Toffee is one of the most popular sweet treats in the world. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and they taste amazing.
However, when you buy it, you seldom find toffee without chocolate. So, let’s take a look at why they coat toffee in chocolate and what else you can use as a coating.
What Is Toffee?
Toffee is a type of candy that you can make with fat (mostly butter) and some type of sugar. You can use any type of sugar you have on hand, like white, brown, or even molasses.
We use butter to make toffee because it can enhance both the flavor and the texture. It adds a certain richness to the candy and gives it a much better mouth feel.
So, depending on your fat to sugar ratio, toffee can have a few different textures. You can make toffee that sets hard at room temperature, or chewy toffee.
As a general rule, the more fat you add to the toffee, the softer it’s going to be.
Fat also makes toffee much less sticky. Still, you need to be careful not to add too much fat or your toffee might end up liquid. This all sounds simple, but there’s a lot more to making toffee.
Toffee is sensitive, so when making it, you have to account for the temperature and humidity of the room.
Why We Use Chocolate With Toffee
Even though it tastes amazing on its own, most toffee will have some chocolate coating.
While chocolate does add an incredible flavor, we don’t add it for the taste. When making toffee, you have to monitor your environment, but this also applies to your candy.
Since toffee mostly consists of sugar, it’s very sensitive to humidity. Any level of humidity, no matter how small, can ruin your toffee.
If you leave toffee out in a humid space, the sugar crystals in the candy can start to hydrate. This means it can absorb some of the water from the air.
When the toffee absorbs enough water, the sugar inside will start to dissolve.
Sugar is what makes toffee sticky. So, as the sugar dissolves in the toffee, it’ll become less sticky. Eventually, the toffee will start to break and come apart.
Other than it looking bad, it’ll also taste worse than your original creation.
To extend the shelf-life of toffee, you need a moisture barrier around the candy. Most people use chocolate as this barrier. Not only because it’s waterproof, but it also tastes amazing with toffee.
What Substitutes Can You Use?
There are a couple of substitutes you can use instead of chocolate to coat toffee. Some of them work better than others, but they taste great.
1 – Roasted Nuts
After chocolate, the second most common toffee coating is nuts. Toffee is very sweet, so it makes sense that you’d want to use something to balance the sweetness.
Roasted nuts can be the perfect companion for your toffee. All you need to do is to crush the nuts and dip the toffee in before it completely sets, then you’ll have a nutty, sweet treat.
If you’re going to use crushed nuts, there’s a balance to how small the nut chunks should be. You want them small enough to stick to your candy, but you never want powder.
Coating your toffee with nut powder can be drying on the mouth. It can also leave you with an unpleasant aftertaste.
You can even use candied roasted nuts. Almonds are common because of their mild flavor, but you can also use hazelnut and walnuts.
2 – Candy Melts
Candy melts are a common ingredient in dessert making. They’re usually colored and flavored, and we use them to decorate desserts.
To make candy melts, you also use a combination of sugar and oil. However, because of the specific ratio, candy melts have different properties than toffee.
They’re an artificial confection that behaves similarly to chocolate. As their name suggests, candy melts are great for melting, just like chocolate.
The difference between candy melts and chocolate is the way they set at room temperature. If you melt hard chocolate and cool it down again, the final product will be liquid.
If you want the chocolate to set hard, you have to temper it first. Tempering is a long and tedious task, and it can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Candy melts don’t have the same problem. When you melt them and reset them, they go back to being solid.
That means that candy melts can form a hard shell around your toffee. The shell can prolong the shelf-life of your toffee even more than chocolate.
You also get the added bonus of candy melts being colorful. You can go wild with the candy melts colors and create your blend of rainbow toffee.
What to Expect
While these substitutes work well to coat toffee, they don’t exactly perform as well as chocolate.
Roasted nuts are an excellent way to add more flavor to your toffee, especially if you use salty nuts.
The only problem with this method is that nuts don’t create a great seal like chocolate does. That means that the toffee will have a slightly shorter shelf-life.
As for the candy melts, they can cover toffee better than chocolate. Still, they fall short in the taste department.
If you’ve ever tasted candy melts, you know they have a strange flavor. It’s not quite sugar or chocolate, it’s something in between.
Candy melts are more of a decorative ingredient rather than a flavor one. So, if all you want is to make a spectacle out of your toffee, then go with a candy melt coating.
However, if what you care about is flavor, it’s better to go with chocolate or nuts.
Toffee is a wonderful sweet treat. However, you can rarely find toffee without chocolate. Usually, most toffee will have some type of chocolate coating. This is to increase the shelf-life of the candy.
If you don’t like chocolate, or you want a change, there are a couple of ingredients you can use as a substitute, like roasted nuts and candy melts.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.