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Cinder toffee advice

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Good evening,

 

I hope you'll excuse a question from a non-cooking (mere) male.

 

I'm attempting to make my own cinder toffee (as in Crunchie bars) and my failure rate has been astonishing.

 

I use this recipe,

 

Ingredients

Preparation method

  1. Use the oil to grease a 23cm/9in square baking tin that’s 4cm/1½in deep. Line it with baking parchment, then grease again with a little oil.

  2. Place the sugar, liquid glucose, golden syrup and a tablespoon of water into a deep, heavy-bottomed pan. (Make sure the pan is very deep as the mixture will bubble up later.) Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat very slightly, until the mixture has turned into a syrup.

  3. Watch the pan very carefully from this point on, boiling it steadily at a fairly low heat, until the mixture turns amber. It should be the colour of marmalade. This will take approximately 15 minutes.

  4. Turn the heat off and get a balloon whisk to hand. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk it all together. It will bubble up right to the top of the pan, so take care not to burn yourself as the caramel will be very hot.

  5. Immediately pour the toffee into the prepared tin and leave to cool completely (about two hours).

 

Here's the outcome so far...

 

Batch 1: Ok-ish but a bit flat. It was also very sticky and hadn't risen much. Bitter aftertaste (too mcuh bicarb/poor mixing?)..

 

Batch 2: Burnt beyond redemption.

 

Batch 3: Did want to rise at all, so I added two more tsps of bicarb. Suddenly it was , "It's alive!" but it sank again. It was dark inside and practically hollow.

 

Batch 4 (latest): Today's go looked promising. I mixed the sugar/glucose while it was melting. Then I took to swirling and let it bubble on a low heat for about 15 mins. Bicarb as per recipe, whisked in fast with the heat off, made it expand nicely, so I put the mixture into a pie tin (lined with oiled tinfoil). It churned and puffed for a while, then sank again.

After cooling, the 'crust' wasn't bad. But the inside was again nearly hollow, apart from what I'd dscribe as 'cinder ash'. It wasn't burnt, you understand, but it had the laminar texture of wood ash. Tasted OK though.

 

Can anyone see what I'm doing wrong? I use a heavy-based aluminium pan (sort of frying pan-shaped) on my gas hob, mix with a wooden spoon and use a small balloon whisk (quickly) working fast at bicarb time.

 

I'm looking for fine bubbles and a more even texture. Obviously, none of my efforts thus far has been worth approaching with melted chocolate.

 

So...er,....help?

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

No-one know?

 

OK, here's a swift update.

 

I've acquired a nice, deep aluminium pan (Swan, no less) from the charity shop. As I type, a sugar thermometer is winging its way to me via eBay.

 

I'll update further in due course.

post #3 of 18
Sounds like you need that thermometer and may also try with a different recipe.
Say..... one that uses temps for each stage.
So look over a few (recipes) while you wait for FedEx to show up.

mimi
post #4 of 18
I had logged out and was merrily on my way when something stopped me in my tracks.
Did he say aluminum pan?
Came back, logged back in and yep you posted aluminum.

Aluminum pans are considered to be reactive and therefore not a good choice when using a recipe that contains baking soda.
Stainless steel as well as enamel are better choices.
Even an enamel coated aluminum would work.

Had a bit of a problem trying to post a link so if you want the science just google it.
Lots of info out there.

mimi
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you, flipflopgirl,

 

The thermo has showed up so I'll check out other recipes and the chemistry before my next attempt. I think it's clear that batch one was somewhere near right (beginner's luck) but the others have been very wrong each way  temperature-wise.

post #6 of 18
We call this candy Angel Food and is one of my fave guilty pleasures.

Pete posted his recipe
Forgotten Christmas Candy - Divinity and Angel Food Candy
By Pete Posted 2826 views 4 comments
during this last holiday season.

Looks to be a good one and I really like the addition of the chocolate dip.

mimi
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Excellent..the Angel Food recipe is very similar.

I'm aiming to home make a treat that's available commercially in England. Crunchie bars, made by Cadbury, are chocolate covered cinder toffee. I think if successful with this project, I can add character to this treat, at much less cost!

Succeed or fail, I'll report.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
OK. Using my new sugar thermometer, I've made three more batches...

1: I took this too far...it flashed to 175C. It 'rose' well enough but had just burned. Bitter!

2: Watched it like a hawk, adding 1tsp of bicarb at exactly 150C and mixing it with a handheld electric whisk. It didn't rise at all but tasted OK.

3: This afternoon's attempt...exactly 150C and 1 tsp bicarb, plus wooden spoon mixing. It threatened not to rise so I turned the heat up and added another tsp of bicarb. Not burnt but it's only half risen.

Getting there.
post #9 of 18

Are you sure your soda is fresh; I've never had a slow or absent reaction (although I've only made this confection a couple of times).  I always stirred with spoon, BTW.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Good point, Brian, thank you.

The soda is in date for another year so I think it's probably OK.

