coffee toffee

I seem to be on a bit of a coffee kick these days — Exhibit A being Alex’s Espresso Chiffon birthday cake with Fudge Frosting and Exhibit B being Thanksgiving’s ridiculous Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake. I’m sure that’s it just coincidence that the coffee kick began just as the number of hours I slept each night decreased, which also coincided with me getting weepy with joy when I wrapped my fingers around my first coffee of the day each morning afternoon. Amazing how you can drink something your whole life but it then all of the sudden one day it becomes a transcendent experience, you know?

hazelnutsbutter, sugars, salt, espresso, chocolatecoffee toffeehalf-melted chocolate

Nevertheless my fascination with the intersection of coffee and toffee goes back much longer than that, at least as far as the Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies I made two years ago, and realized that the only thing that could make it more delicious would be to use a chocolate that had toffee bits in it. When Alex brought home Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch this week, I was again reminded of this amazing thing that happens when the buttery, tangy caramelized flavor of toffee contrasts the bitter edginess of espresso, and decided at once to combine the two in one espresso-soaked candy.

spreading the chocolatehazelnutting the toffeesettingcoffee toffee

Three batches later I can confidently declare that I remain as unskilled in the candy-making department as ever but that if I can pull this off, surely anyone with a candy thermometer can. Er, should you choose to read it, which I failed to do in the first batch, which was burnt — details. But even burnt, I loved the bitter coffee flavor, so unexpected when you’re eating something that is essentially cooked sugar. Batch two was a success that I failed to photograph and by batch three, I am surely an expert so trust me when I say that it is good, very very good. Like first cup of coffee in the morning good, salty buttery caramel good, homemade candy gifted in cellophane bags good… or you know, cotton onesie sleeve good, you know, whatever floats your boat.

sleeves are tasty mm, delicious sleeve

Coffee, previously: Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake, Espresso Chiffon Cake with Fudge Frosting, Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies and Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Toffee, previously: Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers) and Chocolate Toffee Cookies

One year ago: Feta Salsa
Two years ago: Pear Crisps with Vanilla Brown Butter
Three year ago: Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula

Coffee Toffee

Yes, with the molasses again. After discovering how it brings out all coffee’s awesomeness in baked goods, I had to add it to this one too. Of course, if you don’t trust me that it only adds a subtle bitter tinge or are molasses-averse there are alternatives but we really liked it. And also the espresso — if a piece of candy could ever taste like a cup of coffee, this would be it.

1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses (can swap corn syrup or honey)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, or 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (toasted, skinned and cooled) or another nut of your choice

Line a small baking sheet (mine are 9×13, to fit in my puny oven) with parchment paper or a silicon mat and set aside.

In medium heavy saucepan (I used a 3-quart) with a candy thermometer attached, melt butter, brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, salt and espresso together over together. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk (one that reaches into the corners is especially helpful here) until the temperature approaches 250¯F, at which point you should stir constantly until it reaches 300¯F.

Pour immediately into the prepared baking sheet — you can spread it more evenly with a offset or silicon spatula but don’t worry if you have neither. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and let them sit for a minute until soft, then spread the chocolate evenly over the candy base. Sprinkle the chocolate with chopped hazelnuts and then, if you’re as impatient as we are, you can slide the sheet onto a cooling rack in the freezer until the toffee is set.

Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. If you’re kitchen runs warm, you might prefer to keep it in the fridge so the chocolate doesn’t get soft.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

331 comments on coffee toffee

  1. Oh, these look awesome. However, I’m still ambivalent about toffee and eating sugar as is in general… But I sure will make those good looking espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies!
    Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to eat your coffee if you don’t get to drink it soon enough. I used to fantasize about drinking coffee before changing the day’s first poopy diaper… Now I no longer think about it. I know there’s no chance it is going to happen. Cheers to coffee cookies!!!!

  2. Christie

    It looks fantastic. Must-make for my big brothers! How long with this last? I’m considering mailing some to my brother in Afghanistan.

  3. Carole

    Hmm. Coffee I do not like. Toffee I love. But it would make a good gift for those people in my life who do like coffee, which is basically everybody.

  4. Elizabeth

    This looks delicious, I’m definitely going to give this one a go. Every couple of Christmases, I decide that I’m going to give everyone brittle and this looks like an awesome improvement on the (very basic) recipe I use. I especially like your idea about just plonking the chocolate chips on top and smoothing them once they soften. Brilliant!

    Also brilliant – the utter cuteness of that baby of yours :)

  5. Lynne

    Totally my type of candy. Now that’s a dessert I could wake up to on Christmas day. Doesn’t it just sound lovely, OJ, eggs and toffee. I’m a very bad influence on my son, I fear :)

  6. I went through a detox where I couldn’t drink coffee and for six months I was coffee free…until I had my first cup a little over a month ago. Now I go to sleep dreaming about the next mornings cup. Is that weird?

    I think that tip about molasses bringing out the flavor in coffee is really valuable. I’m going to use it the next time I make this coffee almond souffle I like to do around the holidays.

  7. Hi, Deb. I made toffee for the first time last week, and it was wonderful. Do you happen to know if toffee recipes in general can be doubled without incident? Or do ingredient ratios need to be adjusted for larger quantities? Many thanks.

  8. Kell

    I love toffee! Heath bars are my favorite candy, and Im sure this will be better. Going to try it for the holidays, will make great gifts. Thanks and gosh Jacob is getting big!

  9. annie

    Oh, looks so good, but candy, I’ve never tried. I would love to make this for hoiday gifts, so I’ll put my big girl pants on and give it a go! Your boy is just divine! Thanks for all the great recipes. This site was the first food blog I’d ever visited, around two years ago and I still think you’re the best!

  10. mmm that sounds really good! I like the addition of molasses. I didn’t know that helps bring more of the chocolate flavor out. Thanks for sharing, I am definitely making this for Christmas.

  11. Tara

    Deb, your blog, with its adorable baby pictures and delicious recipes, simply makes my exam-stressed life so, so much better. Thanks so much for that :)

  12. ML

    OOOH my waistline curses you! I am a total sucker for toffee.

    Since your little one doesn’t appreciate the good food surrounding him, can I move in instead? Cotton onesies are lovely, but I’m not really a sleeve gal. :P

  13. Chaitali

    I would love to have a bunch of these right now..the finals are kicking my butt. A batch of caramely-coffeey-chocolatey goodness would really help.
    Where are moms when you need them the most!

  14. Me+My Coffee+Baby+Her Milk+The Today Show at 7 am = THE BEST PART OF THE FLIPPIN’ DAY. May consider adding this toffee to the morning ritual to sweeten the deal.

    And can we make a law to somehow punish people who say “ex-presso”?!

  15. Oh man, I love homemade toffee anyway, but to add coffee to it?!? I’m definitely making this for Christmas.

    That baby boy looks pretty edible too. :)

  16. That sounds incredible. I love love love toffee and coffee, I can only imagine how amazing the two will be together. I’m definitely going to make this for the holiday cookie boxes. Thank you for sharing!

  17. amanda

    oooooooh, this looks awesome. I usually make toffee to give away, I may have to add a batch of this to change things up this year. Thanks Deb! BTW the more pictures I see of your little munchkin the louder my clock ticks…

  18. This sounds great. I make mine with just sugar and butter with the layer of melted chocolate chips for a toffee candy bar type flavor. I’ll have to add the coffee, brown sugar, and sourghum (don’t have molasses but I think this would work better than honey!)

    By the way, the kiddo’s getting so big and so handsome! Amazing at how fast they grow at that age!

  19. My husband bought me an espresso machine after our daughter was born, and to this day it’s the best present I’ve ever received. I would count the minutes until she went down for her first nap and I could make my first cappuccino of the morning.

    When I went to college in Madison, WI, there was a guy who sold handmade coffee toffee at the farmers’ market, which I liked to splurge on if I had some extra cash. I can’t wait to try making it myself now.

  20. I love seeing your son in the bold stripes. They are my weakness, and I have been collecting a ridiculous number of banded outfits for my new nephew.
    We had our first measurable snow in southern Vermont last night, and the world seems quite candy coated. Your post is both timely and tempting!

  21. Leighann

    I just had to giggle and think to myself “not enough caffeine before posting” when I caught a couple of goofs.
    “In medium heavy saucepan (I used a 3-quart) with a candy thermometer attached, melt butter, brown sugar, molasses, salt and espresso together over together.”
    “If you’re kitchen runs warm”
    Although, if I had a newborn to care for, I probably wouldn’t have the time to post at all, so who am I to talk! :)
    Lovely recipe, will make and share immediately!

