English Toffee Day
Today, January 8th, is National English Toffee Day. English Toffee is one of my favorites. While not everyone who loves caramel loves English Toffee, I’d hazard to say that if you like English Toffee, you like it’s softer version caramel.
When I’m at a store that has bulk candy bins I usually look for dark chocolate covered toffee. If it has a little sprinkle of nuts on the tops and I’m really happy. I will take just a few pieces. I probably pay more for the bag than the toffee, but it’s SO much better than the
What is Toffee?
Toffee is caramelized sugar and butter (with a tad of salt and some vanilla) – taken to the temperature of 290°F. That’s considered the “hard rock” stage. It’s the same temperature that is used when making lollipops. Then spread out to cool.
History of English Toffee
The history of English Toffee is a little blurry. Some sites say that the original was made with molasses and rum. Others say it was made with brown sugar instead of the white sugar that we use today. And while we don’t know who, how, or exactly when, we do know that the word “toffee” first appeared in the dictionary in 1825. It was the Oxford English Dictionary.
Apparently “true” English Toffee is made with brown sugar. What Americans call English Toffee is actually a confection called “Buttercrunch.” Apparently people preferred the name English Toffee and that has stuck.
Is It Hard To Make?
Today was the first time that I attempted English Toffee bars. It wasn’t very hard at all. It does require a little prep, having a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and a candy thermometer – or a good instant-read thermometer. I used both since my candy thermometer is over 40 years old and I just wanted to be sure. It was totally accurate. Good to know.
Line your pan with parchment paper and set the pan on trivets or hot pads. The pan will get so hot it may damage your counter-top.
Measure all your ingredients ahead of time. And have hot gloves ready to put on. I put them on when the mixture started to boil to protect myself from any spatters. I recommend that, even though the recipe didn’t say to do that.
My recipe called for butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, corn syrup, chocolate chips, and chopped nuts (almonds or pecans), if desired.
I put the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and a little corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. My saucepan has nearly 1/2″ thick extra plate on the the bottom. That’ll do. Then I turned on the flame to medium and started stirring.
While you don’t need to stir constantly right from the start, I didn’t let even one minute go in between stirring so the sugar didn’t scorch. Once it got hot, though, I did stir constantly.
I followed the recipe that I had downloaded from the internet. It said to stir constantly until it reached 290°F, about 10-15 minutes. It took about 12 minutes.
When the mixture reached 290°F, I gave it a final stir and carefully poured it unto the prepared parchment paper. It will begin to harden pretty fast, so be prepared to spread it. I used a heat-resistant silicone spatula.
The Chocolate and Nuts
Wait about 2 minutes after pouring the toffee, then sprinkle the chocolate chips over. I tried spreading them immediately, but they smooshed into the toffee. So I waited about 30 seconds for them to start melting, then started spreading. My chocolate was a dark bittersweet chocolate and the chips were a bit larger than normal. Had I used semi-sweet or milk chocolate and if the chips were normal sized, I don’t think I would have needed to wait. You’ll know. Just watch for the chips to start melting and then start spreading.
I waited another minute or so, then sprinkled the nuts over the top. I choose pecans.
Then You Wait
The recipe says that it will take at least two hours for the toffee to cool and the chocolate to set up. I know, it’s hard!
The saucepan, the stirring spoon, the spatula, the thermometer, everything that has toffee on it will need to either be rewarmed to get it off or soaked. It will be rock hard.
I’ll be honest, I took the spoon in the living room and licked it while I watched TV. I felt like I was licking a large lollipop – a delicious, buttery lollipop!
I warmed the saucepan for just a moment and then immediately put it in the sink where the hot water rinsed it away very quickly. A dribble on the stovetop popped right off when it was cool.
The recipe I used was from Fiona Dowling on the Lil’ Luna website.
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