Cashew ToffeeRemember way back when I talked about butterscotch? And then I sort of went on a tirade about the differences between caramel and butterscotch and how ripped off I feel when offered butterscotch but given caramel, or vice versa for that matter. Well, today we’re all about the toffee. And toffee has a lot in common with butterscotch.

Traditional butterscotch is made by cooking sugar, butter and molasses together to about 240F. If you take those same ingredients (which today we often shorten to butter and brown sugar since brown sugar contains molasses) and cook them to 310F, you end up with toffee. Where butterscotch is chewy, toffee breaks and crunches. It also contains nuts or seeds, and part of the fun is choosing which nuts or seeds to use. Because you can use whatever you like. I chose to make cashew toffee this time. I might choose otherwise next time. It’s part of the fun!

Cashew ToffeeToffee is also related to brittle. In my experience, brittle gets its signature crunch from the addition of baking soda. Just a bit of soda adds a ton of wee tiny bubbles to the candy which makes it easier to chew than say, a lollipop. Which is what you’d have if you didn’t add the baking soda. Toffee gets its crunchability from a relatively large amount of butter. Since the fat in butter is a soft solid at room temperature and retains that property even once heated to Very Very Hot, it tends to temper the crunch, allowing you to enjoy your candy while keeping all your teeth in your head. Another thing that the butter does while it’s cooking is brown. All the milk solids in the butter get nutty and lovely at higher temps, and lucky us, 310F isn’t hot enough to burn them. Just enough to brown them, making your candy taste that much more interesting.

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Cashew ToffeeIn this cashew toffee, I did not use brown sugar (or add any molasses). This is the candy that we used to make at the restaurant (except with almonds) and break up into small pieces to give as mignardises in place of mints, so I just went with it. It gets most of its flavor from the interplay between the nuts and the browned butter. I must note that I would not be opposed to making it with brown sugar though since the molasses in it would bring a bit more dark complexity to the candy.

Cashew ToffeeA fun thing about this formula is that it is nice and scalable. It’s easy to make exactly the amount you want, from a lot to a little. All you have to remember is 1 stick of butter per 1/2 cup of sugar. Add to that a squirt of corn syrup (about 1 Tablespoon) as insurance against Premature Crystallization, enough salt to make it taste good and 1/2 cup of nuts or seeds of your choice. Once you’ve made your cashew toffee, you can decide to melt chocolate on top or not. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t, but like I said, it’s your choice.

I made a “four times” batch, which is 4 sticks of butter (1 pound) and 2 cups of sugar. Here’s what I did.

Cashew Toffee

Jennifer Field
The mellow, creamy crunch of cashews blends beautifully with the mellow, buttery crunch of the toffee. Pecans or walnuts would work in the same way. For more of a contrast, use a harder nut like almonds or macadamias. Sesame seeds would be lovely in this, or pepitas. Have fun with it!
5 from 3 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Candy Recipes


  • 1 pound unsalted butter (4 4oz sticks)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (feel free to substitute half of the granulated sugar for a firmly packed cup of brown sugar for more of a butterscotchy feel)
  • cup light corn syrup (6 Tablespoons) I never measure this--I just use 6 "squirts" from the bottle and call it a day
  • salt , to taste. I probably used about 3/4 teaspoon and thought it could have used a bit more
  • 2 cups nuts or seeds of choice , toasted (if you've bought them pre-roasted, no need to toast)
  • 1 Ferraro Milk Chocolate Toffee "orange" broken into segments (use the chocolate you have)
  • whatever I had left from a bag of Ghiradelli 60% cacao chocolate chips , probably about 3/4 cup (again, use what you have)
  • fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt such as Maldon , for sprinkling on the finished candy (optional, but not really)


  • In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil, stirring.
  • Put the lid on the pan and let boil for 2 minutes to wash down any pesky sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan.
  • Take the lid off of the pot and cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 265F.
  • Slowly and carefully stir in the salt (at this point, the risk of crystallization has pretty much passed).
  • Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula, until the candy reaches 310F or up to 315F. You do have a bit of leeway here. Just make sure you've reached 310F.
  • Dump in the nuts and stir them in so they're evenly distributed.
  • Pour the molten candy out onto a Silpat-lined (or just pan sprayed) half-sheet pan or jelly roll pan and spread out to a uniform thickness with an offset spatula.
  • Let the candy sit for a minute or two to develop a "skin," and then evenly place your chocolate/s on the candy and let melt. How much chocolate you use is totally up to you. You can cover it with wall-to-wall chocolate or you can leave some space for a thinner covering. My preference is for thin chocolate, so I left plenty of candy peeking out.
  • Once the chocolate melts, use an offset spatula to spread it out in an even layer.
  • Sprinkle fairly liberally with the fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt, if using.
  • Let sit until cool and the chocolate has completely set up.
  • Cut or break into pieces as large or small as you like and enjoy.

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Cashew ToffeeIf you are a fan of cashews, I think you’ll really enjoy this cashew toffee. I am currently eating it an alarming rate and am considering seeking help.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me today. Take care, and I’ll see you again soon.




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  1. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe five times for parties and gifts, it’s a keeper. I have substituted marcona almonds for cashews, and even tried hazelnuts and pistachios, it’s always delicious. However, one weird thing that happens every time is there is this weird separation that happens when it gets to about 300 and about 1/8 cup of clear yellowish liquid stays that way, just floats on the top of the boiling pot no matter how much I mix it, and I have to soak it up with a paper towel after I pour it into the pan. It just rolls off the rest of the beautiful golden nut mixture. I should note that I am using the half brown sugar style noted in the recipe for the butterscotchy feel. But, what the heck am I doing wrong? It still tastes great, but it’s very odd and I’d like to know what I’m doing wrong, thanks!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Holly! I’m glad you like the toffee, and I love that you’ve adapted it so you can use different kinds of nuts. Wonderful! It certainly sounds like some of the butter is leaching out. I wish I could tell you why that is. It could possibly be humidity if where you live is super humid. My advice would be to cut back on the butter by 1/4, so instead of a pound, go with 3 sticks or 12 oz and see if that fixes the problem. You may consider stirring in 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda as soon as the temp reaches 310 and right before you pour it onto the Silpat/pan. Losing some of the fat may make the toffee harder than you’d like, and stirring in some soda at the end will help to lighten it so it’s not too crunchy/hard to bite. I can also throw the question out there to the facebook page and see if anyone else has any ideas. I will be sure to circle back here and let you know if anyone has more insight than I do.

    2. I just had another thought. What sort of butter are you using? If you’re using something like Plugra with a higher butterfat content, that could be the issue. Use a “regular” butter with about 80-81% butterfat (if you’re not already) such as Land O’ Lakes.

  2. OMG amazing! I adore toffee… I love the buttery very very slightly salty hint to it, love it. Love sucking on it. And the addition of chocolate and cashews practically makes it a meal! This is amazing (did I already say that?)!!!!

    1. I can assure you that is works as a meal replacement. So well that you have to make your husband take it out of the house! =) Toffee is one of my favorites, too. I love the creamy-crunch of it!

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