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Toffees & Caramels

Looking at a certain golden sugar candy, it is easy to get confused whether it is a toffee or a caramel… or even think, there’s a difference between the two?  One simple difference is that toffees are usually crunchy and hard while caramels are chewy and soft.

Their ingredients lists also have some differences:  Caramels are made by combining sugar, water, and cream or milk, while toffees are made from sugar and butter.  The caramel is also heated up to 248 degrees Fahrenheit, when the mixture reaches the “firm ball” stage of cooking sugar, while the toffee gets heated up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, when it comes to the “hard crack” stage.

Toffee and Caramel Trivia

  • April 5th is National Caramel Day while January 8th is the National Toffee Day!
  • The earliest record for the word toffee was back in 1825 when it appeared in the oxford English Dictionary. It was not clear, however, the origin and the usage of the word.  One of the theories was that it came from the word tafia, which is a West Indian rum derived from molasses or sugarcane juice.
  • Popular chocolate brand, Hershey’s, actually produced caramels first before chocolates, through The Lancaster Caramel Company. They had been shipping caramels across the States and even to Europe, establishing the owner, Milton Hershey’s standing in the confectionery industry.  This became the foundation of his business when he created his iconic milk-chocolate bar.
  • It is said that the first incarnations of caramels are hard candies, dating back to the 17th Early American settlers cooked sugar and water together to make these affordable, easy to make and shelf stable candies.

Toffee and Caramel Buying Guide

For those with the sweet tooth and endless sugar cravings, caramels and toffees are available from caramel and toffee makers and producers, as well as even other dessert shops and even chocolate stores!

Toffees can be sold in its hardened form like brittles, while caramels can be bought as chewy candies.  These can also be bought or made in its liquid form, to be used as sauces and coatings in many other desserts!

Toffee and Caramel Production & Farming in Texas

Caramel and toffee makers in Texas have also tried their hand at giving a new spin on these old-time favorites!  They have created unique flavors and combinations, which highlight the taste and characteristics of these sugary concoctions!  Aside from the caramel and toffee producers in the state, dessert shops, candy companies, and even chocolatiers have made these irresistible candies available!

Preservatives, Additives, and Chemicals

Caramels and toffees, in general, are high in sugar content, so that in itself should pose caution for people to consume these candies or sauces in moderation.  Additional risks include when makers use store-bought or artificial ingredients like corn syrup, processed sweetened condensed milk, as well as the mix-ins!  So make sure to check that you are grabbing all-natural and preservative/additive-free options!

Here are some other ingredients that you might find in the ingredients list of toffees and caramels, especially the commercially processed ones!

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup – The HFCS is an artificial sugar that is made from corn syrup. Commercial producers of products usually use this, as the HFCS is a cheaper substitute to natural sweeteners. But overconsumption of items with this ingredient can be linked to several serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and heart disease.
  • Soy Lecithin – Lecithin is derived from many sources such as egg yolks, liver, peanuts, and most commonly in soy. It is usually used as an emulsifier, allowing oil and water to be mixed together. It also helps extend shelf life and reduce the stickiness of the food. But while it may seem harmless, the controversy comes to how the lecithin is produced. Others still deem it as artificial since it is extracted using harsh chemicals, or it is derived from genetically modified soybean plants. Make sure to look for the “organic soy lecithin” label when you buy your food.


Caramel and toffee candies are often individually wrapped in transparent plastic, before batches of them are packed in sealed plastic packs or in pouches.  Some are sold by the bulk as well in bigger plastic or glass bottles and jars.

Enjoying Toffees and Caramels

Caramels can be enjoyed in its chewy or even hard candy variations.  They are also used as sauces and dips, from melting the candies, or making the mixture from scratch, to be used as syrups as dessert toppings or fillings, and even to coat chocolates, ice creams, or basically anything you want to put caramel on!

Toffees are often used as bars, brittle, and barks.  Just like caramels, toffee mixture, bits or sauces are also added and infused to several desserts to give it unique sugary flavor!  And also, who will forget the candy apples, or the toffee apples!


Toffees can be stored in any, cool dry place to keep it good for about a few days.  To make it last for about several weeks, keep it away from the heat in an airtight container.  It is said that since toffee contains butter, it has a tendency to oxidize and turn rancid if kept at room temperature for a long time.  Also, make sure to preserve its crunch!

For homemade caramel candies, it is recommended to individually wrap the candies in plastic before storing them in a zip-top bag or in an airtight canister.  This helps protect the caramel from losing or absorbing moisture from the air, which turns it too sticky or too hard.  If stored in the freezer, it is said that caramels can stay fresh for up to six months.

Homemade Toffee and Caramel Recipes

It is easy to grab a pack of toffees and caramels anywhere. But if you want to try your hand at making these, here is Martha Stewart’s caramel candy recipe, and BBC Good Food’s take on brittle toffee!

Classic Caramel Candy


  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 ¼ cups light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Grab a baking sheet and lightly brush the bottom and the sides with the vegetable oil.  Line it with parchment that is long enough to have a 2-inch overhang on the longer sides.  Also, brush some oil into the parchment.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup.  Bring it into a boil over high heat while stirring to fully dissolve the sugar.  Reduce the heat to medium-high, while stirring occasionally.  Continue doing this until the caramel mixture reaches 248 degrees Fahrenheit. Check by using a candy thermometer.  This will usually take about 15 minutes.
  3. Immediately remove the caramel from heat then stir in the salt and vanilla.
  4. Pour the mixture to the baking sheet.  Let stand uncovered at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
  5. Use the parchment overhang to lift the caramel to a cutting board.  Chop the caramel into desired sizes.  Make sure to wrap each piece in waxed paper or cellophane.

Brittle Toffee


  • 450 grams golden caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 50 grams salted butter


  1. Use an a4 sized-tin and line it with baking parchment.  Oil this really well.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, mix the sugar, cream of tartar, butter and 150-ml of hot water.  Heat gently and stir occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Turn up the heat and put the sugar thermometer in the pan.  Continue boiling until it reaches 140 degrees Celsius or the soft crack stage.  This may take about 30 minutes.  Make sure to not leave the pan unattended and constantly monitor the temperature.
  4. Pour into the tin and leave to cool.
  5. Remove the toffee from the tin and break it using a toffee hammer or rolling pin.



  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 67.2 3%
  • Carbs: 7.8g 3%
  • Sugar: 7.6g
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 0.1g 0%
  • Fat: 3.9g 6%
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g 12%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 12.5mg 4%
  • Sodium 16.2mg 1%
  • Vitamin C 0mg 0%
  • Vitamin A 138IU 3%
  • Calcium 4.1mg 0%
  • Iron 0mg 0%
  • Potassium 6.1mg 0%
  • Vitamin E 0.1mg 1%
  • Vitamin K 0.3mcg 0%
  • Folate 0.2mcg 0%
  • Magnesium 0.5mg 0%
  • Phosphorus 3.8mg 0%
  • Manganese 0mg 0%
  • Copper 0mg 0%
  • Zinc 0mg 0%

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