowed it to cool too much a hair dryer can assist in melting the chips.) Avoid smearing the chips all the way to the edge of the pan to simplify cleaning.
- Once the chocolate is spread, sprinkle the finely chopped nuts across the surface. (Optionally, press surface with a clean dry hand to assure nuts are stuck tight.)
Enjoy this delicious toffee Christmas treat!