Pumpkin Spice Toffee

Make chewy, buttery, and crunchy pumpkin spice toffee on the stove with only 8 ingredients. Top with a layer of sweet white chocolate and add lots of flavorful toasted pecans for an irresistible fall treat. Follow my video tutorial and guide for helpful homemade candy tips.

Chewy, buttery, and crunchy pumpkin spice toffee made on the stove with only 7 simple ingredients! Topped with white chocolate and toasted pecans. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This month marks the 3rd birthday of Sally’s Candy Addiction cookbook! And with Halloween around the corner, I figure it’s the perfect time to share a homemade candy recipe from my book! And not just any recipe, literally the best recipe. This is pumpkin spice toffee and you can find the recipe below and on page 109 in Sally’s Candy Addiction.

About Sally’s Candy Addiction

My best-selling cookbook, Sally’s Candy Addiction cookbook (<– more book photos and info there!), was published in 2015. This cookbook is complete with 75 photographed recipes that are exclusive to the cookbook. You will find how-to’s, tips, tricks, and recipes for everything from toffee, caramels, and fudge to truffles, chocolate bark, and marshmallows. Plus a chapter filled with cupcakes, cookies, and cakes using candy such as Snickers, M&Ms, and more. This cookbook was voted one of the best cookbooks of October 2015 on Amazon!

Chewy, buttery, and crunchy pumpkin spice toffee made on the stove with only 7 simple ingredients! The BEST fall candy! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

What is Toffee?

Have you ever eaten homemade toffee before? Like REAL homemade toffee? A simple combination of butter and sugar, toffee is your sweet tooth’s dream. Unlike hard-as-rock brittle, toffee softens and melts in your mouth. There are dozens of ways to prepare it including cinnamon toffee or dark chocolate almond toffee. You can even make a shortcut version like this popular saltine toffee. Today, we’re focusing on a seasonal gem. Thick, sweet, salty, pumpkin spiced, toasted pecan filled, white chocolate covered toffee. This is my favorite recipe in the entire cookbook and if you visited me on my book tour a few years ago, you likely tasted it!

Chewy, buttery, and crunchy pumpkin spice toffee made on the stove with only 7 simple ingredients! Topped with white chocolate and toasted pecans. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ingredients in Pumpkin Spice Toffee

I bet you didn’t know that you only need a few ingredients and a stove to make homemade toffee. Here are the basic toffee ingredients I use and why each is imperative to the final taste and texture:

  1. Butter: Butter is the base of toffee. Cut it into pieces before adding to the saucepan.
  2. Warm water: The melted butter will be warm, so the water should be as well. Any sudden changes in temperature spells candy disaster.
  3. Granulated sugar: Not brown sugar, which holds too much moisture. Though brown sugar is my ideal choice in most baked goods, I never use it for toffee because the candy won’t set properly.
  4. Salt: Toffee is supremely salty and sweet! It’s the best.
  5. Light corn syrup: There’s a lot of debate over adding corn syrup to toffee, but I always use it. Corn syrup guarantees a smoother texture (no sugar crystals!) especially when cooked to a high temperature. Though other liquid sweeteners can sometimes be substituted for corn syrup, candy making is not one of those instances. Again, it’s chemistry! You only need 1 teaspoon for the recipe.

For today’s pumpkin spice toffee, we’ll also add:

  • Pecans: Offer texture and a delicious nuttiness! Toast them before beginning for even more flavor.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: Gives the toffee classic fall flavor. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own using 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice.
  • White Chocolate: Use baking white chocolate, found in the baking aisle. I suggest Bakers, Ghirardelli, or Lindt brands. Baking chocolate is sold in 4 ounce bars, so you’ll need 1.5 bars. If desired, you could use 8 ounces and have an extra thick layer of white chocolate on top. 🙂

Ingredients for pumpkin spice toffee on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Toffee

Cook the first 5 ingredients on the stove until the candy reaches 290°F (143°C), known as the Soft Crack Stage. Once it reaches 290°F (143°C), about 25 minutes (though that highly depends on your stove because on an electric stove in my old kitchen, it took 40 minutes and now on my gas cooktop– 25 minutes!), you’ll stir in the pecans and pumpkin pie spice. If you have 10 minutes before you begin, I strongly recommend toasting the pecans in the oven. After you stir them into the cooking toffee, pour it all out onto a lined baking sheet, then let it cool for about 5 minutes before topping with melted white chocolate, more toasted pecans, and pumpkin pie spice. Let it cool and break into pieces.

