Christmas memories ~ Butter Crunch Toffee

Thumbing through recipes last week, I found a tried-and-true candy recipe I’ve carried with me for at least 25 years.  Shared by my first CT neighbor, Debbie, this is one of those candies that tastes like it came from a gourmet shop.  Except it’s not.

Image from

Image from

I met Debbie when I moved us to our teeny apartment on the second floor of a family home in an older, established neighborhood.  It was just my boy and me so we didn’t need much – in fact – we shared a bedroom.  A few doors down was their house – Debbie and Rick’s.  At the time, they had two large dogs in place of the kids that never arrived.  Rick looked like Santa Claus and could fix anything except their relationship.  Debbie, short and stocky, was a good friend and an avid reader — we shared books and she talked regularly of their struggles with infertility. Sometimes she cried about it, especially when holding my curly-haired giggling son.    Sadly, their marriage didn’t last and one day the house was sold – both moved on and we lost track of each other.  So when I read through my notes on how to make this candy, what comes to mind is kindness, big dogs, and unfulfilled dreams.

** Debbie’s Butter Crunch Toffee **

  • 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup crushed almonds for topping
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, no exceptions
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 lb melted semi-sweet chocolate
  • Candy Thermometer
  • ** Makes 2 lbs


  1. In a heavy saucepan cook the butter, sugar and water on medium-high heat.
  2. Cooking rapidly and stirring constantly this will gradually become thicker and caramel in color ~ cook steadily for about 10 minutes or until the mixture reaches the “hard crack” candy stage (300F).
  3. Stir slivered almonds into the caramel and pour onto the cookie sheet.
  4. Melt chocolate and spread over caramel.
  5. Note – (I usually melt the chocolate in double boiler – a small sauce pan sitting inside another saucepan of water set to medium hot — it will melt but not burn that way.  You can also microwave it).
  6. Before the chocolate topping hardens dust the entire mixture with finely crushed almonds.
  7. Let cool then break into pieces.
  8. Store in a covered container. Freezes well.


I live in the Great Lakes State and it is often too humid to make this — so don’t even attempt it on a humid day b/c you will have a dickens of a time getting the toffee to “set.”  I will make this when the temps drop again and it’s frigid and windy outside.    It’s also a perfect make-at-the-last-minute-bring-to-a-party-treat.   Thanks, Debbie.

What favorite recipe came to you in an unconventional way? Who comes to mind when you make it?



Categories: Animals, Friendship, Holidays, Joy, Personal, Recipes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Christmas memories ~ Butter Crunch Toffee

  1. I love this stuff but have never made it myself. I have this feeling that I would eat most of it myself. It’s nice that you have a memory attached to it even if it didn’t have a happy ending.

    • Hubbs loves it — I only make it every few Christmases b/c the temp has to be just right. They were nice people and I have fond memories of their kindness .. I wish I knew where they both ended up. MJ

  2. Ah, yes. Just like fudge and divinity. Since moving to Houston, I haven’t made either. Some years it’s 75 wtih 90% humidity, and on years when conditions are perfect weather-wise, I haven’t been inclined. Maybe this will be the year! The toffee’s one I’ve never tried, though we’ve done the toffee cookies with saltine crackers as a base. Scrumptious.

  3. Oh dear, I’m not sure our Gulf Coast area will help in the making, and it looks so good. Despite the move we’re about 120 miles from Galveston, still not dry enough. My mother laments she hasn’t made divinity since she moved here and I remember her making it when we were young. Maybe this is why Texans are so crazy about their pecan pie…yummy and gooey.

    • I only made it a few times in the 10 years we lived in Texas ~ but if you get the right kind of day you can do it. Divinity is something we had growing up but not since … and I think you’re on to something with the pecan pie & texture 🙂 MJ

  4. That looks delicious! We probably have too much humidity, too.

  5. When I was a young girl, at the end of one of my books (don’t remember which one), it had a “recipe” for English Toffee. I talked to my mother about making it, and she took out one of my father’s mother’s candy cookbooks for a real recipe. My grandmother used to make candy and sold a little on the side. Apparently, Butter Crunch was one of the candies she’d make. I made the toffee without the chocolate and nuts on top, a number of times. Later in my father’s life, he started to make candies: Butter Crunch and filled chocolates. So, when I saw your picture the first thing that came to me was my father and his Butter Crunch. Good memories.

  6. Thank you for sharing this recipe, MJ. I’m going to try to make it if I can find some time between now and Christmas. We love this stuff, and for the past few years, my son’s ex would always bring us a batch at Christmas time. Gotta learn to make my own now!

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