  22. Susan

    For those of us (cough) with tender teeth, I bet this could be poured over matzos and made in a sheet pan…aka your” toffee crack” candy. Ya think?

    1. deb

      Susan — Of course. The toffee proportions are the same, you’d just need to add the crackers.

      Hayley — I suggested that you use either honey or corn syrup if you don’t wish to use or can’t use molasses. Any invert or syrupy sugar can be used. If you’ve got one available that’s slightly more bitter, use that.

  23. Sarah

    Looks fantastic, and I definitely will be making it — it seems like a kissin’ cousin of the matzoh crack(ers) of a few months ago, and those were heaven on earth, the balance of salt+sweet+bitter is just fantastic. I think the salt may have been omitted, but I’m going to add it on top, after the hazelnuts. Beautiful!

    To Hayley: can you find treacle where you are? I’d use dark treacle in place of molasses.

  24. Oh my! Lovely candy! I just wrote a post this week about making candy. It is so difficult to make, but your toffee looks great. I love the way you did your photos. This is one of my favorite sites. Thanks!

  25. That looks and sounds wonderful and I love that you say it’s an easy candy experience. But I have a deep-rooted fear of anything that requires me to use a candy thermometer. In trying to make homemade marshmallows a few years ago, I ended up with a sticky, dense caramel colored mess that tasted like burnt … cardboard. Is this easier than homemade marshmallows?

  26. Many years, during the holiday season, I make toffee and send it as gifts–this year my son has been begging already for the toffee making to begin–I think we must try this version!!!

  27. I had already decided that I MUST make a toffee this season, and then you totally blow my mind with the addition of coffee. Amazing. This sounds addictive. I will definitely need a plan to give this away ASAP after making, or I’ll eat it all.

  28. t

    You know, I love your site for the recipes, but the new feature of baby pictures at the end of a post never fails to make me giggle. Something about the process of content … critique … recipe … wrap up … BABY! gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  29. Liz C.

    Oh Deb, why did you have to post a toffee recipe three days after I got braces?? No toffee for me for the next 18 months!! And I love toffee. *sigh*

  30. Heidi

    Deb, I think the white sugar is missing from the instructions. I realized this as my toffee mixture was already at about 250 degrees and just dumped it in then – which doesn’t seem to have done any harm although my toffee’s still chilling in the freezer so it hasn’t been tasted yet. Otherwise, super quick and easy recipe, and it looks delicious – I’m waiting impatiently for it to set!

  31. Oh – perfect timing Deb! My mom makes awesome english toffee every year during the holidays and was just about to make her version … sorry Mom, but I am going to have to try this coffee toffee instead.

  32. kit

    is there much difference between instant coffee powder and instant espresso powder? i have the new via ready brew from starbucks and was wondering if i could use that

    1. deb

      DK, Kit — I think any instant coffee will do. I mean, the better it is, the better it will taste… I bet the Via stuff would work fine.

      To de-coffee this, just make regular toffee — Skip the espresso powder, use corn syrup instead of molasses. Without those two things, it’s a classic toffee recipe, with a little extra salt.

      Heidi — D’oh! Will fix right now. You add it with everything else.

  33. jc

    Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch is my favorite ice cream! My husband thinks it’s vile, which means more for me!

    I am going to add this to my holiday baking list.

    Any brand recommendations on a candy thermometer? Any direction would be appreciated.

  34. Symphonic Chef

    wow- that would make a gorgeous holiday gift, packed in pretty tins. Thanks, Deb… you have a knack for giving me just the idea i need, just when i need it!

    Also, I coo regularly when i read SK.

  35. Irene

    Deb – ice cream flavor alert!!! Found some Haagen Dazs Reserve in the grocery store: Fleur de Sel Caramel, a caramel ice cream with Fleur de Sel caramels in a chocolaty coating and caramel ribbons and French sea salt accents. It is soooo
    good, it makes me cry. Heaven on a spoon!

  36. Lana

    I just finished making these and they came out exceptional! The recipe went smoothly and exactly as it is supposed to. One tip: after making the toffee and pouring it in the pan, take the toffee sauce pan and immediately fill it with water and put it back on the stove over medium heat. This melts and dissolves the toffee and makes for an easy clean-up! Thanks for the great recipes, Deb!

  37. The recipe looks great, but I would like to comment on is your gorgeous photos! So crisp and colorful, they really pop and make the toffee look soo amazingly scrumptious!

  38. Grace

    Looks awesome. I have never made candy before (I do love to bake)…but I may just have to try this.

    btw, have you tried coffee flavored Patron tequila? I LOVE it! Delish!

  39. Nan

    I check in daily to see what wonderful thing you’ve concocted…but I’m also always hoping to catch a glimpse of the babe – he is just growing so fast and I’m still awed by all of his hair! He is such a cutie…and not nearly as fattening at the toffee!

  40. Nell

    This type of toffee is one of my favorite holiday gifts- I’m excited to add the touch of coffee. And I have made it quite successfully in the microwave in a 4 cup Pyrex, which does away with the stovetop stirring and splatter!

  41. I love coffee and drink it everyday (decaf though, does it count?). I love it in dessert (like coffee eclair?) I do drink my coffee with dark chocolate… and I really like the combo…but I can’t get myself to making candy. Too much sugar already in desserts to make candies… and too many artificial-corn syrup-loaded (molasses even?) left over from Halloween to add on my children’ plate. Will look into the espresso shortbreads instead.
    PS : If you want tighter bodies for your son, I highly recommend the Petit Bateau brand. A little bit expensive but really worth the investment because you can definitively use them on more than one child!

  42. Kirsten

    I made this recipe this afternoon– it’s delicious. I wasn’t sure if I had cooked the toffee too long because I was using a meat thermometer to get to 300 degrees…apparently you can make this even if you don’t own a candy thermometer! I was worried I let it get too dark, but I think it’s just the slight bitterness of the molasses and espresso powder coming through (both good things)– which also makes it a slightly forgiving candy recipe. I’m stuffing my family’s stockings with this and your salted caramel sauce this year. Thank you!

  43. OMG, I love toffee anything. This sounds divine. Almost as divine as your photos of “the monkey”. He’s just getting cuter and smoochier by the day.( Is that possible???) Let him chew his sleeve, he’s just trying to stave off the hunger till he can gnaw some toffee!!

  44. Yeah!! I just bought a candy thermometer yesterday….I know, that is so weird I didn’t have one…anyway, this is perfect timing!! I’m so excited….and goodness is that bambino cute!! ~CA

  45. Nicole

    This recipe completely inspired me to try my hand at toffee making tonight. It went perfectly and tastes divine! Soooo much better than that awful almond roca crap. I think I’ll make a big batch of it to include on my christmas cookie platters I give to my friends and neighbors this year!

  46. These look perfect for me! So delicious!

    Oh, and I had an idea that would be a super quick dessert fix (ok, maybe not super quick). Your peanut butter cake has the best frosting, but pump up the peanut butter a bit and add some milk and you have a perfect quick no-bake pie filling with a bit of chocolate chips or some chocolate pudding. I made a peanut butter pie yesterday, but I think it would have been even better if it more closely matched that frosting.

  47. This year I was already not looking forward to making peppermint bark (because its actually too easy and its all over the stores on sale). Looks like I have an alternative…and it’s fun to say “coffee toffee”…

    Super cute baby pics! Everything must taste better in your apartment :)

  48. Lisa B

    OH MY! Toffee is my favorite treat of all treats. My husband isn’t such a fan, but I bet he will be with coffee added!

    (PS…made your altered Stout/Guinness Chocolate Cake for a dinner last night that included all Irish Pub Fare and it was a HUGE hit! Course, I knew that because I’ve made it before.) :o)

  49. Everything looks delicious: toffee AND baby! I have a long-standing association of toffee and Christmas–my mother used to (and still does) make batches of it to give out as tokens of thoughtfulness to neighbors and folks who were part of our life but not in the “gift circle.” I will have to try this version, which looks amazing and I’m sure tastes even more so!

    Love that baby. I just want to hold him in the worst way.

  50. E

    Those look so good. I have wanted to make my own toffee for years. Who knows why I haven’t yet. But now with your recipe, I will give it a try.

