Equal parts sugar and real butter account for the rich flavor and beautiful golden color in this classic candy.
This crunchy candy is bursting with buttery flavor punctuated with notes of oak and cherry, thanks to a shot of bourbon whiskey. Good toffee requires very few ingredients to make and depends on 1:1 ratio of sugar and real butter for its outstanding flavor and deep hue.
You’ll begin this recipe with basic pantry staples – which means you may already have all of the ingredients on hand! White sugar, brown sugar, and real butter (no substitutes!) make the magic happen as they bubble together in the pot.
Cube the butter before you get started. Scattering the butter cubes around the inside of the pot will help it evenly distribute as it cooks with the sugar.
During the cooking process, the protein molecules in butter react with the sugar to produce caramelization known as Maillard reaction. This results in flavorful compounds and complex subtleties that make the candy absolutely delectable!
Toasted English walnuts are my favorite toffee topping, and they work well with the mild flavor of the bourbon whiskey in the candy.
Crunchy goodness, right here!
A batch packaged in a candy tin makes a beautiful homespun gift. It might also make a sweet St. Patrick’s Day treat – just swap the bourbon for a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
This recipe was developed using real butter and dairy for the American Butter Institute and their website Go Bold With Butter!
Whiskey Butter Toffee
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup unsalted butter cubed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt plus more for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the walnuts on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool completely on the pan.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, sugars, whiskey and sea salt. Place over medium-high heat and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture reaches 250°F, then whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 298°F. Remove from the heat.
- Immediately pour the hot candy onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle on the toasted walnuts. Sprinkle over the candy one or two pinches of flaky sea salt.
- Let the candy set at room temperature until hard and brittle, about 30 minutes. Break the candy into pieces. Store the candy at room temperature in an air-tight container.
Thank you so much for posting this (and for all your beautiful recipes)! I made this yesterday as a treat for my family. It was incredibly easy (thanks to your directions) and turned out perfectly. We all agreed that the walnuts were a wonderful counterpoint to the sweet toffee. I did have a question: I used high-quality bourbon but had trouble detecting bourbon flavor in the finished toffee. Would it be possible to perhaps add another tablespoon to increase the bourbon flavor, or would that negatively affect the finished recipe? Thanks again, this was out-of-this-world delicious and I look forward… Read more »
Hi Jana! Thanks for the kind words!
If the flavor of the whiskey isn't coming through, add 1-2 tablespoons of whiskey near the end of cooking as you're whisking. The mixture will bubble and sputter with this addition so be careful. You may want to wear an oven mitt on your whisking hand because the addition will also make the candy steam for a moment. You should have no problem detecting the whiskey flavor in the finished candy with this method. It's just a little riskier for novice candy-makers. Thanks for giving the recipe a try! xo-h
Is that 1-2 tablespoons of whiskey while whisking in addition to the amount called for at the beginning? Thanks!
Hi Cheryl! In addition to. Alcohol is so volatile that it cooks off almost immediately leaving just the flavor of the whiskey behind. For the most obvious flavor, add additional 1-2 tablespoons of whiskey at the end.