I guarantee this will be the best pumpkin treat you taste the entire fall season because it’s not muffins, cookies, or bread. It’s homemade pumpkin spice candy! Such a unique treat.

Cooking toffee on the stove to 290 degrees Fahrenheit on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Spreading white chocolate on pumpkin spice toffee on sallysbakingaddiction.com

5 Helpful Tools

Candy Thermometer: There’s no way to make old-fashioned toffee that (1) has a crumbly texture (2) has zero sugar graininess and (3) is literally bursting with the caramelized flavors of properly cooked butter and sugar… without a candy thermometer! This tool makes the entire candy cooking process EASIER- there’s no mistaking temperature. For ease, I recommend a digital candy thermometer that clips onto your pot like this one or this one. If calibrated, a candy thermometer is more accurate than using your eyes to detect candy’s doneness.

  • Calibrate: I’ve never had to do this, but if you think your candy thermometer’s readings are off, you can test it with a pot of boiling water. At sea level, water boils at 212°F (100°C). Each 500-foot increase in altitude lowers the boiling point by about 1 degree. If your candy thermometer reads above or below the boiling point for your location, make the necessary adjustment when cooking candy.

Heavy bottomed saucepan: I’ve ruined many batches of toffee by using a cheap pan. A deep and thick saucepan with straight sides is the ideal place to cook candy. Thin pans, which often have hot spots, do not withstand the heat required for toffee cooking. I burned 837258 batches of toffee before realizing this. These days I have a few pans I use for making toffee: here, here, and here. All three pots are excellent choices. The Cooks Standard is a great option for beginners, while the All-Clad and copper pot are ideal for controlling the temperature of your candy. Well-crafted, heavy, and maintaining precise temperature, copper cookware is the best for candy making.

Wooden spoon: Wood has a high heat tolerance. It also doesn’t conduct heat, so it won’t suck heat out from the cooking candy which causes crystallization. If you need one, here’s a wooden spoon set that I love for all my cooking!

  • Crystallization: the formation of sugar crystals in cooking candy. It will turn your smooth syrup into a lumpy and grainy mess!

Pastry brush: A pastry brush helps rid the saucepan of sugar syrup that may have splashed up around the sides. This syrup could burn and crystallize, ruining your batch of toffee. Wet it with water and wipe the sides of the pan clean. It’s ok if some water drips down into the cooking candy.

Silicone baking mat: A silicone baking mat makes your candy making experience much easier. Why? When you pour the toffee out onto the baking sheet, it is so much easier to spread onto AND remove from this slick silicone surface compared to a bare baking sheet, parchment, or aluminum foil.

Chewy, buttery, and crunchy pumpkin spice toffee made on the stove with only 7 simple ingredients! Topped with white chocolate and toasted pecans. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Pumpkin Spice Toffee Video Tutorial

Now that you’ve read up on toffee-making, watch me make the pumpkin spice toffee from start to finish with helpful tips along the way. Most of the “work” is stirring on the stove. Not too bad, right?

6 Homemade Candy Tips

  1. Smaller/larger batch: I don’t recommend halving, doubling, or tripling candy recipes, especially this toffee. Increasing or decreasing the quantity may work for baking, but the extra or decreased volume could prevent the candy from cooking properly. Make separate batches instead. Or if you need less, simply freeze or gift the leftovers.
  2. Weather: Candy is picky about the weather. Never cook candy on a particularly humid day, as it will absorb moisture from the air, which will result in too-soft candies or even crystallization. Cool, dry days are ideal.
  3. How to clean a sticky saucepan: It’s not always easy or fun, but I have a helpful solution! When you’re finished making sticky candy, simply fill the dirty saucepan with water until the water covers all of the candy residue. Place any utensils, such as spoons or knives, that may have gotten dirty inside the saucepan. Place the saucepan on the stove over low heat. Let the warm water simmer and melt the sugar off the sides of the pan. Pour out the warm water, then let the tools sit until cool enough to handle. Rinse clean.
  4. Medium heat: Fast doesn’t always win the race. Cook the toffee on medium heat. A gradual rise in temperature prevents scorching.
  5. Butter separation: If you notice the butter separating during the cooking process, remove the pan from heat and stir vigorously to bring the mixture back together.
  6. Be prepared: Read through the recipe and watch the video above before starting. Have all of your tools ready and ingredients measured next to the stove because things happen quickly!