  51. Shelley

    Deb, have you tried doubling this? My favorite toffee recipe is a one-pound butter, two-cup sugar recipe; I wonder if this acts differently such that a single is better?

    1. deb

      The standard toffee proportion is usually 1 cup butter to 1 cup sugar, either brown, white or a mixture thereof, which your recipe follows too. No reason you cannot scale this to make a larger batch. You can do it on one regular baking sheet or two small ones.

  52. Jessica

    Such timing! I’m going out this week with a boy who has expressed his love for toffee. I’m totally smuggling a packet of these into the movie :)

  53. Nancy from PA

    This sounds truly decadent. Last Christmas, your pepita brittle was my give-away. This will be the gift from my kitchen this season. A caffeine and chocolate fix in one!

    A few years back, after a protracted surgical procedure, I lost the ability to taste or smell roasted food items. Imagine not being able to smell coffee and grilled meats or taste dark chocolate! I was devastated, to say the least, as one who simply loves my coffee and chocolate. Then, one morning about 8 months after the surgery, I awoke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee! It smelled so wonderful, I began to weep!

    Your son is beautiful! I can’t get enough of the photos. It’s mesmerizing how he gazes directly into the camera lens. He will be a famous movie actor someday.

  54. Sickly delicious. My love for coffee knows no bounds. It happens when Grandma gives it to you at the age of 2. My husband is a toffee lover. Perhaps you’ve found the perfect candy for us.

  55. Stephanie

    I LOVE your site,recipes, and photos. However, when I print out your recipes, I often times have to use several pieces of paper because your beautiful photos take up half of the first page. Is there a way to print your recipe using the text only?

  56. jill

    my mouth is watering. Dumb question. I always avoid recipes that call for ‘instant espresso powder’ because I can never ever find it. Is this something you buy in the grocery store near the instant coffee? Or regular, *good* espresso that is ground more finely?

  57. Jessica

    Deb: Can you give any tips on skinning the hazelnuts, by chance? I tried it recently and failed stupendously. In that recipe, it only mattered so much, but this one I feel like I’d really like to get it right. Thank you!

    1. deb

      Jessica — Yes, I often find it to be a thankless task. This time, I toasted them a bit longer than the standard 10 minutes @300/350, rolling them around in the pan frequently, and the skins came off much better. Almost 100%, so I am wondering if that is the trick for future endeavors.

      Jill — Yes! It is annoying to find for me too. I often find it not by the coffee, but in the baking aisle of stores, even by the spices and sugars. Hope that helps.

      Shania — Are you using the print template? If not, it’s the, er, “Print” link at the bottom of each post, before the comments begin. It does include a big top photo, however. Is that pushing the template to too many pages (say, more than 2)?

      LKP — I am sure it would work. (I am honestly unfamiliar with it, but I know that any syrupy sugar should do the trick.) But keep in mind that you cannot really taste the molasses, they more pull the coffee and toffee in a different direction, more depth, slight bitterness.

  58. beth

    This would make a lovely partner to the fleur de sel caramels I was planning for those “obligatory relative gifts” (my husband’s second cousins, etc.) instead of the usual bottle of wine. I’m afraid the ones I bought “real” gifts for might complain!

  59. OH MY GOODNESS! I just made this wonderful delicacy and I am in heaven!! How am I not to eat the whole pan myself???!!!! I made it exactly as you suggested and this stuff is incredible! I must make more to share…don’t know if this batch will get past my hubby! Thanks for sharing!

  60. Kat

    Holy Heck this stuff is fantastic! I’ve never made toffee before, but this was really easy. It was also jet fast, like less than 15 minutes from start to eat. I used the finest setting on my burr grinder to grind some “high-octane” coffee beans, and upped the espresso quantity to about one tablespoon. It’s in the single digits here, so I put the tray outside and it was brittle in about four minutes.
    I’m going back to the kitchen to get more. I Love It.

  61. Jess B

    I don’t have any powdered coffee or espresso, but I do have a mini espresso maker. Does anyone have any ideas about whether it’s a good idea or not to sub real liquid espresso for the power? And how much to use?

  62. Jil

    Ahh these look aamazzzing! It might be time to start baking for the holidays! What a perfect gift! I’m a toffee freak…and toffee + coffee = win/win!!

  63. Pink Cookie

    I must admit that I can’t resist checking out your blog so that I can take a peak at your beautiful baby boy. I look forward to seeing his sweet face even more that the sweet food. Thanks. Happy Holidays.

  64. Liz D

    I was planning on making toffee anyway so I am sold! I just may have to make both original flavor and this one so that I can compare.

  65. Cathy

    I made the toffee yesterday afternoon with candy thermometer and all. Mine did not seem to have the crack and shine that in my mind I associate with toffee. It was a little dull in appearance and broke apart too easily. Maybe I am thinking of brittle and not toffee? Any thoughts?

    1. deb

      Cathy — You might be thinking of brittle. Toffee is rarely so shiny.

      Cybercita — I was hoping someone else would chime in. I am not particularly knowledgeable about the different kinds of molasses nor do I notice much of a difference between them; I just use whatever I have on hand. I often have a jar of Grandma’s in my cabinet but right now I am using Plantation Blackstrap Unsulphured.

      Em — I’d expect them to keep a couple weeks in the fridge. Possibly longer in the freezer.

  66. Em

    How long do you think these would keep? i think they would be perfect as a gift but how in advance can i make them?

    that is of course depending on the fact that i won’t eat them all myself and will be able to manage toffee (i’ve attempted fudge 3 times over the last 3 years and failed each time!)

  67. skd

    Deb — on the whole molasses unavailability thing, I’m from Canada but have lots of British relatives, including a scottish mother. What the Brits know as treacle is what we call molasses, and I’m guessing it’s the same in Australia. This might help Rachel in the recent Pear Gingerbread upside down cake as well as Hayley (and maybe LKP?) in this one. So basically it’s the same thing, no need to use another type of syrup (unless of course you’re a molasses/treacle hater).

  68. Christie

    Hey, these look so good, I want to mail them to a certain Afghanistan war vet I know! It takes about 3 weeks to mail something to Afghanistan. Deb, do you think that they could possibly last that long? Please answer soon! :)

  69. Nicole

    I feel like the witch from Hansel and Gretel. Not only because this coffee toffee looks delectable and is exactly what I pictured the witch’s roof to look like but also because your baby is so scrumptious looking I might eat him as well!

  70. JC

    Christie —

    I think that the chocolate might melt on the Afghanistan leg of the trip to your war vet. I have no knowledge of their weather right now, but my mind is trained to think Afghanistan = HOT. If I am completely off the mark and the weather is temperate, pack them well to avoid breakage and GO FOR IT! You’ll be a hit. You’ll also have one homesick soldier on your hands.

  71. Shams

    Made this last night! the first batch was beautiful, but burnt to the point of not being edible… it right with the second batch though.

  72. The new Via coffee powder that Starbucks is touting as “not-instant instant” works really well in recipes and is found wherever there’s a Starbucks. Which is pretty much every corner these days. I also find it handy that it comes in three small packs — keeps it fresh between uses since I don’t actually use it to make coffee.

  73. bekahjones

    Deb, I just made this and have a couple of questions. I was using a digital candy thermometer and the temperature fluctuated quite a bit. After it reached 250, it would go between 260 to 270 back down to 240. The heat was constant i.e. I didn’t turn it up or down. Is this normal? Also, it isn’t completely cooled yet, but the little bits I’ve tasted taste a bit bitter. Is that the coffee? Or did I cook it too long. Mine looks quite a bit darker than your pictures. I did take it off the heat when it hit 300. Thanks!

  74. These were so easy to make and now we have to eat them all! My pan was even smaller than the one suggested…..but it worked out just fine. Now only if we had snow to go with!

    Thanks so much for the wonderful recipes. I love them all. And your photos are divine.

  75. Rosemary C

    I make toffee every Christmas, and today I tried your recipe. Awesome. I always do my toffee in a small cast iron skillet. I don’t use a candy thermometer; just go by “the look”. It was perfect. I halved the recipe, because I like to work with a small batch. Thanks so much. We are coffee freaks. My husband does not like molasses, but he did not detect it at all. Tomorrow I make it for friends and relatives. Your baby is adorable. You just want to eat them up at that age.

