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Toffee / Caramel / Brittle, No Thermometer Required

December 9, 2010

Three ingredients plus water, transformed into golden candy.  This recipe is so easy, you barely even have to stir it.  I don’t own a candy thermometer, so I use a timer instead.  Seems to work out.  For toffee or caramel consistency or “soft crack”, simply boil for 12-15 minutes.  For brittle consistency or “hard crack”, boil for 30-35 minutes.

Have fun with this recipe!  Feel free to add your favorite toppings or flavours, such as vanilla, almonds, peanuts, or my personal favorite, sea salt!


1 1/3 cup sugar

1 cup butter

1/6 cup corn syrup (use half of a 1/3 measure cup)

1/8 cup water (use half of a 1/4 measure cup)

Makes 2 large cookie sheets of candy.

Put your butter in a pot on medium to start melting.

Add the sugar.

Add the water.

Add the corn syrup.

Stir only until the mixture boils.

Once the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring, turn down the heat a bit and allow to boil for either 12-15 minutes (soft crack for toffee or caramel) or 30-35 minutes (hard crack for brittle).

This photo was taken at about 12 minutes.  You can see how golden the mixture gets.

Remove from heat and add anything you want – I added a spoonful of vanilla, but a cup of peanuts would be a good addition at this point as well!  Notice the mixture shrinks to about half once you remove it from the heat.

Pour the mixture onto parchment paper laid on cookie sheets.  This quantity made enough to pour onto 2 full cookie sheets.

Spread the mixture into a thin layer by rotating your pan around.  Be warned, you do not have much time to work with.  The mixture will start to harden almost immediately.

I threw a bit of sliced almonds on one half of this pan, and sprinkled some sea salt on the other half.

Let the pan sit undisturbed for at least half an hour until hard.  Now you should be able to pick up the entire layer in one piece.  Simply drop the layer back down to shatter into bite sized pieces.

The completed toffee – plain, almond, and salted.  Enjoy!

What is your favorite holiday candy?  If I can make it, I will try to add it to Cook More Smile More for you!  Jump up.


From → Dessert

  1. Sean permalink

    can you use honey instead of corn syrup?

    • Hi Sean! Welcome to candy making! It took me a while to find a solution for this. Most sites say that candy making is finicky and you have to stick to the recipe, as honey and similar sweeteners burn too easily, but I found a site that might help: He says that when a recipe calls for just a bit of corn syrup, you can often use a dash of lemon juice instead as both items are used in recipes to prevent sugar from crystallizing. Good luck experimenting! Cheers!

  2. Kristina permalink

    Awesome instructions and GREAT GREAT visuals! Thank you, I am going to try this today with my little niece 🙂 We are going to play baker 🙂

    • Aw gee, I blush! Best wishes to you and your budding baker! Time on the stove just determines the hardness, so the good news is your candy will still taste like delicious caramel no matter what happens! Big smiles! Be warned – very addictive if you only boil for a couple mins, add a half teaspoon of baking soda and then quickly pour over popped corn! Place in the oven to crisp up, about 20 mins on low (let’s call that 300ish). Enjoy!

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