HELP Toodie Jane!!!!
Okay, so I made your english toffee today. I was a bit concerned as I was approaching the hard crack stage and my toffee was lightly brown but not dark as you posted. I cooked for a bit longer but not much. Then I proceeded with the recipe and although it tastes great the texture of the toffee itself reminds me of maple sugar candy. I recall that this is what my last batch came out like, which is why I haven't attempted it since (years ago!). Is this what it is supposed to be like? The toffee I've had from professional places tastes more like caramel...what did I do wrong??
OK--let's see, the color is light and the texture is sugary. h-m-m-m. I'll try to help, but I'm not a food scientist. I make no other cooked candy, so it's not like I do anything but follow the recipe.
The recipe says to take the mixture to 320. Did yours go that high? My candy thermo says hard crack is 310, but the candy needs to go to 320. At about 270 to 290 the toffee goes from looking frothy and light to thickening slightly in texture, and it begins the darkening phase. From 300 to 320 is when mine turns dark which mind you is the color of a rich caramel candy. Does any of this sound like your experience at all? I always use the same candy thermo, a dial type that clips on the edge of the pan, so I can't say I've tested the candy on any other type of thermo. I'm just assuming mine is accurate, but if it wasn't, and it takes longer to show temp than yours, maybe mine is going higher than 320? I think my finished toffee tastes pretty much like a Sugar Daddy candy bar.
For the texture, mine is always a bit sugary, not grainy, but it never has the sticky toffee texture that say a Heath Bar has. It melts very quickly on the tongue and does not get stuck in your teeth, which I like. I do not wash down the pan sides like they tell you to do with caramel, so I think this is why the texture is a little sugary, but again, I don't find it objectionable, as I would with something like grainy fudge (ugh hate that)
I hope yours turns out to your liking, and I hope you try it again. I'm not sure if humidity plays a part in how well the toffee comes out, so maybe making it again would give you something to compare it to. I make 3 batches each year, because I always find someone else who wants some.
It's butter, sugar, chocolate and nuts. If all else fails, crumble it up and use it on cookies, ice cream, in cinnamon buns, coffee cake, or make a tart with some more nuts and use it for the topping.
Best holiday wishes,
re: toodie jane
Thanks for the reply Toodie Jane. In answer to your questions, I did cook the toffee to 320 perhaps a bit more, and it did have that beautiful caramel color. As for the texture I guess it is just like yours. I am not a toffee expert by any means because I do not eat it often but I thought it was a bit chewier than mine. The texture appears to be fine...when I went out last night I returned to 3/4 of a pan, my pups had chipped away at it!! So, thanks for your help, I will be delivering it this week as gifts!!! Happy Holidays to you!
re: toodie jane
Hi Toodie Jane, it's that time of year again! (Wow this is an old thread! But some things never change) I have a friend who is having issues with her toffee, but since I've never made candy I'm not knowledgeable at all on this subject. Then I thought of you and this post, while duly noting that you are NOT a food scientist ;-)
Here's her question: the English Toffee recipe she is using failed/never set up crispy nor did it get ultra brown. Just guessing, could the thermometer have registered 320•f due to touching the bottom of the pan, rather than registering the degree of the molten mix in the pan?
I don't want to give her MY advice, since I still have trouble using the thermometer to get my jams to set up myself. Hopefully someday!