  76. Kate

    so, when i went to break/cut it up the chocolate top separated from the toffee bottom. Did anyone else have this problem? Or know what I did wrong or could do to stop this happening next time? I read all the comments and seem to be the only one who had this issue – I guess I’m a bit special

    1. deb

      Hi Kate — Nope, I had it on one of my batches. The issue is butter separation, and the more you whisk-whisk-whisk it towards the end, the better it is incorporated and the less likely it is to have a slight oiliness that will make it hard for the chocolate to stick. Hope that helps.

  77. Linda

    Absolute perfection! Rarely make any kind of candy but this one was appealing and turned out wonderful. The taste and texture are great – the coffee flavour develops after sitting in the fridge for a few hours.

    I was turned off candy making after 4 different batches of divinity ended up in the garbage.

    Thank you

  78. Natalie

    I made this last night and oh my goodness was it ever delicious!! As I broke it up into pieces to put into tupperware I could hear my husband laughing from the sofa. Apparently he could see my reflection in the mirror in our dining room as I was cramming all of the little leftover pieces into my mouth. What? I didn’t want to waste them!

  79. shannon

    deb, you call for a candy thermometer in this recipe, but not in the recipe for your chocolate caramel crackers. is it possible to not use a candy thermometer for this recipe as well? i don’t have one and wont have time to purchase one before the christmas party that i plan on making this for. thanks!

    1. deb

      The other recipe has crackers to absorb any imperfections in the sugar temperature, so it’s less of a big deal. You can also watch for the color you want. It would be too hard in this, because the coffee and molasses already make it a dark toffee brown. There are non-thermometer techniques like putting a drop or two in water to see if it is yet at the “hard crack” stage but I haven’t ever tried them at home. Google about and I am sure you’ll find a good tutorial. And good luck!

  80. Emma

    So amazing, delicious and easy!! I dabble from time to time in the kitchen and I’m okay but after making this recipe I felt like a gourmet pastry chef!! Thank you!! This was my first time visiting the site and I’ve been instantly hooked.

  81. Stefanie

    Deb, this recipe was amazing! Thank you for sharing it. I haven’t made candy in over a year (my candy thermometer broke in the drawer and I just never replaced it) and this was just the recipe to kick me right back into it (after rushing to the grocery store to grab a candy thermometer of course. The only modification I made was using pecans instead of hazelnuts.

    Like Kate, I too had a bit of the chocolate/toffee separation thing when I cracked the pieces apart. Most of the chocolate stayed on, but on the edges of the cracks some of it flaked off. I will definitely remember to whisk a little harder towards the end next time to help prevent this.

    Heather’s nutella suggestion sounds like a good idea, but wouldn’t the chocolate stay sticky forever (well, until it’s all eaten)?

    1. deb

      Yes, I had meant to chime in. Nutella is wonderful but it does not harden. You’d be better off using a halzenut- or gianduja- flavored chocolate bar.

  82. sarah

    One word: aweSOME!

    (I’ve feared making any type of sugar candy since the Great Salted Caramel Debacle of 2009. I’m happy to say that this recipe got me to take my candy thermometer for a spin.)

    I made a plain batch, using Lyle’s Golden Syrup (bought months ago thinking I’d make Nigella Lawson’s Hokey Pokey Candy) instead of the molasses and coffee combination. Instead of semisweet chocolate, I used milk chocolate.

    Deliciousness! Thanks, Deb.

  83. Nichole

    I saw your feta salsa throwback from a year ago and made it last night for a Christmas party. They loved it! The dill and kalmatas really gave it a nice flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  84. Hepcatshoney

    Brilliant!!! I’ve never made toffee before & this came out nearly perfect.My kitchen must run colder than yours as my nuts all fell off when I went to break it apart. I sprinkled them immediately onto the chocolate but I believe they require a slight push to seat them well. Love your recipes, that rhubarb coffee cake is just the living end!
    Thank you for cooking & posting.

  85. Amy

    Everyone of your recipes I have tried has come out excellent.
    I love this coffee toffee…just made it to stick into some tins so I don’t walk into a couple holiday parties empty handed. This is so much better than taking wine.
    It’s a little bitter, is that normal? Coffee taste is not as dramatic as I thought it would be…which is fine, not a coffee drinker so it really doesn’t matter if it has coffee or not. Thanks…will continue to try your yummy stuff.

  86. LisaA

    To Jill re: espresso powder ~

    I’m going to try making the toffee this weeked–it sounds too delicious to pass up!! I was in Starbucks and had a Eureka moment…why not use their VIA instant coffee (Italian roast variety) instead of the nasty, nasty jarred instant espresso that you usually find in the grocery store! Starbucks has excellent quality coffee (no matter your feelings about the company in general) so I think with a higher quality instant coffee it will turn out even better. And, since there’s a Starbucks on practically every block, it should be easy to obtain :-)

  87. Susan

    Hi Deb, I made this today. The chocolate isn’t totally set yet but I couldn’t resist a small piece. It was really scrumptious but…too much butter. I could see it separating at the last stages of cooking and it pooled around the edges somewhat. I know, too much butter is an oxymoron but I did have to scrape a bit off the chocolate. What do you think about using 1/2 stick less?

    1. deb

      Susan — If you try it with less, do let us know how it goes. I based the recipe on a standard toffee proportion of butter to sugar. The trick to keeping it from pooling is to whisk-whisk-whisk at the end stage.

  88. JS

    I just finished making these…they turned out AMAZING!!!! Very easy (except for the hazelnut skinning part, wish there was an easier way for that part). A new favourite gift that makes you look far more skilled than you really are!! Thank you.

  89. igs

    I made this toffee the other night & it came out perfect!!! i took it to a holiday party & it disappeared pretty much instantly. definitely the most amazing toffee ever. ive posted pictures on my blog :)

  90. Kaweenee

    I was longing for chocolate and didn’t have the energy to brave the weather to go to the local See’s! This is the ticket. It took less than 15 minutes to make it and it was ready to eat within the hour! The most wonderful toffee recipe ever! Next time, I will add a bit more coffee. A new favorite!

  91. Made this coffee-style the other night and sans coffee tonight (with toasted almonds and sea salt on the non-coffee one). Substituted Lyle’s Golden Syrup for the molasses and YUM.

  92. Heather

    I tried this over the weekend and had some seriously burnt toffee… I ended up taking it off the heat at 250 once I could smell it starting to burn again despite the stirring… is there anything else i can do to help prevent that?

  93. Deb, I made the toffee to put in favor boxes for a holiday party I hosted last week and now those friends are placing orders for their own holiday gifts! It was so delish. Question – other than the coffee/hazelnut/chocolate combo, what other toffee “flavors” would you recommend? I’d love to try out other combinations.

  94. JC

    I took Deb’s advice and tested my new candy thermometer before giving this a go. Turns out, it was spot on.

    This recipe went GREAT. It was much easier than I had anticipated and tastes awesome. A nice addition to my cookie gift boxes this year. Delicious! Even my kids love it, and they were put off by the coffee smell.

  95. JC

    Now that I’ve done it and love it, do you think I can easily double or triple it? Or would that somehow mess things up?

    I’m hoping to avoid messes of the toffee variety. STICKY.

  96. Gillie

    Hi Deb
    I tried the recipe without a candy thermometer and it didn’t quite work out. can you give me any suggestions. is it at the hard ball stage? otherwise the recipe was very tasty and your baby is adorable!

  97. Kelley

    Wow, this is good stuff. I was out of nuts, though, so left those off but it was still delicious. In the summer I’ll make this without the chocolate on top to crumble into homemade ice cream. Thanks for the recipe!

  98. Jill

    Deb – wondering if you could give me some pointers. I’ve never made candy before. I made it this morning and pulled the toffee off the stove at about 295 degrees so it wouldn’t burn. I tastes great, but it is somewhat chewy and sticky to the teeth?? Is that normal, or is the toffee supposed to be crispy? (I’m thinking like a SKOR bar) So I think I either didn’t cook it long enough, or my putting it in the refrigerator right after made it chewy, OR I didn’t spread it out enough so it could be thin. The thinner parts were more crispy. I also doubled the recipe, so it was thick in some places. Help!

  99. Robyn

    just an fyi – williams-sonoma sells their own instant espresso powder – not sure if this is a new thing, but i just saw it in the store yesterday.

    51grams/1.8oz jar is $14.50 Canadian.

  100. Sara

    Candy thermometer FTW! just finshed making this…one half choc/hazel the other half white choc/macadamia. Mmmm yes! My apartment smells excellent, and easy to make on my hot plate after splurging for $20 candy therm at Williams-Sonoma.

    nom nom.

