8/365: National English Toffee Day

It’s National English Toffee Day! After the hard work involved in making tempura last night, we were thankful that all we had to do to celebrate this holiday was unwrap a Heath Bar and take a bite.

Nobody really knows where toffee came from. Much like Carly Rae Jepsen, it just showed up one day without warning and stuck around. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is a variation of taffy, a chewy candy made by stretching a mixture of boiled sugar, butter, and artificial flavors and coloring. Toffee contains similar ingredients (molasses may be substituted for the sugar, and sometimes raisins or nuts are added) but is heated to the “hard crack” stage, which means either 295 to 310°F or 3-5 for possession with intent to distribute, depending on your definition. English toffee, a buttery version often made with almonds, is especially popular in the U.S. and is, in fact, the #1 snack choice of housewives who are addicted to Downton AbbeyDespite the name, it has little in common with the toffee that is popular in the U.K. Wot the bloody ‘ell?

English toffee can be either hard or soft – debate rages over which is the most authentic preparation. (“Rages” might be a bit of a stretch considering the English are notoriously polite folk. Except during soccer matches. The conversation probably went more like, “I say, ol’ chap, me mum always made ‘er toffee soft, but I can see the appeal in hard toffee, too. Cheerio!”).

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do with English toffee. I suppose we could have tried making a batch from scratch, or using it to make cookies or brownies, but (SPOILER ALERT!) the next couple of days are going to involve cookies and brownies, so we didn’t want to overdo it.

Also, thank god for that gym membership.

In a burst of inspiration, I suggested we crumble up the Heath bars, coat a chicken breast with them, and saute that in a pan with a little butter and olive oil. This seemed like something a contestant on Chopped would do. One look from Tara put the kibosh on that creative (though admittedly out-there) idea. This is why I’m so happy to have a partner for this challenge: she’s the voice of reason.

English Toffee

Real quick before we close this out (and because just unwrapping and eating a Heath Bar is a cop out), I wanted to at least share something toffee related.

I’ve never been a toffee fan.  I remember my mom occasionally stashing one in the freezer to snack on while us kids were in school.  Several years ago a friend (Hi, Doreen!) borrowed one of my cookbooks looking to try out some new recipes.  A few days later she came in with a cake that had toffee pieces on top.  To this day, it’s one of my favorite cakes to make.  I considered making it for today’s holiday, but we’ll be noshing on baked goods the next two nights and I can only take so many goodies to the office.  Instead, here’s the recipe for you fine folks.  It’s super easy and definitely a crowd pleaser.

Thigh Cake (aka Better Than Sex Cake)
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz jar caramel topping
8 oz tub whipped topping 
2 english toffee bars

Mix and bake cake according to directions in 9×13 pan. After baking, and while still warm, poke holes in cake with fork.  Pour canned milk and caramel topping over entire cake.  Let cool.  Spread whipped topping onto cake.  Top with toffee pieces (I freeze them overnight, place in a zip top bag, wrap in a hand towel, and break up the bars with a meat tenderizer).  Keep refrigerated.


Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “8/365: National English Toffee Day

  1. Momma Tracy

    Hmmmm….one of my favorite candies for sure. I suppose my almond butter crunch that I sent you was pretty close to english toffee. Guess it doesn’t matter but I really liked it!


    • Wait…National Butter Crunch Day is coming up on January 19th. Damn…I wish we still had some left. It was delicious!

      And you’re right, according to my research butter crunch is closely related to English toffee. You’re a smart cookie, Momma Tracy.


  2. MissJonna

    I love toffee, in all of it’s forms, and must admit, I think a Heath bar is a bit of a cop out. If nothing else, add some toffee bits to those brownies– extra yum!


    • Like I said, we have to draw the line somewhere. We didn’t repurpose the cream puffs…sometimes you just gotta dig in and eat it the way nature (or the candy conglomerates) intended! Thanks for following along, Jonna.


  3. Reblogged this on CANDY CRASH TEST.


  4. So far I am LOVING this new blog guys!


  5. You could have made a bit of homemade toffee by melting some butter in a saucepan & adding brown sugar to it. Cook until bubbly. Pour out onto wax paper. It will set hard & you can use something hard to break it. Also freezes!


    • It sounds pretty easy to make. Maybe next year! Wait…we’re not doing this challenge next year. But Eat My Words will live on – we’ve already got ideas for a brand new set of challenges in 2014. Stay tuned!


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