It seems like everyone has a dietary restriction these days, which can make bringing hostess gifts tricky. Bring a bottle of wine, and you’ll arrive to find the family is doing a cleanse. A box of brownies yields the discovery that Dad is gluten-free. And let’s not even get started on dairy or nuts! That’s why my Paleo English Butter Toffee is the perfect hostess gift. Made with ghee and no refined sugar or nuts, it’s allergy-friendly and oh-so-delish! It snaps like a Skor bar, is the perfect amount of sticky, and the combo of dark chocolate and sea salt? To die for.
Like most of my recipes, this toffee comes together in 30 minutes or less, minus cooling time. That said, toffee by nature can be tricky because the fat can separate from the sugar if they don’t melt at the same time. When I started developing this recipe, I tried to fly by the seat of my pants and ended up needlessly wasting valuable ingredients. So please read my instructions – including all the additional info – before you make this.
About My Paleo English Butter Toffee
Traditional toffees are usually made with a 1:1 ratio of butter and white sugar, plus a little corn syrup (yuck), some water and salt. I try to limit my lactose intake, so I opted for ghee instead, and I lowered the glycemic index by subbing coconut sugar for white. I never use processed ingredients in my baking, so I ditched the corn syrup in favor of coconut nectar, which comes from the sap of coconut flowers.
These substitutions don’t affect taste all that much. In fact, you can probably fool most candy-holics into believing that this is the same toffee their mom used to make. What they do change is the nutritional value. Paleo English Butter Toffee is a healthier choice because:
- The use of ghee omits unhealthy butter solids and limits lactose
- Coconut sugar is lower on the glycemic index than regular white sugar
- Coconut sugar also contains nutrients like zinc and iron, plus gut-healthy prebiotic inulin that processed sugars do not
- With a glycemic index of 35, coconut nectar is far superior to corn syrup.
Toffee Troubleshooting: Burning
Toffees in general can be tricky. Firstly because you’re heating sugar, which can burn. Coconut sugar contains less moisture than regular sugar, and therefore has a lower burning point. For this reason, I recommend using a candy thermometer when making this toffee. This will help you avoid burning the toffee while also insuring that it reaches 285 degrees, which is the temperature at which it achieves the perfect snap when cooled.
I also cannot over-emphasize the need to stir constantly. You’ll affect the taste of the entire batch if you let it sit over a flame and burn the bottom.
Another Risk: Separation
Even if you’ve been watching your temperature and stirring like until your forearm cramps, toffee-making comes with the inherent risk that your mixture will separate. This happens when the fat and sugar melt at different times, usually because of too-thin sauce pan or improper heating. The first sign is that you’ll see something like a shiny oil slick on top of your toffee. Then suddenly, the top will be come yellow while the sugar falls to the bottom.
You can usually avoid separation during the cooking process by melting your sugar slowly over medium-low heat, as I specify in this recipe. Constant stirring is also extremely helpful. But in some circumstances, it will happen anyway. The Spruce has a fantastic guide to saving separated toffee, which I also recommend reading before you assemble your ingredients.
Finally, you may also see some separation when you pour your toffee. A little bit of fat pooling around the edges is normal – just use the corner of a paper towel to soak it up. But you can avoid too much separation by pouring your toffee thinly so it cools more quickly. So don’t dump it all out in one big pool. Instead, pour a thin stream in zig-zags across your baking sheet.
About The Toppings
I top my Paleo English Butter Toffee with dark chocolate and sea salt to keep it allergy-friendly, but you can easily add on sliced almonds, toasted pecans, or even a sprinkle of coconut sugar. Get creative! And if you come up with a confection you’re proud of, post it to Instagram and tag me! I’d love to see your take on my toffee!
Paleo English Butter Toffee
With a satisfying snap and just the right amount of chewiness, Paleo English Butter Toffee is just as flavorful as the original. Made with the goodness of ghee and zero refined sugar, you can feel better about treating yourself to a piece. (Or three.)
- 1/2 c coconut sugar
- 1/2 c coconut nectar
- 3/4 c ghee
- 1/2 c water
- 1/4 tsp salt I used pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1 c dark chocolate
- 1/2 tsp flake sea salt I used Maldon Salt
Combine toffee ingredients over medium low heat in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, stirring frequently with a metal whisk.
When the mixture begins to boil and turn a deep amber color, begin watching your candy thermometer and whisking constantly.
When the mixture reaches 285 degrees, remove from heat and pour thinly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a paper towel to carefully soak up any fat separation that occurs around the edges.
Let cool for approximately 3 minutes, then sprinkle chocolate chips on top. They will melt over the course of a few minutes. When they do, use a spatula to gently spread the chocolate layer on top of the toffee.
Place the baking sheet in the fridge. After about 5 minutes, remove briefly and sprinkle with sea salt. Continue to refrigerate for approximately 2 hours until toffee has set. Break apart and enjoy!