This coffee toffee is buttery, perfectly crunchy, deliciously sweet, and flavored with espresso powder, chocolate, and almonds. It makes a delicious holiday gift to yourself or for your friends!
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YOU GUYS! I have such a treat for you today. SUCH a treat! COFFEE TOFFEE!
That’s toffee flavored with coffee. Let that soak in for a minute.
And while it soaks in, answer a question for me: do you call a hard candy like this, made with butter, sugar, chocolate, and nuts, toffee? buttercrunch? almond roca?
I read that in the Northwest (where I grew up), it’s typically referred to as almond roca, but I’ve always reserved that name for a brand of candy that comes in little logs. . .the flat stuff is, to me, toffee.
Whatever you call it, it’s nothing short of magical. This coffee toffee is crunchy without sticking to your teeth, chocolate-y without being overly sweet, ever-so-slightly bitter from the espresso powder. Oomph. I could go on and on but I’ll just say this: I’ve made this recipe for years at the holidays and it’s always the first treat to disappear from Christmas cookie trays.
I’ve only held back from posting the recipe because I cannot, CANNOT, take decent pictures of food that is flat. Heaven help me if I ever have occasion to photograph tortillas.
So pardon my photography and just take my word that this is a recipe you need to make soon and often for years to come. And with that, let’s discuss how to make my favorite confection!
How to make coffee toffee
Actually, the following photographs illustrate how to make basically any toffee; the only difference is the espresso powder you stir in at the end. (I can usually find espresso powder in the coffee aisle at the grocery store. This is my favorite brand.)
Start by measuring out the espresso powder and vanilla before you begin your toffee. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP! The toffee will begin to set up pretty quickly once it’s off the heat and you don’t want to scramble to measure them out. Set them in a bowl next to the stove and you’re good to go.
Next, sprinkle some almonds on a large rimmed baking sheet. If you don’t have a large baking sheet, use two medium-sized ones. You don’t need to grease or otherwise line the baking sheet first.
And now you’re ready for the fun part! Combine butter, sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan with a heavy bottom. The heavy bottom is important to prevent the candy from scorching.
Stir the mixture occasionally until it comes to a boil, then clip on a candy thermometer. (More on candy thermometers below.) At this point you’re going to start stirring the toffee constantly.
Baker’s tip: Stir your toffee with a wooden spoon and use that spoon to scrape every inch of the pan’s bottom so your toffee doesn’t scorch. I move the thermometer around in the pan so I don’t end up with burned sugar underneath it.
See in these pics how the color is deepening and the bubbles are getting bigger? That’s what you’re looking for. The deep brown color is what gives toffee its caramel-y flavor. This process will take about 10 to 15 minutes and you don’t want to step away from the toffee at all at this point.
Once the toffee reaches 300 degrees, remove it from the heat and quickly stir in the espresso powder and vanilla. CAREFULLY pour the mixture over the almonds on your baking sheet.
Warning: Molten sugar is HOT. Hot in all caps. And dangerous too. This is not a recipe where you’d want children helping you, and I strongly recommend wearing long sleeves in case any molten sugar splashes onto your arms while you’re stirring your toffee.
Sprinkle chopped chocolate over the hot toffee, let it sit a minute, then spread the chocolate into an even layer. I use my favorite dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s but you can use chocolate chips if you prefer. Top the chocolate with almonds—mix in some chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans if you want even more coffee flavor!
Then let the toffee sit for several hours until the toffee is cool and the chocolate is set. (You will probably have to refrigerate your coffee toffee to get the chocolate set completely; this will cause streaks to form in the chocolate layer but it doesn’t affect the flavor. If you temper your chocolate first you can avoid the streaks but that’s not necessary.)
A note on clean-up: Cleaning up after making candy is not fun. I clean my pots by filling them with water as soon as possible after finishing my toffee. Then I set the pot on the stove over high heat until the water boils. Remove the pot from the heat and let the pot soak several hours (or overnight) and they’re significantly easier to clean.
What candy thermometer should I use?
I have a love/hate thing with candy thermometers. I love that they allow me to determine exactly how hot my candy is but I detest every thermometer I’ve ever used (and that’s a lot of thermometers). They all have their flaws but the one I use currently is this one; it’s the most reliable one I’ve owned.
I prefer a digital thermometer that beeps when it reaches a specified temp, but I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t die after a couple of uses. If you absolutely must have digital, I recommend this one; it lasted the longest for me.
If you have a favorite candy thermometer let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for a new one to try!
OK, one last pic of this crunchy, sweet, buttery, crumbly coffee toffee. Trust me, you’ll LOVE IT!
Did you make this simple coffee toffee? Fantastic! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. And post a pic on Instagram too! Tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your creations! Then like IBK on Facebook and follow on Pinterest for more delicious recipes.
Coffee toffee is a delicious homemade candy flavored with espresso powder. It's perfect for holiday gift-giving!
- 2 cups chopped toasted almonds divided
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups unsalted butter
- 2 cups granulate sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces dark, semisweet, or milk chocolate chopped
- Spread half of the almonds over 1 very large (12- by 17-inch) baking sheet (or 2 medium baking sheets).
- Combine the espresso powder and vanilla in a small bowl and set it next to the stove.
- Combine the butter, sugar, and water, and salt in a 3-quart saucepan with a heavy bottom. Set the saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.
- Once the mixture boils, insert a candy thermometer and stir constantly until the candy reaches 300 degrees.
- Remove pan from the heat and quickly stir in the instant espresso powder and vanilla. CAREFULLY pour the mixture over the almonds.
- Scatter the chopped chocolate over the toffee and let it sit for 2 minutes. Use an offset metal spatula to spread the chocolate into a thin layer and sprinkle the remaining almonds on top.
- Cool the toffee at room temperature for 4 hours, until the toffee and chocolate are both set. (Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, you may need to refrigerate the toffee once it’s cooled in order to set the chocolate.) Break into pieces and serve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Stir your toffee with a wooden spoon and use that spoon to scrape every inch of the pan’s bottom so your toffee doesn’t scorch.
- Molten sugar is HOT and it can be dangerous. This is not a recipe where you’d want children helping you, and I strongly recommend wearing long sleeves in case any molten sugar splashes onto your arms while you’re stirring your toffee.
- Cleaning up after making candy is not fun. I clean my pots by filling them with water as soon as possible after finishing my toffee. Then I set the pot on the stove over high heat until the water boils. Remove the pot from the heat and let the pot soak several hours (or overnight) and they’re significantly easier to clean.