We're just one day away from Bonfire Night and the anticipation is hanging in the air in our house. The boys are SO excited! We're having a mini fireworks party with friends and have our sparklers at the ready. And what could be more perfect to eat but Bonfire Toffee?
I have been hanging on to this recipe for a few months until the perfect time, which would be right about now. I adore Annie Rigg and her beautiful photography which makes me want to go and make everything in her books right now. So it was hard work hanging on for this long. Believe me. I've read up on a number of recipes for this lovely toffee but decided to stick 100% with Annie's recipe. I don't consider myself a sweetie maker and on several occasions have fallen prey to not getting my temperature quite right and coming out with a sticky goo concoction, so I wanted a trustworthy recipe for my first attempt at this.
If you'd like to attempt this at home - it's easy as long as you (1) own a sugar thermometer and (2) follow the instructions like your life depends on it. It's all about timing. And patience. After putting all your ingredients into a large saucepan, you bring them slowly to the boil (stirring a few times to make sure it's all well-mixed and the butter has melted) and then slowly boil it for 20 mins until it reaches 130 degrees ("hard ball" stage). Then after submerging the base of the pan in cold water and giving it a couple of stirs, pour it into a tin lined with greaseproof paper. And wait for it to cool. Then snap it into pieces or cut it up and store it in boxes between layers of greaseproof paper or in little individual sweetie papers.
The taste of this toffee is a lovely deep flavour, sort of smokey where the undertones of the treacle really shine through. I can see why it's called Bonfire Toffee. It's reminiscent of big smokey bonfires with strong flavours and a lovely chewy consistency.
If you fancy having a go at making sweets, the only investment you need to make for simple sweets is a good sugar thermometer. Which also comes in handy if you like making macarons my way. Or jam. And if you do fancy having a go at sweets, do try this recipe (even if it's not Bonfire Night).
I promise you, it's gooooood!
Bonfire Toffee Makes around 50 squares (from Annie Rigg's Sweet Things)
- SUNFLOWER OIL (for greasing the tin)
- 20CM SQUARE BAKING TIN
- 125G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 200G CASTER SUGAR
- 150G BLACK TREACLE
- 125G GOLDEN SYRUP
- 50G CREME FRAICHE
- 1/4 TSP CREAM OF TARTAR
- 100ML WATER
- PINCH OF SEA SALT FLAKES
- Grease the baking tin with sunflower oil and then line it with greaseproof paper
- Place the butter, sugar, treacle, golden syrup, creme fraiche and cream of tartar into a large saucepan (2.5 litre capacity)
- Add the sea salt and water
- Set over a low heat until the butter is melted and sugar dissolved
- Stir mixture from time to time until it's smooth
- Then put the sugar thermometer into the pan and bring to the boil
- Cook steadily for around 20 minutes until the temperature reaches 130 degrees (I have an induction hob and I kept the temperature on 6 out of 9)
- Remove from the heat and plunge the base of the saucepan into a sink of cold water
- Stir the mixture a couple of times and then pour it into the prepared tin
- Either score the toffee whilst it's still warm if you want to finally have it in uniform squares or you can snap pieces off when it's cold
- Leave in a cool place to set
- Enjoy for up to 2 weeks :)