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What Is Butter Toffee? Meet Wisconsin’s Famous Treat

What is butter toffee? In Wisconsin, sweet cream butter, almonds, and pure milk chocolate are how toffee is made into an award winner.

The Swiss Colony candy kitchen and bakery are frequently filled with mouthwatering aromas, such as baked gingerbread, cakes, and chocolate truffles. However, there is a particularly pleasant scent that the entire Swiss Colony office has come to know—that’s when award-winning Butter Toffee is being made.

Three sizes of red tins of butter toffee, with a tipped tin allowing some toffee to flow onto decorative plates.

For more than 35 years, this handcrafted butter toffee has been made the traditional way in Swiss Colony’s candy kitchen. Food historians believe toffee was invented in the 19th century, and the word “toffee” first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1895. As the name implies, the origins of “English” toffee trace to Wales, and its popularity quickly spread across Britain and then to all of Europe. While English toffee has been a popular candy treat for decades worldwide, modern-day American toffee is synonymous with Swiss Colony’s Butter Toffee.

And the secret to the creamiest toffee is…butter! Wisconsin is “America’s Dairyland” and has more dairy farms than any other state in the U.S. — most being family-owned. The state’s grazing pastures are filled with clover and alfalfa, and there is plenty of fresh spring water—both are ideal for producing delicious milk.

Butter toffee ingredients of butter chunks, almonds and real sugar displayed on a block of white marble.

What Is Butter Toffee Made Of?

The Swiss Colony sources high-quality butter from Pine River Dairy. It’s a family-owned dairy located near Lake Michigan in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Six generations of the Olm family have been making cheese and butter since 1877. Fresh cream and salt (if making salted butter) are the only ingredients that are used to produce delicious butter.

Almonds are another special ingredient found in Swiss Colony’s Butter Toffee. They are sourced from Sacramento, California, where the nuts are harvested and roasted at the peak of freshness.

Almonds in shells.
Freshly harvested almonds in the pod

Almonds are actually used twice in this butter toffee recipe. Sliced almonds are mixed into the toffee, while finely ground almonds are sprinkled on top of the melted chocolate.

And what would butter toffee be without a coating of rich chocolate? The real milk chocolate used in Swiss Colony’s Butter Toffee is a proprietary blend featuring flavor notes of caramel and milk. Pure chocolate contributes to the overall smooth and creamy mouthfeel in each delectable bite of toffee.

Swiss Colony handmade Butter Toffee being poured from a large copper kettle.

How Is Toffee Made? By Hand!

The first step in making Swiss Colony’s Butter Toffee the old-fashioned way is to weigh four ingredients by hand: butter, white sugar, chocolate, and almonds. One person is in charge of weighing the ingredients and cooking the toffee mixture in three giant, custom-made copper kettles fire heated to over 300 degrees and measured carefully with a large candy thermometer. Every batch of toffee is made in small quantities to ensure the best quality.

A tray of individual pieces of scored butter toffee being broken apart by hand.

Using a very high temperature is the key to sugar caramelization, which allows the butter and sugar to achieve the toffee’s signature golden brown color and toasted flavor. Once the butter and sugar are caramelized, and the sliced almonds are stirred in, three assistants help pour the hot mixture onto a large stainless steel cooling table. When it has slightly cooled, they score and break the toffee apart by hand.

Pouring Chocolate and Sprinkling Almonds

Next, the pieces are placed in a chocolate enrobing machine that coats each toffee square in milk chocolate and sprinkled with ground almonds. By this time, the toffee has hardened and is hand packed into a decorative tin with a tight-fitting lid to keep the toffee fresh and ready for shipping.

It’s no wonder that the exclusive Butter Toffee recipe has made it a Swiss Colony customer favorite year after year.

Comments (8)

Can you freeze the toffees? Purchased too many to eat right away and want to save for later.

I am wondering if your toffee is the light and crispy (I guess more aerated? Also, when did you first introduce your buttered toffee?

Please send me one of your catalogs so I order from home when I find great deals like what I found today. The toffee you make just made me crazy for it —- I am ordering now. It looks and sounds like what my mom used to make, many moons ago. It will be nice to have around at Christmas (if I can keep myself from pigging out on it – – hah).
I know this toffee is fantastic, all the stuff and love are there. Merry Christmas,

The mini butter toffee is melt-in-your-mouth heaven!! The best I’ve ever had!

My name is Tyrone Landry and i am trying to buy a nice Ham and some soft candy from yall but i don’t have a catalog from y’all i heard about y’all from a friend.Could i still order something from y’all still?

Sure! Just go here to request a catalog:

I buy these toffees every year. Absolutely the best anywhere.

Do you need to keep the toffee refridgerate

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