cEnder candy, honeycomb, hockey-pokey, the stuff inside crunchy bars…whatever you call it, this crunchy caramel candy is as true a treat as eating it around the fire. A dramatic chemical reaction can rival Katherine’s wheel for excitement, while any leftovers, New Zealanders attest, are absolutely delicious folded into ice cream.
to equip 5 minutes
cook 15 minutes
Make More than you can eat
165g Demerara Sugar
165g fine sugar
60 ml golden syrup
15 grams buttercubes, plus lube (optional)
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 note on sweet things
This isn’t a recipe for sugar haters – I’ve found that the best flavor comes from a mixture of caster (for easy dissolving, though you can use plain white, if you’re patient) and demerara (for flavor), plus a bit of sugar syrup to prevent crystallization. You can use honey, if you prefer, but I prefer the golden syrup in this case.
2 Mix the sugars, syrup and butter
Put each of the sugars, syrup, four tablespoons of cold water and butter, if using, in a deep, heavy base skillet, then add a pinch of salt. Fat-free butter is lighter and more airy, but the richness of the butter is worth the trade-off in my opinion – you can use coconut oil or similar if you keep it vegan.
3 Melt slowly then boil
Gently heat the pan, turning it occasionally, until the sugar and butter are melted, then raise the heat a little and bring everything to a boil. Simmer over low heat until mixture reaches 148°C on a cooking thermometer, and turns bubbling and amber in color, which should take about 10 minutes.
4 tin tin
put a watchful eye on the pan of molten sugar, line a can of about 24 cm with greaseproof paper, push it well into the corners; Grease the can itself, if necessary, to help the paper stick. Put tin and bicarb within easy reach of the stove.
5 Add bicarb
When the mixture reaches the desired temperature, remove from heat and immediately whisk in bicarbonate of soda; The mixture should rise dramatically as the alkaline picarp reacts with the acid in the sugar to form bubbles of carbon dioxide. Work quickly to ensure no streaks of dry powder appear.
6 Pour into tin and cool
Pour the mixture into the lined tin and leave to cool and set. After about 15 minutes, you can chop it up into pieces, to make it easier to break up once it’s completely solid, although I prefer turning the whole cold toffee and smashing it into slivers with a spoon. Store in an airtight container to prevent it from becoming sticky.
7 alternative uses
Although you have to be careful when mixing the other ingredients in the ash candy, since the sugar is very hot and can easily burn it, it makes great applesauce. If they are glossy with wax, wash and peel the apples thoroughly, then dry them well so that the candy sticks. Remove the stems and poke in place with sticks, skewers, or forks.
8…make a toffee apple
Grease the baking tray, and once the toffee is ready, work as quickly as you can, dip each apple in it to cover it, then place it on the tray. Pour the remaining candy into a greased tray as in step 5 (there will be less, because some are on the apples, so you’ll get a thinner result; if you want thicker pieces, just use a smaller tray).
9 … or wrap it in chocolate
Cinder candy covered in chocolate, especially the bitter, dark kind. Leave to cool completely, then dip in melted chocolate and leave until set. I like to sprinkle the top with roughly chopped salted peanuts and some chili flakes, but customize to suit your own taste.