Pumpkin spice toffee only requires a handful of basic ingredients and will be your new favorite fall treat.
- 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*
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spread the melted white chocolate on top of the toffee, then sprinkle with remaining pecans and sugar/pumpkin pie spice mix.
- Refrigerate toffee for 20 minutes or until white chocolate has set. Peel off the silicone baking mat and break toffee into pieces.
- Store toffee in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Freeze toffee for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Special Tools: 12×17-inch (or similar size) Rimmed Baking Sheet | Wooden Spoon | Silpat Baking Mat | Saucepan: this pan or this pan | Pastry Brush | Candy Thermometer – either of these
- 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.
- 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. 🙂
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.