Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and chocolates and candies are loved equally among men and women. If you’ve ever considered making your own chocolates or candies, but put it off because you assumed it was too hard or complicated, I’m here to tell you it is neither.
Working with sugar and chocolate is straight forward. You don’t need magic, or special skills or even exceptional manual dexterity. You just need time, the right ingredients and tools and some focus.
Follow these tips and if you feel like it, give this butter toffee recipe a whirl. Pick your favourite chocolate (dark or milk) and top with your favourite nuts and or some sea salt and gift someone you love! Here are all the details on how to make classic English Butter Toffee.
- Get a candy thermometer. This is an absolute must! The difference between 5 degrees can be the difference between perfect toffee or disgusting carbon. It doesn’t have to be pricey, you can get a reasonable one for $10.
- Calibrate that thermometer. Thermometers can be off. It doesn’t mean their garbage, it just means you have to test them and adjust accordingly. Put some water in a small pot and set it to boil. Insert your thermometer and if it measures 212 degrees F, your’re golden. But say it measures 206 degrees F? That just means, if your recipes calls for you to bring your mixture to 260 degrees, you bring it to 254 degrees.
- Make sure your pot is really really clean. A fleck of dust, a spec of parsley, a bit of burnt something or other will be a magnet for your melting sugar and you can create a hot spot and burn your recipe.
- Have all your ingredients, measured out, labeled and handy. When you work with sugar, things move quickly. You don’t want to be fumbling with measurements. Delays can cause things to burn and once it’s burnt, it’s garbage.
- Give yourself the best chance of success. Make sure you have enough time, and don’t have a bunch of distractions. Don’t try to make homemade candy/chocolate and go over your kid’s math homework at the same time.
- If you can use a silicone mat. These are great for toffee, or fudge, or chocolate bark. Everything slips off making clean up easy.
- If you don’t have a silicone mat, use parchment paper.
- Wear heavy duty oven mitts. This is essential. Cooking with sugar at high temperatures is fun and also dangerous. Hot sugar is sticky and if it lands on your skin you can get a horrific burn.
- If a recipe calls for white corn syrup, use it. White corn syrup has been cooked the least (that’s why it’s lily white). This effects the temperature it can climb to before burning.
- If it calls for vanilla, consider another type of amber coloured alcohol for flavour. Bourbon and Scotch and rum are delicious alternatives!