Cinder Toffee

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Now the traditions that revolve around Guy Fawkes night or bonfire night in Britain (November the 5th) vary all over the country, and range from the universal collecting money for the guy all the way to men running through the town holding flaming tar barrels on their back, and, of course, this toffee. Sometimes called Plot toffee or bonfire toffee, it is one tradition that seems to dying out, but that I am staunchly trying to defend.

I can’t argue here as I usually would here that cinder toffee is good for you, nor can I talk about it being the best way to make the most of local and seasonal produce, but I can tell you that it is delicious, and that it only has five ingredients in it. So if you are going to indulge your sweet tooth at this time of year, this is possibly a better way to do it than gorging on additive filled bought sweets.

Give it a go, your children will love it, and if you are going to a firework display, it works absolutely perfectly with a jacket potato in one pocket and a small pot of this in the other, leaving your hands free for your mulled cider/ hot chocolate.

Cinder Toffee

200g light brown sugar

100g treacle (molasses)

40g butter

1/2 tsp vinegar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tbsp water

You can also add several flavourings to the mix, some swear by cayenne pepper, but I’m still a fan of the cinnamon/ vanilla combo, so I add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Have a sugar thermometer ready, or a cup of cold water.

Put your sugar, treacle, butter and water (and any flavourings you might be using) in a heavy bottomed saucepan, and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved.

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Turn up the heat and boil until the liquid has reached 138 deg C, or until it forms a small, hard ball when you drop a small bit in a cup of cold water.

Remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate and vinegar, taking care as it might fizz up, and swirl it around the pan.

Immediately pour into a greased 15cm tin. When it has slightly cooled, score the surface to help break it up when it has completely set.

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When it has set, break into small pieces and store in an airtight tin.

Quick note for you non- traditionalists out there: If you don’t fancy the slightly burnt caramel flavour that cinder toffee is known for, or you are catering for younger children, you can always make the cinder toffee light simply by substituting golden syrup for the treacle and using granulated sugar.

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