  101. Jen

    My previous 2 attempts at candy making turned out horribly but when I read this blog I had to try it! Thankfully it turned out great!!!! It has a little burnt taste to it because I wasn’t mixing vigorously enough but it works with the coffee. I couldn’t find instant espresso powder so I used 1Tbsp of instant coffee granules instead. Yum!

  102. Marnie

    Thank you! I’ve had my candy thermometer for at least 5 years and have never used it. I made the toffee this past Saturday and it was SOOOOOOO easy and yummy. I may skip cookies all together this year and just make candy!

  103. Ruth

    I make a similar toffee with Chocolate melted on top and the chocolate flacking off problem may be caused by using chocolate chips which are made to hold their shape in the oven and tend to stick together after melting (and therefore not to the toffee) Try chopped chocolate or chocolate wafers instead and you should get a better result!

  104. Marcia

    What kind of instant espresso do you use? I only see that Megladorio (something like that) with the Italian Flag on the label. It’s not that great. We have a Nespresso machine. I’m tempted to use a couple of those packets-why wouldn’t that work?

    I love your website. Used your latke recipe this year to raves.

    1. deb

      I don’t remember which brand I used (I used up the jar making this) but your description sounds correct. I’m certainly not picky about brands. I’m unfamiliar with Nespresso, but if it is instant granules, and not ground espresso, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Though I’m not sure how the intensity correlates either.

  105. Erica

    Just like every single other recipe I have tried from your website, this came out perfectly! I brought the batch to my office and my co-workers just couldn’t step away from it. The whole recipe took no longer than 15 minutes (plus freezer time) and it couldn’t have been any easier. Amazing addition to my holiday party repertoire! THANK YOU!

  106. Josée

    I have now made 4 batches of this! They all turned out great. Each one slightly different but all great! This is what I am giving to all my kid’s teachers for Christmas this year!!
    The idea of putting chipits on top would never have occurred to me. I am use to the chop and double boiler melt method. I have to say I was a bit skeptical. But it”s brilliant and so much easier!
    Thank you!

  107. Natalie

    This is delicious! It is my first attempt at making candy and I can’t wait to try it again. Just one problem, do have any suggestions for cleaning off my whisk? It is now a delicious toffee mess.

  108. Erika

    Ooh, I just made this with fantastic results eventhough I couldn’t locate instant espresso powder (I just used regular instant coffee – though if you go that route -in retrospect I would double the amount to ensure that the coffe flavor isn’t lost) AND, I do not have a candy thermometer, therefore I just “eyeballed” it until I thought it looked right. Simply delicious and I will be packaging it up as a hostess gift for a party this evening.

  109. kari

    Made this twice already. Wow. Phenomenal. Perfect also with almonds…didn’t have any hazelnuts. And the best instant espresso powder is Medaglia D’Oro, its in most supermarkets nowadays. Maida Heatter recommends it and I try to never use another brand.

  110. Chrissy

    I just tried making this recipe twice…and both times it resulted in a total failure! The first time, I stirred occasionally until it reached 250 degrees, then stirred constantly until it reached 300. It became all grainy and dark. Failure #1. My second try, I stirred occasionally until 250 degrees, then didn’t stir at all until it reached 300 (I had read a bunch of other toffee recipes online to see how they do it, and they all said to not stir it once it’s over 250 degrees). Well this didn’t work either (Failure #2)…it totally separated and the butter is now pooling all over my toffee. Kind of gross. What am I doing wrong?!

  111. Hello from’s Ad Sales Team! I just wanted to let you know that I will be making these delicious goodies for our annual Martha Stewart Living Cookie Swap in the office Monday. I’m hoping they turn out as delicious as they look. :)

  112. Amanda

    My husband and I decided to give this recipe a try for our holiday platters. We made four types of cookies and five types of candy. The Coffee Toffee was the best by far! We used molasses, and it turned out perfectly:)

  113. Deb~ This recipe is awesome! I LOVE toffee and find it hard to get truly good toffee. I’ve never even tried to make any kind of candy before. Your recipe was easy, very clear directions. I left the coffee out (and used corn syrup) b/c I’m sure my kiddos will be interested in it. Thanks a bunch for sharing!!

  114. Pi’s Pies

    i am now on my third batch of making this delectable toffee. :) it has been a HUGE hit among friends and family! (cries of “this is the best i’ve ever had!” and “you MADE this?!” have been ringing through these snowy days). thanks for sharing the crispy toffee magic, deb.

    if anybody has a hard time finding instant espresso powder (or doesn’t care to buy it in a big bulk-of-a-container), i’ve been using those new crazy instant coffee powder that starbucks came out with (via). it’s not espresso, but the italian roast works perfectly! (and tastes even more perfect) :) and it’s great, because one batch of toffee is one packet of coffee!

    time to go stir that magic whisk….

  115. Evelyn

    I’ve made this twice now, and boy-o, I could eat the whole batch myself! It is so good. One question: I used parchment paper in a 9×13 glass baking dish (it was the only thing I had 9×13), and the parchment paper didn’t want to sit down in the pan – it kept popping up out of it. When I poured it, I ended up with an uneven thickness with the toffee part, mostly because of the parchment problem. Would it work, do you think, to cut the parchment to fit down in the bottom of the pan, and not cover the sides? Or do you have a certain technique to get it to spread evenly (other than an offset spatula, which is on my list of things to buy)?

  116. Heath

    Thank you! I love my grill and smoker, but you’ve inspired me to try my hand at baking and candy making. This was my first ever attempt and it came out fantastic!!! Only thing I ran into was the chocolate separating from the toffee when I broke it up, but I suspect it’s because I had frozen it (couldn’t wait).
    A perfect toffee recipe, thanks so much for the pics and the pitch perfect presentation. I really appreciate it.

  117. I have made two batches already. They are both sitting on the patio outside in the North Carolina chill. It really was vigorous! Is toffee supposed to be as hard as brittle?? I’m wondering if mine came out right. Whether it did or not, the taste is fantastic! I couldn’t resist a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Thanks for the recipe.
    -a new reader,

  118. Carly

    I’ve made this three times already and I love each batch more than the next. I made my third batch with honey rather than molasses (ran out, and it snowed and the store? I can’t be expected to walk there, right?), and I like the molasses better. This is the tastiest Christmas treat I’ve made this year, possibly all years. I will say, I don’t spread it too thin because the thicker pieces are delicious, almost a cross between a southern praline and toffee (says my Southern husband, and my distant memory of a delicious praline in Savannah this summer). Thank you so much for making me look good this Christmas!

  119. Diane Carol

    I have now made two batches….and they turned out beautifully! These are very tasty, crisp – but melt in your mouth delicious. Thank you for another terrific recipe!

  120. kaweenee

    Deb, thanks for this great recipe… It is absolutely wonderful. I have made way too many batches already but I am puzzled. Why do some batches come out just like Heath Bars….crunch and not too sticky when chewed and others come out and stick to your teeth immediately? I want them all crunchy!!!

  121. Jessica S.

    help! The first time I made this, it was perfect, but I haven’t been able to get it to work again! Should my butter be cold or room temperature? Or maybe has the humidity here just been too high? it seems like the butter is separating out from the toffee.

  122. Debra

    I’d never made toffee before. This recipe is very easy to follow and turned out perfectly buttery and delicious. I topped it with toasted pecans. Made a very nice Christmas gift for neighbors (or anybody).

  123. OK, so after a a little more then a year of being out of work due to corporate downsizing I was faced with the “what in the world am I going to do about tips for the 18 staff members of my building this year” dilemma…. Thank you for answering that question with this recipe. It was however, giving it up… soo good, thank you! Happy New Year.

  124. Note to Julie: espresso powder can be found with other “instant coffees” in your grocery store. Medaglia D’Oro Caffè Espresso Instant and Café Bustelo Coffee Instant Espresso are two that come to mind.

  125. i just wanted to let you know i finally made your coffee toffee, perhaps you are interested in the results? i doubled the recipe, because i am at my parents’ and they have a huge oven and huge baking trays.
    i covered half with almonds and the other half with walnuts (though walnuts are pain in the neck to peel after toasting, i noticed.) i used honey and fancy chocolate (67%). i didn’t have a thermometer handy, but it worked out just fine.
    here is what i changed: i tasted the toffee and added more instant espresso powder. (i used nespresso, too.) i thought it could use more of a kick, and it could.
    here is what i personally would change next time i make it: i would use just a touch less sugar (but then i’m not sure if the toffee ‘formula’ would work?) everybody LOVED the toffee (i gave out a few baggies as little gifts) but some people did mention that it’s a tad sweet. other than that i heard only praise.

