Enstrom’s Style Toffee

This recipe was given to my daughter by an employee where she works in Grand Junction. Enstrom’s toffee is world renowned for being the best and manufactured in Grand Junction and shipped around the world. We are honored to have this recipe and share it with you!It will cost you about $7.50 for butter, sugar, chocolate and almonds to make this recipe. The finished recipe makes about three pounds of toffee, enough for several generous gifts.

Enstrom’s Style Toffee

  • 2 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 pound salted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 – 12 oz pkg milk chocolate chip
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds, chopped very, very finely in a blender- almost a powder

Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan – about 3 quart size over medium to medium high heat. Add the salt. When the butter is almost melted, add the sugar in quickly. Stir slowly, using a figure 8 motion with a wooden spoon. The sugar will not immediately dissolve or mix in, this is normal.

When the sugar absorbs into the butter the mixture will look more homogeneous and smooth. This takes 5-10 minutes. Then add the slivered almonds. This is what it will look like when you add the almonds. A would call this the blonde stage.

Continue to slowly stir the mixture in the saucepan for about another 10-15 minutes until the mixture reaches the hard crack stage. This is 290 Β° F on a thermometer. (I use the instant read thermometer with a probe which I also use for bread.) You will notice that the sugar mixture is turning a darker more caramel color and it is almost starting to smell like burnt sugar. You can also drop a small amount of the mixture into iced water to test for the hard crack stage. Do not under cook. This picture shows how much darker the mixture becomes.

If the mixture has reached 290 or hard crack, pour the mixture onto a large cookie sheet and allow it to spread out. Place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack NOT ON A COUNTER because the mixture is so hot it could warp your counter.

After the toffee hardens, about 30 minutes, melt half the chocolate chips in a double boiler and spread over the toffee in a thin layer. Sprinkle with finely diced almonds. When this is cooled, flip the toffee over and repeat. Spread the other half of the chocolate chips, melted over the toffee and sprinkle with finely chopped almonds. When it is totally cooled, put portions into cellophane bags tied with a ribbon to use for gifts.


  1. This toffee looks wonderful for “homemade”. The recipe says to use a “large cookie sheet”, would that be similar to a 11 x 15 jelly roll pan? Does this recipe require “sides” on the pan? Thank you for your timely holiday info. Merry Christmas!

  2. Holly Busch says:

    Do you grease the cookie sheet before pouring hot mixture on it? I guess it is not difficult to flip after it cools a bit?
    Thnak you!

  3. Well…….rats………and I thought I was finished with my baking. But who can resist THIS?! My family thanks you, my friends thank you….. πŸ™‚

    Merry Christmas

  4. It is 2am and I just finished making peppermint hard candy…I guess it is toffee tomorrow! Thanks for the tutorial Marilyn!

  5. Thanks so much I have been looking for this recipe. We have been given this as a gift before and are totally addicted to it.
    Christmas Blessings,

  6. Just curious if you or any one else knows if this can be made without the nuts. I have a child who is allergic to tree nuts and I’d love to be able to make this for my family.

    Merry Christmas!

  7. Do you need to butter the pan first???? Can’t wait to try this with my kids home! Might try it with dark chocolate, though. It’s more healthy, you know. :o) Kim

  8. Okay, I was a little intimidated by this one because I have never cooked anything to hard crack stage. But this is a winner. I poured the whole mess onto an unbuttered cookie sheet and then worried, because it seemed like it was going to stick. But after thirty minutes, the whole thing popped off with ease in one piece.

    Also, I put the chocolate only on the top, as the kids insisted on being able to taste the toffee part in their first bite. I am going to pack it up for friends toffee side down, then some waxed paper on the chocolate/almond part, and then a few more pieces. I am packing them in containers versus the cellophane.

    Hats off! This is easy!


