How Are Toffee And Caramel Different?

There are two types of people in this world: chocolate people and caramel people. Well, okay, maybe it's slightly more complicated than that. But if a slice of caramel apple pie sounds more appealing than a slice of chocolate cake, you probably know which type of person you are. Let's break it down even further, then: are you a caramel person or a toffee person? If that one stumped you, read on.

Caramel and toffee are both amber-colored confections. You've probably seen them in melted, syrup-y, sticky form (like atop a pudding, or drizzled over ice cream), and also in a harder, square-ish format, perhaps wrapped some sort of colorful foil. And while the two might not be twins, they're definitely siblings; both caramel and toffee are essentially sugar (no surprise there) that has been cooked to confection perfection. In fact, Chowhound points out that caramel and toffee are both achieved by burning sugar, slowly and carefully, and usually with butter. It might be the only burnt food you've ever loved!

The difference between toffee and caramel is all about temperature and texture

When you think of the softer, chewier stuff, you're probably thinking of caramel, says Chowhound. It's all in the texture; caramel is softer because you add in cream, milk, or condensed milk once your sugar is off the heat, such as in this BBC Good Food recipe. Because you're cooking caramel at a lower heat (about 248 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Chowhound), the light brown confection retains a bit of moisture from its ingredients, resulting in a more pliable, bendy candy.

Toffee, on the other hand, is boiled at a higher cooking temperature, usually around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, according to BBC Good Food. They call this the "soft crack" stage, because with toffee, you're going for a crunchier texture — one you can shatter — that you can add to cakes, bakes, ice cream, or...well, directly into your mouth. Actually, now that you're toffee literate, you might want to try a varsity-level toffee creation: Aldi's toffee mint wine