Bonfire Night is an exciting occasion for anyone young or old. One of the wonderful perks of Bonfire Night is Bonfire toffee, a lovely toffee made with black treacle, dark brown sugar, and a few other ingredients. Many people are intimidated by the idea of making their own toffee, but it is actually not difficult at all.
One item that will be very helpful is a sugar thermometer. They can be difficult to find, but Sainsbury’s sell a cheap one. You can buy a sugar thermometer for under £12, and with its digital display it’s easy as pie to measure the temperature of your toffee mixture and ensure you’re taking it off the heat at the right moment. It’s possible to do things without a sugar thermometer, but it does make things a lot easier, and you can use a good food thermometer on roasts and other foodstuffs, too. Make sure yours goes up to, or beyond, 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
The other ingredients you will need for Bonfire toffee are 450 grams of soft brown sugar, 225 grams of black treacle, 110 grams of unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Line these up besides the hob so you’ll have everything to hand. A handy way to do this is by lining them up in the order you will need them; you can then simply grab the next item in line and won’t get in a flap. This is an especially helpful trick if you do feel intimidated by the process of making your own sweets!
Weighing and measuring your treacle can easily become a sticky mess. Coat your spoon and your scale’s bowl in a thin layer of oil to make it easy as pie. This will prevent the treacle from sticking to either. Make sure, however, it is a very light coating as it will otherwise make your toffee oily and strange.
Butter or oil a tin, as well. Make sure you use a nice, thick layer and feel free to use any size you like. But remember that a thicker layer of toffee will take longer to cool; it will surprise you with the amount of time it spends still feeling quite hot to the touch! Set this to the other side of the hob so you can pour in the mixture when you’re ready.
Use a saucepan with a heavy bottom and a high side, as the mixture can easily double in size during the boiling process, and use a wooden spoon to stir it as a metal spoon may become too hot and a plastic spoon may simply melt into it!
Now place the butter, vinegar and water into your pan and, on a low heat, melt the butter. Once this has happened, add the sugar and the treacle. Don’t turn up the heat, even if you get impatient; burnt toffee isn’t as nice as the regular kind! Just give it time and wait for the sugar and treacle to dissolve completely, stirring occasionally. Now bring up the heat (again, don’t go overboard) until your sugar thermometer reads 140 degrees Celsius or about 280 Fahrenheit, and remove from the heat until the bubbles have receded. Now you can simply pour the mixture into the tin and leave to cool. Turn out when cold and break into pieces, which can be stored in an airtight container.
It is a shame that Bonfire toffee is not available year round, but when you can make your own you won’t need to feel deprived at all! Your kids are sure to be in awe when they eat their own home-made Bonfire toffee tonight as they watch the fireworks and enjoy this wonderful holiday.