  9. Oh, my goodness! State Fair here I come. I made this recipe this afternoon. And it was EASY and OH, SO GOOD. We had friends stop by and everyone left with toffee colored smiles. I did use an 11×15 pan with sides. However, the mixture was so nice and stiff when I poured it on the pan that I think you can still control it even without the sides, especially if you are using parchment paper. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  10. How wonderful! It is beautiful, tasty, and will be a gift of love. Thanks you for sharing and for make me look like a master candy maker.

  11. After numerous candy making failures over the years I was reluctant to try this recipe, but it sounded SOOO good. I am excited to say it turned out terrific and my family is very impressed. Great recipe, great directions and the pictures were worth a thousand words.

  12. WOW! That was so fun to make and I, too, was intimidated but with the pictures and all, it really was easy! THANKS so much for sharing.
    I made enough for our neighbors and my husband and youngest son went around our culdesac delivering the wrapped goodies with santa hats on!
    I wish I had pictures.
    I ran out of chocolate chips after 2 batches and used melting chocolate. It worked fine but the taste was a bit different yetstill very good.
    Thank you again.
    Merry Christmas,

  13. This is a very late thankyou for this great recipe! I am not one to make candy, but this past Christmas season I made a batch to give away. It made so much that I was able to give 3 gifts from one recipe. It was such a hit that I made it again to send away to my daughter who is in medical school. I like having the picture tutorial. Thanks again.

  14. Did this last year in 2007, it is wonderful! So easy and simple, I did it for gifts and it is very nice looking. I will do it again this year,make it a tradition I think.

  15. Hi Marilyn,
    Long time subscriber..but, I have never left a comment. Wanted to say thank you for your newsletters and ideas. They are wonderful. I did a blog about you today. I could not resist after reading your gift ideas. I am going to make the snowman soup. I look forward to trying the toffee.

  16. I use sliced almonds as they aren’t so hard to bite into. My recipe is similar- 3 c. sugar, a bit of water is also included. It’s delicious- for some reason last year, mine kept wanting to separate? Any ideas of WHY ??? Thanks, Marilyn! I’ve been thinking about you!

  17. Does the 290 deg. need to be adjusted if cooking at high altitude or is this the temp to use for high altitude. Thanks.

    Ed Note: At 6,000 feet where I live, I only cook to 274 degrees F. For each thousand feet or so of altitude, you need to cut the temperature approximately 2 degrees.

  18. I make toffee every Christmas and we all love it! It makes great gifts to have on hand when you need a last minute gift. I buy little cellophane bags and tie with curling ribbon. I don’t put chocolate on the bottom, just the top and I don’t put nuts in it just on the chocolate. Some I don’t put chocolate on at all. The ones I do want nuts in, I very finely chop pecans and dust the bottom of the pan with them then pour the toffee on top. I’m going to try the slivered almonds in it this time though! Thanks for the recipe. I never knew the correct temperature and always just cooked it until it “looked right” which is hard to tell someone else how to do!

  19. Annie Delaplane says:

    Ok, I need some help. From all of the replies I thought I could do this without any problem, I was wrong. As I was cooking the mixture the butter seemed to seperate from the sugar. After continuing to cook it for quite a bit longer than was suggested I tested the mixture in water and it appears to be in hard crack stage. I ended up scooping onto the cookie sheet to harden but I have about 1 cup worth of butter in the botton of my saucepan. Could it be that I used unsalted butter or the organic sugar that has a little bit of a different texture than regular refined suger?

  20. Angela Scott says:

    Hi, I had a question, I making this toffee today, when we were cooking it, it looked great until we added the slivered almonds, the butter separated from the mixture (quite a bit), I dumped out most of it before I put it in the pan. Do you have any idea what happended. the nuts I used were frozen, but I defrosted them before I put them in, but I’m not sure if they were still too cold. I haven’t tasted it yet, so I have not idea how it’s going to come out. If you have any wisdom on this I would appreciate it, i want to make more, but I’m afraid to now. Thanks, Angela πŸ™‚

  21. Thanks for the recipe. I made it for gifts. After the first batch, I made some adjustments to the recipe. I poured the toffee at soft crack stage (280F) and added the slivered almonds very late in the recipe. My first batch got too dark, and the almonds burned. After the modifications, the recipe was great!

