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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.