Cinder toffee advice

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by davhill, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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?
     
  2. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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.
     
  3. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    416
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    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
     
  4. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    416
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    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
     
  5. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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.
     
  6. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    416
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
  7. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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.
     
  8. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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.
     
  9. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,139
    Likes Received:
    369
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    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.
     
  10. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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!
     
  11. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    416
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality

    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
     
  12. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    283
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    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.
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  13. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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!
     
  14. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    416
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    I have never ever thought of this.
    Thanks @panini

    mimi
     
  15. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    416
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    My husband is an engineer so I know how patient you thinkers can be lol.
    Carry on.

    mimi
     
  16. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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!

    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smiles.gif
     
  17. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,470
    Likes Received:
    416
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    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.
     
  18. davhill

    davhill

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    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!