Chewy, buttery, and crunchy pumpkin spice toffee made on the stove with only 7 simple ingredients! The BEST fall candy! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade candy, toffee especially, has the reputation for being difficult and finicky. The rumors are definitely true; candy making is legit chemistry. However, if you have the right tools and follow the recipe closely, you’re guaranteed success. I’ve made way too many mistakes to let your batch of toffee fail!

More Pumpkin Spice Recipes

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Chewy, buttery, and crunchy pumpkin spice toffee made on the stove with only 7 simple ingredients! Topped with white chocolate and toasted pecans. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Pumpkin Spice Toffee

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pound
  • Category: Candy
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Pumpkin spice toffee only requires a handful of basic ingredients and will be your new favorite fall treat.


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) chopped unsalted pecans
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup (120g) warm water
  • 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon (215g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided*
  • 6 ounces (170g) quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped*

Instructions

  1. Toast the pecans: Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread the chopped pecans on top and toast for 7-8 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside. 1 cup will be used inside the toffee and the rest are sprinkled on top.
  2. Make the toffee: While stirring with a wooden spoon, melt the butter over medium heat in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan. Once melted, add the water, 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, salt, and corn syrup. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves, then brush down the sides of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure the bulb is not touching the bottom of the pan (as you’ll get an inaccurate reading).
  3. Stir the mixture every minute as it begins to boil. Rapid bubbles, a thicker consistency, and a slightly darker color form around 240°F (116°C). Continue to stir every minute until it reaches 290°F (143°C; soft crack stage). Be watchful– the temperature slowly rises in the beginning, but then skyrockets quickly. If you notice it’s rising very fast, you can even turn off the heat when the toffee reaches 285°F (141°C), as it will continue to cook in the few seconds after.
  4. Immediately remove the pan from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1 cup toasted pecans. Pour the toffee out onto a silicone baking mat lined baking sheet. Smooth into an even layer. The toffee should be thick and not spread all the way to the edges of the pan. Cool the toffee for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, get the toppings ready. Mix the remaining 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Melt the white chocolate. You can melt it in a double boiler or use the microwave. I melt it in the microwave in 20 second increments, stopping and stirring after each.
  6. Spread the melted white chocolate on top of the toffee, then sprinkle with remaining pecans and sugar/pumpkin pie spice mix.
  7. Refrigerate toffee for 20 minutes or until white chocolate has set. Peel off the silicone baking mat and break toffee into pieces.
  8. Store toffee in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Freeze toffee for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Special Tools: 12×17-inch (or similar size) Rimmed Baking Sheet | Wooden Spoon | Silpat Baking MatCopper Saucepan (or this pan or this pan) | Pastry Brush | Candy Thermometer – either of these
  3. Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice.
  4. White Chocolate: Use baking white chocolate, found in the baking aisle. I suggest Bakers, Ghirardelli, or Lindt brands. Baking chocolate is sold in 4 ounce bars, so you’ll need 1.5 bars. If desired, you could use 8 ounces and have an extra thick layer of white chocolate on top. 🙂
  5. Tip: If you notice the butter separating at any time during the cooking process, remove the pan from heat and stir vigorously to bring the mixture back together.
  6. Candy Cooking Stages: Though I always encourage the precision of a trusty candy thermometer, it’s helpful to be familiar with candy cooking stages. I included a chart on page 17 in Sally’s Candy Addiction, but you can find a thorough one here as well. To use the chart, simply drop a bit of the candy syrup from a clean spoon into a small glass bowl of very cold water and watch what happens. You’ll cook toffee to 290°F (143°C), which is the soft crack stage.
  7. Be extra careful as cooking candy is very hot and may splash; wear long sleeves and have a pair of kitchen gloves or oven mitts handy.

