Last night I made cinder toffee.
I love cinder toffee. I'm not that much of a fan of Crunchies, though - the size of the holes is wrong - so I tend to buy quite expensive bags of chocolate-covered chunks of the stuff from small sweetshops or stalls on farmers markets. I've made my own, too, but I keep on forgetting the details and the post-it I had on the fridge with the never-fail recipe has vanished (or fallen off, which is more likely) so I had to look a recipe up.
This was less simple than you'd think; I have an entire bookcase full of cookbooks and it took me whole minutes of scouring indices to find a recipe for cinder toffee, in Domestic Goddess. None of my confectionary books had one, which really surprised me. Anyway, the recipe is simplicity itself: mix 200g sugar with 4 tbsp syrup and melt over a low heat until caramel coloured. Then whisk in 1tbsp bicarb, and pour into a greased tin.
So I did all of that. Except I didn't; I dropped in a tablespoon of water too, because I know that when sugar underneath melts, the sugar on the surface will just sit there and not melt, and swirling it around too much will cause crystallisation. And instead of a greased tin I used a lined silicon mould. Anyway! I did all of that and whisked in the bicarb, which seemed like quite a lot to me, and it went all foamy and threatened to overflow the pan, so I poured it into the mould where it carried on expanding and stuck to the parchment. Thankfully it settled before devouring the kitchen and so I left it to cool. Alas! The stuck bits meant that it didn't recede smoothly and I was left with a haunting, depressed landscape that turned out to be an absolute bugger to break up.
It really was horrible, breaking this thing into sensibly-sized shards for dipping. And it turned out that I'd left the caramel on the heat for about ten seconds too long as it tasted slightly too burned. I know cinder toffee is supposed to taste slightly burned, but this was just a little bit over. So! Total waste of sugar, chocolate and an evening. Except it wasn't, of course; I'm quite happy with the photographs, which do seem to be a bit on the disturbing side, especially if you don't know what they depict. It's funny how many of those holes look like screaming mouths from a mass of tortured souls.
Am looking for better cinder toffee recipes.