    I also used Amish butter for the first two recipes, and the butter separated, but blended back in near the end. My third recipe, I used regular store bought butter, which it did not separate. I’m thinking that the Amish butter wasn’t made from pasturized and homogenized cream.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  22. Af first, I was intimidated to try this toffee as it had to cook to hard crack stage and I have never cooked candy to that stage. I make fudge and it turns out, and I am able to cook from any recipe, so I decided to try this toffee. I found the recipe when searching for an “Enstrom-style’ toffee.

    For those of you who said the butter separated, I want to confirm that my butter did as well, but at the very end as I continued to carefully stir in a figure 8 and cook it longer, the butter just quickly disappeared and absorbed. I think I cooked this to about 280ish as I live at 6000 ft. in Colorado.The toffee is on the cookie sheet pan now waiting until it is hard enough to do the chocolate layer.

    My word of caution is to be VERY, VERY careful as this mixture will burn you when it bubbles out. Take care not to get it on your hands and do not smell it with your face close to the pan while it cooks. I did get a small string of it on my hands while I was pouring and immediately immersed in cold water from the sink. Only a little redness but I can assure you that it was HOT!!! My husband is always telling me that I need to take extra precautions when dealing with hot things too!!!

    Thank you again for the recipe!

  23. Brenda Elrod says:

    In making this toffee one Christmas I found the butter separated after I had left the butter out too long (like overnight after I had been cooking and the kitchen was very warm/hot) and it was very soft even to the point of looking liquidy (if that is such a word). After doing this I have since made sure I do not leave the butter out too long before making the toffee. Hope this helps with answers.

    And…. sometimes I believe you don’t get the same quality butter each time your purchase because I don’t know about you gals but I buy what is on sale. Perhaps when making candy we should keep to the good quality butter and the same brand as well, especially if it worked best the first time as in my case.

  24. I was SO excited to see this recipe! I am from Grand Junction and remember field trips to Enstrom’s when it was a one room operation. I’ve introduced it to all of my extended family in the East. It’s a shame they’ve gotten so expensive. I’ll be making this recipe after my next marketing day πŸ™‚

    Thank you SO much for your wonderful site, catalog and testimony!

  25. Angela Scott says:

    Okay, this year I’m making this toffee agaian because it was such a hit last year. The same thing happened, we cooked the sugar with butter until the butter was incorporated into the sugar and looked great, we cooked it the set amount of time, we added the slivered almonds and soon after the butter seperated from the mixture, after the mixtured cooked and I was ready to put it on my cookie sheet, I poured out about 1 cup of butter. What am I doing wrong? It still tastes great, but I hate wasting all that butter (it’s probably better for me anyway). I may try and roast the almods seperately then add them at the very end of the cooking process. Any hints from anyone???

  26. Instead of slivered almonds, take whole almonds and give them a rough chop and scatter them on the pan where the cooked toffee will be poured. Be sure to keep the temperature on medium high and keep stirring every second. I use unsalted butter and put it in the pan cold and add the salt at the end after the mixture has been removed from the heat, stirring well after adding. Be sure to use a heavy bottomed pan too. If you put a jar of peanut butter out by where you are cooking the toffee should be the same exact color as the peanut butter when it’s done. It’s very easy to burn. If you continue to get bad results, try cutting the recipe in half. Making smaller batches usually yields better results in the candy making game. Good luck!

  27. Angela Scott says:

    Thanks Jenny, I’ll try the different tips you gave me. I’m hoping to make another batch before Christmas.

  28. Another tip: Boil water and put in your candy thermometer to see if your candy thermometer is accurate. Water boils at 212 degrees. My thermometer read 203 degrees in boiling water so I adjust for it. Take the toffee off two or three degrees before it hits the target temperature because it continues to climb quickly in temperature for about 15-30 seconds after you remove it from the heat. Remember it will be the same color as peanut butter when it is done cooking. This recipe says to cook it to 290, but I cook mine to 300. 300 to 310 is considered hard crack stage. It took me a long time to perfect this recipe. Some people say it’s easy as pie, but it was a long process for me and I can’t tell you how many failed batches I made. I wish you perfect toffee!