86 Comments

  1. This is the perfect recipe to make for fall! I’ve only ever made your dark chocolate almond toffee and it’s my favorite ever recipe. I have a couple of questions about the differences in the recipe. With the almonds one, you added the nuts at 265 F and cooked the mixture till it hit 290. Is there a reason this is different? I’ve had trouble with the mixture separating after the addition of nuts. Will this help?
    Also, could I replace pecans with almonds or cashews?

    1. Hi Krithika! I found that the nuts mix in a little easier when the toffee is finished cooking. However, both methods work just fine. Toffee doesn’t spread very easily as it’s sticky and there’s lumps/bumps from the nuts, but do your best with a wooden spoon. You can use almonds or cashews in this pumpkin spice toffee instead.

  2. If I don’t have pumpkin pie spice, what spices and how much of each would you use to make the 1.25 teaspoons needed for this recipe? Thank you! I can’t wait to try this!

    1. Thanks for catching that, Carol. I added the note about the pumpkin pie spice. There isn’t a note for the white chocolate.

      1. Sally, do you have a recommendation for the type of white chocolatier? I’ve found that unless I use the wafer kind, I think that has a bit of wax in it maybe, it never fully sets. But I wouldn’t consider that high quality. What did you use?

  3. This looks amazing! Such a great treat for October. I can’t even predict how many batches I’ll need to make this fall!

  4. Im definitely going to try this. Ive already read through and watched your video twice!! I’ve made toffee in the past but failed. Each time ive had a layer of butter on to in the end. Im hoping it’ll be different this time. Do you know why Ive always had a layer of butter floating on top? I have used all the supplies you’ve mentioned.

    1. Hi Jacquelyn! Make sure you are stirring the cooking candy every minute or so. This helps prevent the butter from separating. If you notice it separating regardless, remove the pan from heat and vigorously stir until it comes back together. See my recipe note about this AND be extra careful as it’s hot!

  5. I usually fail making your vanilla caramel and salted caramel. I am worried that I might make this toffee complete disaster. I do not have a candy thermometer. Maybe that’s the problem? Do you recommend still making it without the candy thermometer or just doing the alternate baking challenge?

    1. Hi Gina! You’re guaranteed better success using a candy thermometer. Most candy recipes require it. Keeping that in mind, you can purchase one or try the alternate challenge. 🙂

    2. Sally’s right that you’re better off using a candy thermometer. But I have a recipe for toffee that gives no temperature, just “cook until the color of peanut butter.” I have made this dozens of times with a jar of Jif creamy peanut butter handy for comparison, and I’ve never had a failed batch. That said, now that I know the temp to reach is 290 F, I’ll be using my candy thermometer for toffee in the future. It will certainly be easier!

  6. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since your book tour! If I forgot to tell you before, the pictures you took while you were here in Portland were really great. I said I was going to make the toffee, and then it didn’t happen for some reason so I’m really going to try to make it happen this month.

  7. Hi Sally!!
    I really love your baking challenges!! I just tried my hand at Choux pastry & made eclairs for the first time thanks to you. Looking forward to this candy recipe. I’ve made your cinnamon almond toffee before & it is to DIE for!!! So so good!! Love (almost) all things pumpkin this time of year so will most definitely be trying this toffee flavor.

  8. What are your thoughts about cooking the toffee in a glass pot? I don’t have a good copper pot, and I really want to make this!

  9. Sally-I’ve never really used white chocolate so it confuses me-I bought two Bakers and Lindt (as in found in the candy aisle) I’m always confused at what you’re supposed to use for recipes like this. Thank you

    1. Hi Jen! I just added a note about the white chocolate since I received a few questions about it. I prefer Bakers, Ghirardelli, or Lindt.

  10. This looks like such a delicious and easy recipe. Thank you for the video. I’m a visual learner, so it is greatly appreciated. I’m in the mood for making Fall treats and this one looks perfect for my limited time. I’ll be making this in a few days and let you know how the family and friends like it

  11. I have the candy thermometer that you recommend but I don’t think it’s calibrated correctly so could I use a meat thermometer?

