Cooking with Nyan - Hard Toffee

Making Toffee

Toffee making? Now we're really turning into a girly blog, huh?

I've been a little obsessed with making toffee lately. It's been on my list of things to do for a while, but one outstanding problem I had was a lack of useable sugar at home. We only have brown sugar and the sugar sticks I 'collected' from a few cafes did not seem enough to make it. So earlier this week, in fact the same day as the #Hornado, I went out to buy a necessity and caster sugar. When I used to make 'caramel' in high school, we used caster sugar, but someone had clearly thrown it away after it had been sitting there several years.

In any case, my first batch was that afternoon and I followed Black Book Cooking's Basic Toffee Recipe, since their recipe calls for sugar and water only, unlike most of the recipes around the internet that includes vinegar, butter and an assortment of other things. Admittedly they're all things I just don't have, but it means it's a much simpler process of making them.

Crystalling new knowledge

For me, I love my childhood favourite, which was hard toffee — the kind which usually had hundreds and thousands set into the top (another thing I don't have, alas). So that's the one I'm going to refer to for this, while also referring to the recipe I mentioned before.

I noticed for me my toffee bubbled a lot while I was making it, which seemed to be normal and fine as these bubbles settled once I poured them out and away from the heat. There appeared to be trapped bubbles inside but I don't think I ever felt them as I ate the toffees. It also seemed important however to keep stirring the mixture throughout the whole process — when I didn't keep doing so, the sugar began crystallising at the edges of my pot, but not the clear golden kind you want, just an opaque white kind. The recipe says just to let it simmer, but I'm not big on cooking terminology — I should know more after watching those terrible TV shows.

Anyway, it seems making toffee is the kind of cooking where you could potentially walk away for ten minutes and then come back and keep an eagle eye on whether it has started to brown yet since it takes so long for the mixture to start doing anything. Though I wouldn't advise it personally! A better use of your time, of course, could be to start preparing baking paper or patty cake liners to place your toffee in as you wait, of course. Or wash up anything you used before.

I didn't use patty cake liners when it came time to take the toffee off the heat, but I did have silicon cups from Daiso that look like this, so the toffee popped right out — no more of that frustrated picking at the paper stuck to the toffee I remember, hehe~


Trickling into the future

Now that I've figured out how to make it properly though, I'm wondering what exactly I used to make in the past, when I melted caster sugar by itself in a pot while mixing it with chopsticks. That was extremely dangerous and I often burned the mixture as I melted various batches, however it also produced a very soft and chewy sweet so we called it caramel though it was pretty much clear.

It's also opened a few new possibilities though. Since I learned how to temper chocolate this year while making some chocolates for Valentines, a possible combination of these two looks to be in the horizon. We'll see where we can go with this.

Or perhaps I'll invest in some sodium bi-carbonate.