English Toffee

Magic Book cover

I came across this in my bookcase the other day – it is recipe booklet on how to use Eagle Sweetened Condensed Milk. I love these little booklets – some of them are really interesting, and now that we are in the age of the internet, you just dont see things like this anymore.  It doesnt have a date on it, so I’m not sure how old it is. But judging from the pictures, and after some quick research, I think it was published around 1930 by Borden.  

It talks about the “new automatic refrigerator” and “learning how to use your new freezer”. Its facinating to take a glimpse of what things were like back then, and how many modern conveniences we take for granted today. In the book they talk about how you mustn’t confuse sweetened condensed mlk with evaporated milk; a message they repeat over and over. It focuses on empowering women to be creative and use the published recipes; encouraging them to take advantage of all the uses for Eagle Milk, so that “your family will think you are working magic in kitchen”.

Reading this booklet has been like taking a trip back in time.  Borden ran a recipe contest, where they asked readers to submit their recipes and for each one that was published, the winner would recieve $25.  I picked a few to try – I hope you enjoy the journey back to 1930 as much as I did.

English Toffee

English Toffee recipe

For the first recipe, I picked English Toffee. It seemed straigthtforward enough, and I had all the ingredients on hand. I have made candy before, so it wasnt intimidating. I got out the ingredients, plus my digital thermometer and got to it.

Ingredients - English Toffee

I ut everything into the pot, and turned the heat on medium low. I stuck the thermometer in and after about 3 minutes, it was already up to 185. Since it only had to go up to 212,  thought – wow – this isnt going to take 30 minutes…it is going to be ready in no time!
ENglish Toffee pot

After testing the mix at 212 degrees, and finding it was FAR from ready, I looked up the “firm ball’ temperature, only to find it was 245-250 (not 212 as stated in the recipe).


Here is what it looked like at 194 degrees. Make sure you stir constantly or it will burn. And dont be tempted to turn the heat up, or it will burn.


And here is what it looked like about 15 minutes later, just about ready to take off the heat. It had thickened up a little bit.

finished in pot

After removing from the heat, add your vanilla extract in, and then pour into a 8×13 greased pan (dont forget to grease well – if you skip this step, everything you have done up to this point will have been for nothing. You wont be abe to get the sticky mess out of the pan). I used a little Crisco for the pan and it worked perfectly.


Wait for it to cool and you are set to go. Grease a large knife, and cut into squares. If you try to take it out before it is cool, it will stick to the pan. Use a butter knife to pry the edge first, and then slip your hand under the whole mess and lift it out of the pan.


Final Verdict:

This turned out well. I was surprised how much I liked it. It was a little soft, but I think storing it in the fridge would fix that easily. It could be because I am used to the hard toffee you buy – this is definitely not hard like that toffee. I would make this again and serve it to guests.