  126. Sara

    I made two batches; one with and one without nuts for my son who doesn’t like nuts (yes, nutty, I know). It was a huge hit with everyone–thanks! I bought pre-chopped hazelnuts and didn’t toast them because I was in a hurry (OK, I was lazy). The result was still delicious, of course, but it would have been even better if I’d toasted them. So take the time to toast the nuts–Deb knows what she’s talking about! This may replace my yearly batch of peanut brittle.

  127. Marian

    CAUTION: I got a 2nd degree burn making this. The toffee starts to harden quickly after pouring, so I thought (somewhat foolishly) that it was cooling just as quickly. Not true, and I burned my finger badly scraping the toffee off a spatula. So – be careful! It’s VERY HOT.

  128. This got rave reviews over the holidays packaged up in decorative baggies. And it is so easy (OK, so I did to use a regular high temp thermometer which dropped out of my hands into the toffee when it got over 270 degrees – I thought the thermometer was gone for sure as well as the toffee, but in the end – they both survived unscathed – yeah! – but next time I’ll use a bonafide clamp on candy thermometer). I ground my own espresso rather than using instant espresso powder and it did not end up tasting a great deal like coffee, but it was wonderful. Thanks!

  129. tara

    i have made this recipe twice so far–the first time it turned out perfect, but the second time, the chocolate chips didn’t stick to the toffee very well once it cooled, and the chocolate turned white-ish after a couple of days. next time i will try whisking more vigorously at the end to help the toffee be less oily and make the topping stick better. i know the discoloration often happens with melted and cooled chocolate, but i wonder why it didn’t happen the first time? is there anything i could do to prevent it next time? the toffee tastes fine, just doesn’t look so pretty.

  130. Kori

    I have made this recipe about 3 times now and it has been a total success every time! I am a big fan of pecans and so used those as a topping, and was surprised and quite pleased at how quickly the chocolate chips melt when you put them on the toffee.

    The second time I tried it, I was using a faulty thermometer and ended up getting it too hot. While I first thought I’d ruined it (as it dried it got flakey and really hard) I then experimented by cutting/tearing it into tiny pieces and putting it on ice cream. It was wonderful! The flavor was rich and deep, and the texture was an odd, lovely mix of chewy and crunchy. A real hit with the family. The coffee toffee, as was the original intention, was wonderful when I tried it later that night. Thanks so much for this great recipe!

  131. Tracy

    Hi – I’ve made this recipe many times now and everyone loves it! Like some other folks, i increased the espresso amount a bit. I also added some sliced almonds to the toffee while it was still hot, so that it has some added texture to the toffee pieces. Here’s my only question: the texture of the finished product, while definitely crunch, is the teeniest bit granular. When i used an organic cane sugar, it was much more granular, but has been better since using the regular ol’ refined white sugar. However, it still has a bit of a grainy feel to it, to me….more than other toffee i’ve had. Deb — have you (or others) experienced this? Any thoughts/suggestions? Thanks!!

  132. stacey

    Do you think it would be possible to make toffee with margarine instead of butter? I realize that butter would be BETTER, but I want to make something for a friend of mine who is vegan.

  133. stacey

    Answered my own question on that one….NO. At least not Earth Balance margarine. Although the texture is perfect, as it gets up to 300F something in the margarine develops a nasty chemical taste and ruins it. I think I may try it with peanut oil instead.

  134. Sarah Gordon

    Hi there,

    Sorry to be a pain but what are the sheet pans you use called?
    I am trying to order them online from New Zealand but I don’t know there correct name.

    Thanks so much!

  135. Viennese Jen

    For others who might be staring with dismay at something that didn’t quite turn out as expected…

    I proved today that IF one were to make this for an office party and IF said toffee didn’t cook quite long enough despite the candy thermometer’s assurance and IF the toffee then turned out gooey AFTER the chocolate is on, if one then reheats the whole mess with a cup or so of cream and stirs for a while, it turns into a perfectly respectable, RICH, chocolate toffee dessert sauce. For the sake of my waistline, I am now testing the premise that the result is freezable….

  136. hello! For the past 5-8 YEARS I have been looking for espresso powder. Now it’s a standard thing that no matter WHAT city we are in….I go hunting for ‘espresso powder’ because so many recipes call for it! I live in Canada and even though I have travelled throughout the states I still can’t find it. Help?????

  137. Amanda Z.

    Hello! I just made 5 batches of these to give out as gifts and have been getting rave reviews. We had never made a “candy” before and my husband was pretty much licking out the pan between each set. And we are also smitten with your cranberry cake, which is pretty much memorized by now.

    Thank you for all your amazing recipes! With love from St. Louis.

  138. Holly

    I made this last night for my boyfriend and I and it was amazing! He loves it so much. Thanks for another great recipe :D Trying molasses was a great idea.

  139. Andrea

    You should seriously try molasses directly in your cup of coffee. Molasses/ maple syrup + coffee = DECADENT. If you use unsulfered, you get a little boost of iron, too! A great excuse to use a LITTLE more than maybe you should… ;)

  140. robin

    I made this over the holidays and gave it out in small batches to a whole bunch of different people and EVERYONE raved about it. It was definitely a stand-out among the other stuff I made. Planning to make more and double it for a New Year’s Day open house (for which I made your Buckeyes last year and got raves on those as well!). Happy New Year!

  141. Lauren Foster

    I just made these out of the new cookbook, and the recipe was awesome. I am only fourteen years old and have a passion for cooking so I appreciated the clear directions and ESPECIALLY loved the fact it was a two-pan easy clean up! My only comment would be that in the cookbook the recipe states “8 Tablespoons (250 grams or 2 sticks)” of butter. However, two sticks of butter would be 16 tablespoons, which was confusing for me. Luckily I followed the weight and it came out wonderfully!
    My mom and I really admire the collection of recipes that are in the cookbook and this is our only complaint so far!

  142. Alicia Bucko

    I love your new cookbook and am excited to try as many as possible. I made the coffee toffee however, in the book the recipe lists 8 tablespoons of butter (with 2 sticks in parentheses) while the website has 2 sticks. I guess the 8 fell through the cracks as things do so I just wanted you to know if you don’t already that it should be 16 tablespoons. Don’t want to be picky and it turned out ok because I checked the website when I couldn’t figure it out for the first time. It was the first recipe I made from your book and have many other earmarked. It is now a family favorite.
    Thanks for your great stories and casual attitude. I feel like I know you.

    1. deb

      Alicia — Ugh, so sorry about that. We just discovered the typo a few days ago. I’m so sorry if it caused trouble. It will absolutely be fixed in future editions. I’m glad you found the correct amount on the site.

  143. Korinne

    I feel like I’m losing my mind! I made this fabulous toffee last year for holiday gifts without a problem, in fact, I thought this isn’t half as bad as most people say candy making can be. I made the toffee following the cookbook, realized the error and tried again. I have now made this toffee 4 times and I can’t get it to come out right! This last batch that I made, with the 16 Tbs of butter, is strange… the butter separated from the toffee, and wouldn’t incorporate. Help!

  144. Ilona

    Hi Deb, made this last night. I must have not whisked vigorously enough as the temperature was approaching 300, because I did have the problem of butter separating from the other mass (a word of caution to readers: quite painful when the scalding butter splashes onto your hand as you are whisking!). However, I made it anyway, and the results were still delicious (though I realized today that didn’t spread the toffee enough, it is a bit too thick). This recipe is definitely a keeper, it just seems to be one that people without candy making experience will require a bit of patience with.

  145. Laurie

    I just made this recipe for the first time and thought it to be a much easier to do toffee than my other experiences. The one thing I’m going to change up is putting half of a hersheys dark chocolate bar, and half of a hersheys milk chocolate on top in place of chips. I let them sit and melt down most of the way and then swirl the two together. I think you get more depth of chocolate flavor than with the chips. I also made this recipe the other day minus the espresso and used toasted almonds to make it more of a regular toffee/almond roca. I thought it turned out well also. Thanks for the great recipe. I think working in a smaller quantity like this gives more control. For the people who are mentioning separation, experience has taught me the biggest thing is keeping a consistent temp going and not adjusting temp on burner. Also for some reason with all of the almond roca and toffee recipes in my experience and my families salted butter works better than unsalted. I seem to run into problems with unsalted.

