Susan Lowell's Toffee

Susan Lowell's Toffee
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Recipe for Susan Lowell's Toffee. Beware! Toffee makes people pursue you until the toffee vanishes, and then they will want the recipe.


  • 1 pound butter (salted)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup almonds (slivered, sliced, or whole; either blanched or unblanched)
  • water as necessary
  • 8 ounces chocolate (milk chocolate bars, semisweet, or finest bittersweet)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, very finely chopped


  1. Makes about 2 1/2 Pounds
  2. Set out a 10 x 15-inch nonstick baking sheet or an equivalent sheet of aluminum foil on a heatproof surface.
  3. In a large, heavy saucepan (at least 4-quart) over medium heat, bring the butter to the boiling point. Add the sugar, stirring with a long-handled wooden or heatproof spoon, until this mixture begins to boil. Then add the almonds, bring the candy to a boil again, and continue to boil and stir over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or more. If possible, recruit someone to help you stir.
  4. Very often during the cooking process several tablespoons of butter, or even more, will separate from the candy and float on top. When this happens, add 2-4 tablespoons of water and stir, being careful of the steam, which is extremely hot. The water will force the candy to re-absorb the butter, although it will lower the temperature and slow down the cooking. You may have to repeat this process several times, but by the time the toffee is done the butter will stop separating.
  5. Gradually the candy will turn from pale yellow to medium golden brown. After 12 minutes, begin to test it by spreading out a tablespoonful with a metal spoon as thinly as possible on a cool plate. Remove the pot from the heat while you are testing, or the toffee may burn. Before the candy is ready, the texture will appear sugary and soft; then it will grow harder and browner, and finally it will become crisp. Key signs of doneness: the almonds are thoroughly toasted, the color is a mellow brown, and the texture is smooth, appearing almost melted. When it is stirred vigorously, the toffee will clump into a heavy wreath. And a spoonful will spread very thin and crunch when bitten.
  6. As soon as it is done, immediately pour the toffee out onto the baking sheet, and spread it to an even thickness, if necessary. Be careful not to burn yourself.
  7. Unwrap the chocolate, break it into squares, and distribute them evenly over the hot candy. Within a few minutes they will melt. Spread the chocolate to cover the top of the toffee, and sprinkle it evenly with chopped pecans. Allow it to cool for several hours or overnight. When the chocolate is set and the toffee is thoroughly cool, break it into bite-sized pieces and store it in an airtight container.
  8. Note: To clean the saucepan and spoon, fill pan with hot, soapy water and let them soak. The candy will rapidly melt away.