Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Plain Toffee (no chocolate, nuts or flavorings)

Servings: Makes approximately 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
What is Toffee?

Toffee is a confection made by boiling molasses or sugar along with butter, water or milk and occasionally flour. The mixture is heated until the temperature reaches 302 degrees F to 320 degrees F (150 to 160 degrees C)—this is known as the hard crack stage to confectioners. While being prepared, toffee is often mixed with nuts or raisins.

The process of making toffee involves boiling the ingredients until the mix is stiff enough to be pulled into a shape which holds and has a glossy surface. The resulting mixture will typically be poured into a shallow tray and allowed to cool to form a sweet. Different mixes, processes, and (most importantly) temperatures of toffee making will result in different textures and hardnesses, from soft and often sticky to a hard brittle material.

A popular variant in the US is English toffee, which is a very buttery toffee often made with almonds. It is available in both chewy and hard versions; there is some debate as to which is the traditional English style and which is an Americanized version. A popular presentation of English toffee is covered in chocolate and almond pieces. Heath bars are a type of candy made with an English toffee core.

Another variant is cinder toffee, also called honeycomb or sponge toffee, which is an aerated version with bubbles introduced by adding baking soda and vinegar while mixing. The baking soda and vinegar react to form carbon dioxide, which is trapped in the highly viscous mixture. In New Zealand this is called Hokey Pokey.

A particular application of toffee is in toffee apples, which are apples on sticks which are coated with toffee. Toffee apples are similar to taffy apples and caramel apples (both names for apples which are covered in caramel).

The origins of the word are unknown; The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first publication of the word to 1825, although it is almost certain that the sweet dates back further than that. (McGee, 1984 p. 410) claims it to be "from the Creole for a mixture of sugar and molasses" and that it entered the language early in the 19th century.

Source of Toffee Definition: wikipedia.org

Here is a recipe for plain toffee without nuts, chocolate or flavoring.

1 lb. (453g) sugar, preferably demerara, but turbinado or light brown sugar may be substituted
1/3 pint (5 fl. oz/156 ml) water
2 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/4 oz/35g) butter
2 level tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon white vinegar

1. Put all ingredients into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and stir over a steady heat until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture reaches the "hard crack" stage, 290 degrees F (143 degrees C). To test for the hard crack stage drop about 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of cold water, if it is hard then it is done, if still soft and chewy cook for a little longer and test again.

3. Pour into oiled or buttered tin and either allow to set as a slab or mark in squares as toffee becomes partially set. When cold break into squares, wrap in cellophane and store in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 1 to 1 1/2 pounds toffee.

Variation: Use black treacle instead of golden syrup.


Hard Crack Stage:
A term used in connection with making sweets to determine the temperature of a sugar and water syrup.

To Boil:
Cook a liquid at a temperature of at least 212°F/100°C.

To Dissolve:
To add a solid to a liquid and to stir or heat it until the solid becomes an integral part of the liquid.

Date: August 25, 2007