Treacle Toffee

Sometimes even I have to wonder about the way my mind works.

Earlier this week I was at the dentist having a filling and my dentiist told me not to eat anything hard or chewy for 24 hours.  As I was driving home I was feeling mildly irritated – did she really need to tell me that?  Is it not just common sense?  What did she think I was going to eat?  Toffee?

Then the stream of consciousness began….  Toffee?  I haven’t made toffee for ages, oh, it’s bonfire night next week, maybe I should make some treacle toffee, I love treacle toffee.  Before I knew it I was popping into the shop to buy some treacle hoping not to bump into my dentist who is forgiven for giving me some, obviously much needed, advice.

You may see some treacle toffee recipes which contain butter, this makes a softer, more chewy toffee but for proper, brittle bonfire toffee leave it out.

I don’t really know why this is traditional on bonfire night but I would guess it’s because it looks like shiny, glowing coals which reflect the firelight as you eat it.

I made mine in advance so you could have the recipe in plenty of time for bonfire night so I’m afraid I had to settle for my woodburner in the photos but I will have a bag of this in my pocket at the weekend.  Then on Monday I will probably be giving my dentist a call….


A knob of Butter for greasing
1 lb / 450g Dark Brown Sugar
4 fl oz / 125ml Hot Water
¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
4 oz / 115g Black Treacle
4 oz / 115g Golden Syrup


Generously grease the base and sides of a 12″x12″ (30cm x 30cm) baking tin.

Put the sugar and hot water into a large (at least 4 pint capacity) heavy bottomed pan over a low heat.  Heat gently, without stirring, until the sugar dissolves completely.  Do not stir the mixture as this will cause sugar crystals to form, just be patient.

When the sugar is dissolved add the rest of the ingredients to the pan.

Treacle and syrup are incredibly sticky so, to avoid leaving more in the bowl than you intended, try weighing them directly into a greased bowl or warm them slightly before adding to the pan as this makes them more “pourable”.

Put a sugar thermometer into the pan and bring the contents up to the boil.  Continue to boil until the mix reaches the soft crack stage (270F/140C).  This can take 30 minutes or more so be patient and don’t leave the pan unattended as it boils quite vigorously and can change from “nearly there” to burnt very quickly indeed.

As soon as it reaches the required temperature pour it into the greased tin and leave it to cool.  PLease take care when pouring as this hot sugar can cause dreadful burns if it comes into contact with your skin.

Once the toffee has cooled remove it from the tin, if it sticks turn the tin upside down and give it a sharp tap or two to release it.  Break the toffee up using a toffee hammer if you have one or rolling pin if not.  You might want to cover the toffee up with a sheet of greaseproof paper before breaking it as shards will fly everywhere!  Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

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