  146. Shirley

    Deb, I had this at your book signing at Anthropologie in Montclair (made by a salesperson!!) and it was delicious and picture perfect. Made it today and my chocolate separated from the toffee and seemed thicker than hers. Should have read ALL the comments first I guess. I will try something other than chips.
    I am working my way through your fabulous cookbook. You are inspiring me to cook more. Thanks.

  147. jackie

    Never mind, I’m using the book’s weight measurement of 225 grams. Love baking with weight measurements. Thank you! Can’t wait to see how this turns out. I have a second batch of the apple cider caramels cooling in the fridge. Yum yum!

  148. jackie

    ok, i’ve tried making two batches…first batch burned and also had the butter separate. Next batch also had major butter separation.. :(
    i’m not sure what’s going on. i read through all of the comments before starting and whisked whisked whisked at the end, but still the butter separated. i read on another site about adding lecithin as an emulsifier. does anyone have any experience with that? i’m determined to get this to come out. i’ve unfortunately gone through a pound of expensive local butter, but willing to try again. i am doing the two sticks (16 Tbsp., 225g) butter – hope that’s correct. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!

  149. Just returning to say batches 3 and 4 turned out perfectly. i replaced my candy thermometer and all was well. I also used salted butter…saw in a comment that it worked for someone. Lastly, I looked at a toffee maker’s web site for some more visual cues (I was getting desperate)…all’s well that ends well.
    Thanks for another great recipe! Delicious.

  150. Lynn C

    Hi – just made this coffee toffee using my new Smitten Kitchen cookbook. In the cookbook the ingredients call for 8 tablespoons of butter as well as saying this is 225 grams. I assume it should be 16 tablespoons, right?

  151. Lynn C

    never mind – just read all of the corrections above:) Sorry about that! Love my cookbook – just made the Olive Oil Grapefruit pound cake today as well!

  152. charm

    Sorry if this is a rehash of a question previously asked, but an answer/help from anyone would be appreciated.
    First of all, DELICIOUS. Secondly, and probably equally important, EASY. This recipe helped me get over my fear of the candy thermometer. Every batch I have made has come out perfectly and perfectly delicious. I get ridiculous compliments when I give this away.
    Now for the questions: Can you omit the coffee and molasses to make a straight toffee? Can you add vanilla? And if so, at which point would you add the vanilla? Can you make a salted version of this? Or would that just taste bad? How much salt? Would you change the chocolate (milk or a mix of milk & semisweet) if making a salted version?
    Thanks again. Have yet to fail with any of your recipes.

    1. deb

      I’d say yes to all of the above. For salt, I’d probably just sprinkle some on at the end — if you can find a flaked sea salt, like Maldon, it’s especially good for that. I don’t think it would be necessary to change the chocolate. Vanilla is always best added as late as possible in the process, so the flavor doesn’t get lost.

  153. charm

    Thanks, Deb, for the answer. As soon as rain stops threatening around here, I am going to try a batch with all the alterations! Going to look for flaked sea salt, too ….

  154. Paul

    This was remarkable. I’ve been using 1/2recipes and experimenting with peanut butter& molasses. I’ve been using baking soda also and spreading it as thin as possible. My goal is to get a wafer-like delicate toffee for between a layer cake

  155. Caitlin

    This is one of my favorite recipes, like, ever. My only complaint is that I accidentally made it for everyone at work after a really hard week, and now they won’t stop hounding me to make it every week.

    Also, this recipe gave me a good idea: I made cinnamon rolls and put instant espresso in the cream cheese frosting. I almost got mauled by family members trying to get to the pan.

  156. HELP! I made this from your cookbook today (which I LOVE by the way) and I didn’t have a candy thermometer…. anyway, I misread the signs for the hard crack stage and my toffee, after an hour in the freezer, is like a caramel that melts as soon as you touch it :( (it does taste great though)…. what should I do with it? Remelt/reboil and set it, hazelnuts and all? Leave in freezer overnight and hope it sets harder? Such a shame, all that butter and sugar gone to waste :(

  157. Jaime

    Loved this recipe, and found it very easy to follow. The toffee turned out wonderfully, and the chocolate and nuts complemented the flavors nicely (though I used walnuts since that’s what was available). I did have a little bit of trouble with the chocolate not sticking to all the toffee when I was breaking it apart, but I think that was mostly due to the thickness of the toffee sheet- I will need to use a larger pan to make a thinner layer next time. As others above have mentioned, this is definitely going into my permanent recipe file :)

  158. Kit

    Brilliant concept, but I found the molasses left an unpleasant aftertaste. Might be the difference between regular and unsulphered, but it was much better without it’s inclusion.

  159. Lisa

    This looks amazing! If I made it for my work’s “cookie exchange,” and I’m supposed to bring in 3 dozen of whatever treat, how many batches of this would you recommend I make? (This reminds me of those word problems from math class back in the day, but a delicious “problem” with no wrong answers) :)

    1. deb

      Hi Lisa — That is super-tricky because you’re breaking this up by hand. Theoretically, you could make as many or as few pieces as you’d like. But more realistically, it cannot hurt to double it, estimating 18 good chunks (though, probably more like 25) per batch. Enjoy!

  160. Heather

    Made this twice now. The first time it was incredible but the second batch was burnt tasting. Both times using the same accurate candy thermometer. I noticed a burned residue on the bottom of the pan with both batches. Wondering if I’m not stirring quickly enough and the residue is burning and mixing..thought of adding the molasses etc with the vanilla in case it’s that that’s burning? Have you tried adding those after?

  161. Shirley


    HELP. Do you have any suggestions to correct the chocolate separating from the toffee?
    I want to make this for the holidays as gifts but last year I had a problem with the chocolate not sticking to the toffee and it just didn’t look suitable to gift.


  162. Denise

    I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe- i made it for the first time for Christmas 2009, and it’s now requested by my fiance’s family every year (he was my boyfriend when i first started making it- the toffee may have had a positive affect on our relationship!).

  163. Shirley

    Me AGAIN. Tried this recipe again and SUCCESS!! I used a 4 oz. Ghiardelli semi-sweet bar chopped (only had one) and added about 2 oz. of chocolate chips and everything came out perfectly. Even the chips stuck. I did NOT put this in the freezer. Oh, I also used a 13 X 9 inch pan like you did, which I did not do the first time. Not sure what I did wrong the first time, but I sure am happy I figured it out.
    This stuff is to die for.

  164. Kate

    Ugh, this stupid recipe didn’t work at all. I followed suggestions from for this problem to no avail. I tried twice and the more I stirred the more it separated. Other toffee recipes I’ve used tell you not to stir at all and didn’t come out oily! A disappointing waste of time and ingredients.

  165. Jackie

    Hi Deb, I absolutely adore this recipe – salted caramel, chocolate and coffee are my top 3 fave flavours. The chocolate layer on my latest batch slid right off when i broke the toffee so I was wondering if you had any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Tom

      For those having issues with the chocolate separating – try using chunk chocolate. Chips have a stabilizer that can sometimes interfere and make them less likely to stick. Cheers!

  166. Grace

    Could I make this with just white sugar, replacing the brown sugar with an equal volume of white? Would it affect the texture at all?

  167. Brianna

    I made this yesterday, and it hardened in the freezer, but once it’s out, it softens. what would cause that? could it be from not letting it get quite to 300? i used a thermometer, but maybe i wasn’t patient enough? i also had 4 kids running around, so once i got to 250, i kinda “eye-balled” it to 300…..

  168. Cara

    I made this tonight for the first time and it went perfectly! It is delicious and I soaked the candy coated pot and utensils and they came out perfectly clean with no scrubbing. This is a winner!!

  169. Mary-Ellen


    I had a problem with this recipe. I couldn’t get the butter to incorporate into the sugars and molasses. It was completely separated. I followed the recipe exactly, used a thermometer, but the butter would not mix in.

    I love the idea of this toffee, any ideas about what might have happened.

  170. anna

    hey deb i also tweeted this at you– but there is a discrepancy in the butter amounts here v in the cookbook– and it’s quite confusing! here you call for 1 cup butter, 2 sticks– in cookbook its 8 TBSP butter (but then you also say 2 sticks? yes i could have looked at the grams i guess, but i was reading quickly and just went with 8 tbsp)… tried it with one stick, didnt seem right, added another then it wouldnt incorporate and then there was a sugar-monster-kitchen-floor-and-stovetop disaster. can you clarify? want to try again! thanks!! & sorry if you already have!

