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Classic Milk (or Dark) Chocolate Toffee


This recipe comes from my friend Laura Daley, whose recipe won The Philadelphia Bulletin’s holiday baking contest in 2007. 

Laura’s notes: This recipe makes a great holiday gift for those with a sweet tooth! It keeps up to 2 weeks if you put it in an airtight container.

Chocolate: I’ve used both semi-sweet (46% cacao) and dark chocolate (74% cacao), and I like both. Obviously, when semi-sweet chocolate is used, the toffee comes out sweeter. 

Pan Size: You can also use a 9×13-inch pan if you’d prefer a thinner version — in which case increase nuts to 1 cup.


  • butter for greasing
  • 2/3 cup (72 g) ground pecans (or nut of your choice)
  • 1 cup (226 g) salted butter
  • 1 cup (218 g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (140 g) premium milk chocolate or dark chocolate, see notes above
  • Sea salt, optional


  1. Grease a 9×9-inch pan. Put 1/3 cup of the nuts in the pan.
  2. Cook butter, sugar, water, and vanilla over medium heat stirring occasionally until golden brown — you want the sugar to get just past the hard-ball stage or until it reaches: 285º – 290ºF (140 – 143ºC). You can use a candy thermometer or better a Thermapen to test for this stage or you can drop a small spoonful of the cooked sugar into a glass of cold water. If the syrup forms a ball, the sugar is in the hard-ball stage. 
  3. Pour the cooked butter/sugar mixture over the nuts.
  4. Wait 2 minutes; then put the chocolate on top. Wait 2 more minutes; then spread the chocolate evenly over top — I use the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt if you wish. Transfer the pan to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. 
  5. When the toffee has completely cooled, break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Candy
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: toffee, milk, chocolate, hard-ball stage