Actually, today's attempt is very nearly right. It's very slightly salty from the additional soda. Though it didn't rise much, it has the right texture.

I think that next time, I'll try taking the temperature up another 5 degrees, with one heaped tsp of soda in the mix. Stirring while the mixture is still v. hot seems key, as does mixing quickly and thoroughly. A wooden spoon works fine.

At this rate, I'll have a batch that's good enough for chocolate dipping!
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by davhill View Post

Good point, Brian, thank you.

The soda is in date for another year so I think it's probably OK.

Actually, today's attempt is very nearly right. It's very slightly salty from the additional soda. Though it didn't rise much, it has the right texture.

I think that next time, I'll try taking the temperature up another 5 degrees, with one heaped tsp of soda in the mix. Stirring while the mixture is still v. hot seems key, as does mixing quickly and thoroughly. A wooden spoon works fine.

At this rate, I'll have a batch that's good enough for chocolate dipping!


At this rate you will be living off your credit cards in no time lol.
One hard and fast rule is unless a recipe is dear old grannies give it twice maybe three times.
If you don't see a satisfying result by then switch recipes.

The cleanup alone would have driven me away by now lol.

mimi
post #12 of 18

Hi,@davhill,

I've been following along for a while. Sounds like you're getting close. The one suggestion I have is to rid yourself

of the wooden spoon and get a synthetic one to handle the heat. The wood is porous and can be holding all sorts

of moisture and things.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Good point, flipflop girl :-)!

I have a Master's degree (science) so I'm used to experiments! Besides, the clean up is easy...hot water in sink = sugar gone.

Thanks, panini,

I have a synthetic spoon so I'll give it a try. My theory is that my sugar thermo reads a little low...it wasn't an expensive buy.

Watch this space!
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by panini View Post

Hi,@davhill
,
I've been following along for a while. Sounds like you're getting close. The one suggestion I have is to rid yourself
of the wooden spoon and get a synthetic one to handle the heat. The wood is porous and can be holding all sorts
of moisture and things.

I have never ever thought of this.
Thanks @panini

mimi
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by davhill View Post

Good point, flipflop girl :-)!

I have a Master's degree (science) so I'm used to experiments! Besides, the clean up is easy...hot water in sink = sugar gone.

Thanks, panini,

I have a synthetic spoon so I'll give it a try. My theory is that my sugar thermo reads a little low...it wasn't an expensive buy.

Watch this space!

My husband is an engineer so I know how patient you thinkers can be lol.
Carry on.

mimi
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Here we go...

 

 

1: At the start with slightly modified recipe. Instead of 3 tbsp golden syrup, I

put in two 'heaped' tbsps of liquid glucose (yes, you can 'heap' liquid gluc - it's thick enough).

I couldn't find my synthetic spoon but this is a brand new wooden spoon I had.

 

 

2: Prepping the baking tray by painting vegetable oil on the tinfoil.

 

 

3: After about 10 mins sugar bubbling on nearly lowest heat - note the mix

is turning amber. That's the bicarbonate of soda about to go in. Temp is at 160C.

 

 

3: It's alive! I couldn't take a photo of the in-pan whisking. This is the hot

mixture still rising.

 

 

4: Cooling time. Note the mixture has settled a little. I gave it an hour to cool.

 

 

5: Pretty good texture and colour.

 

 

6: The final output from 100g caster sugar and about 1/2 tube of

liquid glucose.

 

Conclusions:

 

Texture and colour good, definitely no burning (either smell or taste). Could

it be that golden syrup is more prone to burning?

 

I think my suspicion that the thermometer under reads was confirmed.

 

Taste wise, there's a slight bitter aftertaste. I could probably get away with a

level tsp of soda, rather than a heaped one.

 

Temperature and fast work with the bicarb are obviously key aspects.

 

I think this outcome is worth adding the chocolate coating.

 

Still more refining needed, to lose the aftertaste and maybe get a finer texture.

 

Incidentally, my Master's degree is relevant only in the sense of carrying out

repeatable experiments. I've an MSc in psychology!

 

:smiles:

post #17 of 18
Success at last!
Now the big problem is what chocolate to use for dipping?

mimi

OBTW...I think you are very brave!
The one time I made this candy the reaction scared the heck out of me....
Cannot imagine making it with a camera in one hand lol.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

I've bought some 'cooking chocolate' (milk choc) that has instructions on the packet, involving either a microwave oven, or a bowl over a reservoir of boiling water.

 

 

Thanks for the compliment! I'm not brave though, just appropriately cautious. Among the recipes and info I found, someone described the boiling cinder toffee mixture as being 'like napalm'. I simply took this on board and I take the necessary care.

 

Similarly, for hobbies, I shoot bullets from a target rifle and arrows from a hunting bow (card targets only, I've never shot at anything living). I remain unwounded through respecting the weapons' capabilities. However, the biggest danger can be from the nut that holds the trigger!

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