    1. deb

      There is! The book (1st through 3rd editions) has a typo; the site is correct. The typo is noted here (Tips & Errata); I realize that is little consolation but books aren’t so easily updated. :)

  171. Sohana

    I’ve made this a few times, and always seem to have the same issue – when I go to break this into pieces, the chocolate layer separates from the toffee layer. Anyone know why this might be?

    1. Emily S.

      Just FYI, Deb wrote the following in an earlier comment response:

      “The trick to keeping it [the butter] from pooling is to whisk-whisk-whisk at the end stage.”

      Also, at another point in the comment responses, she said:

      “I can’t advise on other toffee recipes but this must be stirred until the end or it separates, every time.”

  172. Catherine Sheeran

    so….I was using a good candy thermometer, but the mixture smelled burnt before it hit 300*. sure enough, when I poured it into the pan – my heavy bottomed sauce pan had a burnt bottom. I love the idea of coffee and toffee in one bite. What did I do wrong??

  173. I had the same problem as another gal – the butter separated and the finished product never got crisp. Ive made toffee a hundred times, but could never inc. the espresso until I found your recipe – or so I thought. I followed exactly and the only thing I can think of was I was using my new Bertazzoni stove and the temp may of been too hot (tho I looked at my thermometer and followed the directions to the letter like I always do – the first time ;) Curious about the science. It was a normal coolish SF evening…

  174. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    I made this to give as gifts for Teacher Appreciation Day, so I only tasted the crumbs, but OMG… so delicious! I very rarely make candy (it seems so precise and fussy, so I avoid it), but this worked perfectly. Next time, though, I’ll plan ahead and make enough to both give some and keep some. :)

  175. Colleen

    Made this today; it came out perfect! Increased espresso powder to a total of 2 teaspoons, for more pronounced coffee flavor. Added flaky sea salt on top. Was delicious with 60% chocolate chips; would love to try it with something closer to 70% for a little more grown-up indulgence. I worried that something would go wrong after reading some of the comments, but it was very straightforward and I would encourage anyone to go for it!

  176. Lucille Leibowitz

    I have made hundreds of batches of toffee, holiday gifts.
    I find you don’t stir after it is boiling, it might separate.
    So just watch thermometer and pour after 300 degrees.

  177. gururajster

    Coffee and Toffee…Yumm.I love them both. Now a toffee made out of coffee is just made for me. Thanks a million for the recipe. I am gonna try this today, next week, next month and all the time.. Thank youuu!!!!

  178. Addy

    made this twice and loved it the first time. The second time I got lazy. Hit 300 degrees on the candy thermometer or prepare to fish toffee out of your teeth!

  179. Rather than struggling to get the whisk into the corners of a pan, use a bowl set over a pan of hot water. It’s not only easier to ensure that all the mixture has melted together but vastly simpler to clean afterwards!

  180. Renee

    I’ve made this fabulous coffee toffee twice. I’d like to make lots more for a party. Can the recipe be doubled? Any potential problems that can be avoided?

  181. Donna Sugarman

    I made this a long time ago and it was fantastic. Just made again..doubled the recipe and it wasn’t as good. The coffee or maybe the molasses was too strong, or else it was slightly burnt? Although didn’t seem so. Measurements were correct. Maybe I didn’t use molasses last time.
    Also, didnt chop the almonds this time..thought it would be ok since they were slivered, but they didn’t stick as well to the chocolate so best to take the time to chop them.
    See’s Candies makes a similar great toffee with milk chocolate. Next time I might reduce the espresso, and try milk chocolate.

  182. Renee

    I’ve made your coffee toffee three times now—twice in double batches. Everyone raves about it. Nobody can stop eating it. People called it crack. It’s so very good. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! The only changes I made after the first batch were to increase the espresso crystals to 2 tsp (vs 1 1/2) and I sprinkle Maldon flaky salt after spreading the melted chocolate but before the nuts.

    Also, I found that our stone counters cooled the toffee fairly fast so ended up placing the silpat sheet on a big pastry board before pouring the hot toffee. That made a big difference. If you don’t have a pastry board, maybe a wood tabletop would work.

  183. Omg so good! I only made a half batch not knowing if my family would like it and if it would turn out, but definitely going to need to make it again. I also made it with out the coffee and molasses because I prefer regular toffee. But delicious…..

  184. Barry R Lay

    I have been searching for a certain Coffee Toffee recipe that made years ago. It was in an issue of Bon Appetit magazine and try as I may, I cannot find it. It was absolutely fantastic! I keep coming across this same recipe which has been copied by hundreds of folks and then they repost it with their changes. It sounds good but the problem I have with all of these Coffee Toffee recipe is there is no baking soda. Soda is always a very important ingredient in any toffee as it assures the proper texture. When it’s added you can see the candy bubble up, without this addition toffee can be too hard. I guess I will make this one and add my soda!
    Barry Lay

  185. Simone

    for anyone who’s been struggling with burnt toffee: my first batch looked and smelled quite burnt before even hitting 250, so I changed a few things the second time around. I used a smaller, less powerful burner and a smaller pot (2 quart). I used 3/4 of the recipe to fit in the small pot since deb recommended a 3 quart pot for the full recipe. Second batch turned out absolutely delicious.

  186. Julie

    I’m so frustrated with this. It’s delicious, but the first time I made it, the texture turned out wrong (grainy), and I did some research and maybe I figured out why. Tried it again, and this time the butter separated right at the end. I stirred the flipping thing the whole time (between 200 degrees and 300 degrees) with the right kind of whisk. I followed the recipe to a T except that I kept my gas stove below medium head (still, it went FAST). I’m sure the recipe isn’t to blame, but I wanted to caution future readers of my opinion, which is that unless you’re wise in the ways of candymaking, this recipe is a risk! (Note: I have made toffee, successfully and unsuccessfully, in the past.)

  187. Andrew

    I have been making this every Halloween for over a decade now but this year it decided to separate into a butter slick with a raft of hard caramel floating in the middle and I have no idea Why.

  188. Amy

    Just made this for the first time last night. The only other time I’ve made toffee is for Smitten Kitchen’s “Chocolate Caramel Crackers” aka “Matzo Crack”, and I’ve made the Apple Cider Caramels as well (my entire candy-making history in a nutshell haha).

    These turned out great; no separating issues. I made a half batch and followed the recipe; removed the pan the moment it hit 300°F, stirring as I removed it from the heat and started to pour it into the pan.

    I used an old packet of Starbucks’ VIA “instant” micro-ground dark roast coffee granules. I measured out the recommended amount but probably should’ve used more; whether it was because it’s not espresso or because it’s stale I’m not sure but the coffee flavour is a bit faint (and I’m not even a regular coffee drinker). Just a recommendation to add more if you’re using something other than espresso powder.

  189. Emily H Taylor

    My family has been making toffee as gifts for Christmas since 1940. I do not like coffee so will stick to my tried and true recipe, but I did want to say that toffee makes a great gift and people look forward to it year after year. It is easy to double. Our recipe is 3 sticks of butter and 3 cups of sugar (2 dark brown and 1 white) with 2t vinegar and 4T water, 1t salt and 2t vanilla added at the end. I have learned to simplify by just smearing chocolate on the one side and eliminating the nuts as too many don’t like them or have allergies. Coarse salt is good to sprinkle on the chocolate. And adding toasted slivered almonds in the toffee at the end is delicious (if I know they like the nuts in there!).

  190. Liz

    I’ve made this toffee a bunch of times without issue, but the past few times, I’ve had trouble with the butter separating from the caramel, this has happened with different kinds of butter, including an 85% fat Amish butter. I usually find a way to salvage it, but I wind up with a lot of excess melted butter that doesn’t reincorporate. Any thoughts as to why this is happening and how to prevent it? Thanks!

  191. Elizabeth Rouse

    I have been making this recipe for YEARS. It is my standing food gift for friends and family. After increasing batches of separated toffee, I reviewed the recipe and comments and discovered that in my confidence I was skipping out on really monitoring the heat early enough and stirring from 250-300. I was more doing intermittent stirring till maybe 270 or more, then stirring the last few min.

    I just finished 4 consecutive successful batches!