Recipe: English toffee
Traditionally, the toffee slabs were so hard that a hammer was necessary to break them into pieces; today, some English toffee is still sold with a little hammer as a novelty. Toffees in drop form are most popular in Britain; they are flavored with treacle, licorice, or nuts and sold wrapped in colorful foils.
History: The history of hard toffee is intertwined with that of chewy taffy in the United Kingdom: Both candies were originally made with molasses and evolved from similar recipes. The word toffee may have come from tafia, a West Indian rum made from molasses. Walkers’ Nonsuch, one of the oldest makers of toffees in England, still sells a variety of toffees, from drops to sticks to slabs.
Unlike caramels, toffees are often flavored with other ingredients, so you can try adding different extracts or chopped nuts. Brazil nuts are a very popular addition. Wrap toffees in brightly colored foil. If you want to make drops, you can pour the mixture into molds in step 5.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Line an 11-by-17-inch baking pan with foil and grease well, or line with a silicone baking mat.
2 Combine sugars, corn syrup, 2 tablespoons water, butter, and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until it comes to a boil.
3 Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 298°F, hard crack stage.
4 Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
5 Pour mixture into baking pan. Let it cool slightly before using a sharp knife to score into squares.
6 Let cool completely before breaking into pieces.
Yields: About 60 pieces
Storage: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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Excerpted from Field Guide to Candy by Anita Chu. Copyright 2009 by Quirk Books. Excerpted with permission by Quirk Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.