How to Make Toffee

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Toffee can be made by mixing sugar with cream, milk or butter and adding an ingredient like lemon juice or golden syrup to prevent it from crystallizing. The mixture is heated between 140C to 154C, (the’soft crack’ and ‘hard-crack’ stages), and then allowed to cool down and set.

toffees are softer and chewier when they contain more butter or cream. They taste like caramels. Toffees cooked at a higher temperature become brittle, but still tasty.

Toffee’s toasty taste is due to the Maillard reaction that occurs when you heat sugar and dairy together.

How to safely make toffee

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test your toffee by dropping small amounts into iced water, then squeezing the ball that forms. You can still test the toffee if you don’t own a thermometer by dropping a small amount into iced-water and then squeezing it.

Soft crack stage is when a ball of toffee feels soft and squeezable. A harder ball, which is more difficult to shape, will be in the ‘hard-crack’ stage. Some recipes cook sugar at a lower heat to produce softer toffee.

You should follow these steps:

  1. To prevent butter separation, melt the butter and sugar together evenly and gently. Stir the mixture as the sugar dissolves, but stop stirring once the mixture has begun to boil. You can tilt the pan and swirl it instead.
  2. Before you begin, make sure that your tin has been prepared. It should be placed on a damp cloth or board. The tin will quickly heat up once you pour in the toffee.
  3. All your ingredients and equipment should be prepared in advance.
  4. Always be careful. If you splash molten sugar on yourself, it can cause severe burns.

Butter toffee recipe

Makes approximately 500g

  • Golden caster sugar 300g
  • 300ml double cream
  • Butter cubed 125g
  1. Line the bottom and sides of a baking pan measuring 20x30cm with baking paper and place it on a wooden board.
  2. Pour the cream, sugar, and butter in a heavy-bottomed, large saucepan. Heat gently, stirring every so often, until the ingredients are combined and the butter and sugar have melted.
  3. Put a digital or sugar thermometer into the pan and turn the heat up. Then, boil the mixture vigorously without stirring until it reaches 140C. Allow the bubbles to settle for a few seconds, and then pour the molten candy into the prepared tin. Swirl the tin to ensure that the toffee covers the bottom. Allow to cool for 2 hours or overnight, if you can.
  4. Then cut it into squares. If the toffee sticks to the knife, lightly lubricate the blade. Wrap the toffee in waxed papers. Store the toffee in a jar up to 2 weeks.

Brittle toffee Recipe

Makes approximately 500g

  • Oil for the Tin
  • Golden caster sugar 450g
  • Cream of tartar, 1/4 tsp
  • Salted Butter 50g
  1. Use baking parchment to line the bottom and sides of a tin measuring A4 size, then lubricate it well.
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, cream-of-tartar, and 150ml of hot water. Heat gently, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves.
  3. When the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat. Place the sugar thermometer into the pan.
  4. Continue boiling until the thermometer reaches 140C (soft crack). It may take 30 minutes. Be patient. Do not leave the pan alone as temperatures can quickly change. Once the mixture has reached a’soft-crack’ stage, pour it into your tin to cool.
  5. After cooling, remove the toffee and break it up using a rolling pin or toffee hammer. Store the toffee in an airtight container for up to one month.

Storing toffee

Wrap them in cellophane or wax paper to prevent them from sticking together. Store them in an airtight, very dry container. Toffee will become very sticky if it gets wet.

English toffee is a hard, buttery toffee that’s popular in America. It’s usually topped with a layer or chocolate and nuts. Toffees like honeycomb or cinder (known in New Zealand as hokey pokey) are made with baking soda and vinegar to make them bubble and froth as they set.

When used as a base for toffee apple, or our bonfire candy recipe, the caramel is simply melted sugar that has been caramelised. It’s called brittle when it is mixed with nuts.

Many ‘toffee recipes do not actually contain toffee. For example, sticky toffee puding has a toffee flavoured sauce, but does not require that you make toffee beforehand. Toffee shards are great in cookies, cakes and other baked goods. They can also be added to ice cream. Toffee is also available with different flavours, such as salted caramel, alcohols, spices, nuts, and dried fruits.

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