  29. Just found this recipe and I’m looking forward to trying it out. I have always made the English Toffee recipe from my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook, it is wonderful, but has the nuts & chocolate on the bottom. I want Toffee without the chocolate. Thanks!

  30. Thank you for this recipe! As a Christmas tradition, my grandmother who lived in Grand Junction would send all the families a box of this toffee. She passed away last year, and Christmas just wasn’t the same. Now that our family is much bigger, I didn’t think I could afford to carry on the tradition. But with this recipe, I can bring memories of grandma back for Christmas.

  31. Thanks so much for passing along this recipe! I made it yesterday and, what doesn’t get eaten today will hopefully go into gifts! πŸ˜‰ I grew up in Grand Junction…LOVE Entrom’s Toffee but am not in Colorado anymore and the toffee is very expensive. Thought this tasted just like it and was not difficult to make! YEAH!!! Thanks again. God bless. Have a blessed Christmas with your kids and happy travels!

  32. Hello,
    I had made the toffee by following your recipe twice. Thanks for this great recipe. The toffee just tasted so yummy. But I had the real Enstrom toffee before, and now I just have a new box of it on hand. So I compared the ones I made and the real ones. Here is the differences I noticed: Enstrom’s toffee is a little bit less sweeter, and harder than the homemade ones. Especilly the hardness, the homemade is a little bit more harder than the original one, original one is easier to chew on. Then is the nuts. The original one has more almonds than the homemade one, and the almonds are big chunks instead of slivered. Otherwise, I didn’t notice too much difference between these two. I will try to figure out how to make my less hard like the original one. Maybe a little bit less sugar and more almonds?Oh, I missed the biggest difference though, the Price! The original one costs $19.5 plus almost $10 shipping per pound, and the homemade one just 1/10 of the price per pound. Thanks again for giving this great recipe out, and it’s tasted just so close.

  33. Marilyn Moll says:

    My toffee isn’t so hard. Possibly your’s is hard from slightly overcooking? Not sure – it may vary batch to batch. Thanks for pointing out the huge price difference, however!!! One batch makes me 3-6 gifts depending on the size of the gift and is very much appreciated.

  34. Just made this yesterday and it turned out perfect! Thank you so much!

  35. We are going to make this on Christmas eve! I cant wait to try this. We actually just got a box of the original delivered to our office. AND I AM IN LOVE!!! I hope it turns out as good.!

  36. Jan Laramore says:

    I made this recipe for the first time with a young homeschooled girl whom I am tutoring and also am teaching some cooking skills. We jumped into this one with both feet, and were met with great success! It was a little challenging and perhaps required some advanced skills which are both good things for her to experience. What a wonderful, delicious way for her to be introduced to candymaking! We will both use and treasure this recipe and share its results ;)with others for the rest of our lives. . .thank you SO much for sharing it with us!

  37. I’m in the process of waiting for the toffee to cool right now. It looks wonderful already. I read a lot of people mention the separating of the butter, I had that too, around boiling point, then as the temperature started to rise more and I carefully kept stirring (kinda scooping butter into the mixture again, almost the motion like folding egg whites) the melted butter disappeared right back into the candy. It then became more liquid again too.
    My thermometer didn’t seem to be accurate at all, and I didn’t have an ice bath ready, so I eyeballed it. I took it off the stove right when there was a faint smell of burnt sugar appearing. I tasted a little bit that cooled on my offset spatula and it tasted awesome, so I’m very hopeful to have a wonderful end result.
    If this turns out as good as I think, I’ll never (have my mom who still lives in Colorado) spend that crazy much on the candy again!!!!

  38. I made a batch of this today – it’s AWESOME!!! I live at about 6,000 feet so it took a little longer, I’ll be making this every year – Thank you for sharing.

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