Grandma Sara’s Butter Brickle

Here’s one you’ll want to add to your holiday cooking list, and I’m telling you right now, plan on making a double batch because it goes fast. This is Grandma Sara’s butter brickle, or English toffee. She made it every year at Christmastime, and a batch of this, placed in a special piece of pottery, was the coveted gift in our family gift exchange for years!  I learned to make this many years ago, but even though I follow her recipe closely, I still say hers tasted better.


2/3 c. sliced almonds, crushed, divided into 2 parts
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate is okay too, because really, when does milk chocolate not work, anyway?)

All you need to make this awesome stuff.

Prepare pan: Line a cookie sheet that has sides (jelly roll pan) with foil, then butter the foil (or spray with PAM). Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of crushed sliced almonds. (Or more than that if you really dig nuts.)

Prepared pan. Feel free to use more almonds.

Place brown sugar, butter and vanilla in heavy saucepan. Cook on medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reads 300 degrees (hard crack stage).

Do NOT stop stirring! It takes longer than you think it will, so wear comfortable shoes and don’t be in a hurry.

It's almost done!

Remove sugar mixture from heat and pour it evenly over almonds on cookie sheet. Sprinkle it with chocolate chips. Wait several minutes to allow chocolate chips to melt, then spread them evenly over sugar mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup of almonds over top of melted chocolate.

Allow to cool completely (refrigerate to speed the process, or put it outside if it’s cold out), then break into smallish pieces. Store in a covered container in a cool location. Hide it from your spouse and children, because once they find it? It’s as good as gone.

UPDATE, 7 DECEMBER 2010. I’ve added a few photos, but it seems I neglected to snap a shot of the finished product.  Coincidentally, Ree (Pioneer Woman) posted a similar recipe with much better photos. Go check it out!

Update, 22 November 2011. Finally – a photo of the finished product:

Butter Brickle
Butter Brickle. Yum.

26 thoughts on “Grandma Sara’s Butter Brickle

  1. my niece made this – the moment i walked in the house i saw it and was blown away! so beautiful and so tasty. I am making it today. can’t wait to c how it turns out!

  2. Thanks for sharing this Butter Brickle recipe. I have tried three others recently and this one turned out to be the best. The Butter Brickle i just made is better than any other . Buttery and smooth and melts on your tongue . Better than See’s or Fannie may candies. wow.
    Thanks again, Kool Bear Ken.

  3. Wow!! I just made this and it is the best candy I have ever made!! I used Hershey’s chocolate bars instead of chips because this is what my family likes. I don’t think they are going to make it until I pass out the Christmas treats. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I love it!!!

  4. My brother in law made this and it was absolutely yummy. My daughter and I are going to give it away for Christmas gifts to our neighbors.

  5. Need some help. I followed the recipe and when the thermometer hit 300, I removed from heat and poured over the almonds. As I was pouring, the butter started separating from the brown sugar. What did I do wrong?

    1. My guess is your thermometer isn’t accurate. Test it on boiling water. Should be 212. If not, toss it or make the adjustment. Meg’s cousin Susan had the same problem as yours and bought a good candy thermometer, and had success.

  6. Daisy – yes, it’s OK – it probably means you cooked it over slightly too-high heat and the sugar just started to burn the tiniest bit. If anything though, that makes it taste better. In fact, the sugar mixture should just be starting to darken when it reaches the hard crack stage, so I bet yours turned out extra delicious!

  7. Also, it isn’t safe to leave it out a room temperature, because the Butter Brickle Gremlins sneak in and take it away for “safe-keeping”! If dietary restrictions didn’t proscribe all that sugar, I’d be mixing up some myself. Instead, I will rely on the sweet memory of eating the product of Grandma Sara’s efforts. Meg, she’d be proud of you.

  8. This looks so good I’m actually sneaking looks over my shoulder to make sure no one’s looking at me. Because I feel certain I’m about to get in trouble.

    1. Hi Esther – ideally, in the refrigerator, separated by layers of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Make sure it’s COLD before you break it into pieces, which will help keep it from sticking, too. You definitely don’t want it to sit at room temperature for very long. Hope this helps! –meg

  9. aunt mary makes peanut brickle that is probably the same recipe and i look forward to getting my small box every year!! i love your blog and read it often. commenting is hard since i often have a child or 2 on my lap when i’m reading! enjoy the holidays!

    1. Never admitted it to my Mom, but I thought your Grandma’s brickle recipe was even better. Wonder if that’s what your Aunt Mary is using?

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