  12. Hi Sally,
    Just made this and the flavor combo is phenomenal! Mine spread too much though after pouring on the baking sheet…it almost went all the way to the edges of the Silpat, which is exactly what you said should not happen. Any idea what I did wrong? Thanks for your top quality recipes!

    1. Hey Catherine! It sounds like the butter may have separated a little or wasn’t completely incorporated into the toffee. That’s perfectly fine– if you decide to try it again, really give it a good stir every minute as it cooks to incorporate that butter. Even remove it from heat as it nears 290F to stir it vigorously!

  13. I’m going to make this for my boy’s Cub Scouts Halloween pack meeting! Can’t wait to try it during “quality control”.

  14. Hi Sally- I want to make this for a family reunion this weekend 🙂 My question is in regards to the cooking pot- would a Dutch oven work for this? I know you say to use a heavy-bottom pot… when I make caramel for the fantastic bacon caramel corn recipe I usually use the Dutch oven and it comes out fine… but since this cooks for so much longer I am just curious if I can get away with using it here. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Hi Angela! You know, I’ve never tried cooking this homemade toffee in a dutch oven pot, but assuming it is the correct 3 quart size, you can use one. The candy may take longer on the stove because dutch ovens take longer to heat up.

      1. As you saw on IG, it came out PERFECTLY. And you are right– it took longer, but only a few minutes. The candy thermometer saved the day 🙂 I kept thinking something was wrong with it until I read your response and then I was like okay- keep breathing, lol! This is so super tasty- I foresee a lot of people getting goody bags during the holiday season and it will also look lovely on my cookie tray this year as an accent 🙂 And totally not related- I baked a batch of your “Super Fudgy homemade Brownies” this weekend… omg… I think you need to re-name them “Better Than” you know what… seriously- only recipe I’ll use moving forward. Mwah! Happy Monday.

  15. The one and only time I tried to make candy, it boiled over and made a horrible mess on the stove and counter. Bless my husband’s heart, he cleaned it up for me, but I felt so badly about that I’ve been scared to try making candy ever since. 🙂 However, “pumpkin spice” are two of my favorite words in the English language SO I may have to try again with this recipe! Question…does it have to be light corn syrup, or is dark ok? I always keep dark corn syrup in my pantry for my favorite chocolate bourbon pecan pie recipe and wanted to double-check it was necessary to purchase a separate product before doing so. Thanks!

  16. Hi Sally! Just curious if it’s ok to store the toffee in the fridge rather than room temp? With the cooler temps our apartment is pretty toasty!
    Fantastic recipe btw! I’ll be emailing my pics within the next couple days 🙂

  17. Shortcut idea for you: Instead of melting the chocolate just chop it up and sprinkle it on. The residual heat from the toffee will melt it quickly, just be patient before you spread it on. Chocolate is so spendy, I don’t like wasting even the smallest drop the inevitably gets left in the bowl.

  18. I made this toffee last night. Followed the recipe exactly & it came out perfect!! Love love love the toasted pecans!! The addition of the white chocolate is a nice touch. Will be making again very soon!

    1. Hi Celeste! It wasn’t stirred enough in the pan. If you decide to try it again, stir vigorously to combine that butter into the cooking candy.

    2. I too had this issue. And your instructions say to stir OCCASIONALLY, but in your replies to others with same problem you say to stir every MINUTE. can you clarify, please?

  19. Hi Sally
    I’m eager to try this toffee but can’t find corn syrup here in the uk and am not sure if there’s a suitable substitute that you may be able to recommend ?
    Annmarie

  20. Hi Sally- I made this toffee recipe for the first time yesterday with my sister and it turned out sooo yummy! Especially since this was either of our first time making candy, But for some reason our toffee never really got that nice dark golden color…. ours stayed a blondish color. it hit the temp on the candy thermometer. And I weighed the ingredients. And when you bite into it the taste is great and it has that right amount of TOFFEE crunch. Any ideas that caused ours not to darken?

    1. Tierney, it’s actually a lot of various little reasons from the type of pan you use to the brand of butter to the weather that day. Sometimes my toffee is much lighter if I use another pan or brand of butter. As long as it tastes good, that’s fantastic. So glad you and your sister tried the pumpkin spice toffee!

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