Do you love Crunchie bars? I do, and my Mom really does… This means, that usually at Christmas, I get her some form of sponge toffee.
Last year I made her some, but forgot it at my house when I went home for Christmas. This year, I am not forgetting her sponge toffee. In fact, I made a batch this last weekend, and I will pack it in with my Christmas present stash now.
If you have never tried any kind of sugar-candy making on your own, then this is a great gateway recipe for you. The only piece of “specialized” equiptment you will need is a candy thermometer. And if you do a decent amount of baking, you probably already have the ingredients waiting in your pantry.
I found this recipe a few years ago, and it has lived in my hand written recipe book ever since.
I forgot where in food-blog land it came from though. (After much googling, I found the blog! I like her style, so I am very excited to have found it again) It leaves all those other sponge toffee recipes in the dust. It is amazing, and as close as you could possibly get to the centre of a Crunchie bar.
A quick note… This is a little more dense than other Sponge toffee recipes, because the bubbles are much smaller. I like it like this, but I am trying a few of the more prevalent recipes out there, so write me a comment if you would like to know more about the others I will be trying.
Here is the recipe: (From: Wilde In The Kitchen)
1/4 tsp. unflavoured gelatin (this will probably be near the jello in the grocery store… the most common brand here is Knox)
1 tsp. cold water
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. Baking Soda (sifted)
Butter a 9×9 pan well. Dust with flour, and tap out any excess. (Don’t skip this)
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the first amount of water and allow to bloom.
Measure the sugar, corn syrup and 2nd amount of water into a saucepan with high sides (this is important, the sugar will bubble up and you need to contain it, or you will have a ginormous mess on your hands). Over medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Get all the stirring out of your system now, because once it boils, it stirs itself.
Once this boils, clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pot (making sure, it is suspended above the bottom of the pot, but still in the sugar mixture). Wipe any crystals that have formed on the side of the pot, with a pastry brush dipped in cool water.
Now is a good time to make sure your Baking Soda is measured out and sifted. You will need it close at hand soon.
Heat this until it reaches the Hard Crack stage (just over 300F). Then remove from heat, and let sit for about 2 minutes, or until it stops bubbling.
And now for the speedy and (potentially) messy part. Quickly add the gelatin and whisk it in. It will bubble up. Sprinkle the baking soda and whisk it in. Work Fast! You can return it to the heat and whisk for 30 seconds if you want, but I have forgotten this step before, and it works out just fine.
Quickly pour into the prepared pan. Don’t spread the mixture, it will settle itself out. You just did all that work to get the bubbles into it, you don’t want to jeopardize that.
Allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours) before removing from the pan.
To break it into pieces, carefully stab it with a knife… You can melt some chocolate and dip this in it, but it is great on its own too… Just be sure to store it in a VERY air tight container. Sugar likes moisture, and this will get soggy if you leave it exposed to the elements.
I also definitely recommend that you don’t put off doing the dishes after you make this. To clean the pot and your whisk, with out ripping your hair out… Just fill the sugar-coated pot up with some water, and heat it up. This will dissolve the sugar into the water, and easily remove it from your favourite whisk! Then you can wash everything like normal.
NOTE: The only substitution I would recommend attempting with this recipe, is with the corn syrup. You can use normal plain corn syrup if you don’t have/can’t find the white/clear stuff. It will be a little darker if you don’t use the white corn syrup… BUT other sweet liquid substances are NOT interchangeable. They have a lower burn-point than the white corn syrup, and your toffee may not work if you use honey or maple syrup instead.
If you make this, let me know how it turned out in the comments section below.