Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sponge toffee - Part Deux

The advantage of making your own sponge toffee is that you can create your own flavors. In this post, we will look at espresso flavored sponge toffee. The recipe is:

1/4 cup espresso
1/4 cup honey
1 cup sugar (any combination of white, brown, and/or Turbinado)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
(Notice that there is no vinegar here. It really does not bring anything to the party, so leave it out.)

As with any other sponge toffee recipe, heat the first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan until 300 F, quickly mix in the baking soda, and pour it all into a greased pan or parchment paper-lined pan. If you use a silicon mat, make sure the sides of the pan are either greased or lined with parchment paper. That's it. For the results, here's a video:

In the video, I tried putting a few chocolate chips on the bottom of the pan to see what would happen. It's actually a good idea if you were going to drizzle chocolate on it anyway. The advantage is that the heat of the toffee when you pour it on top of the chocolate will melt the chocolate and make it flat. I'm not sure why that's a good thing, but if you want that kind of presentation, there you go. Fancy, eh?

Upon closer inspection, the pan was actually too big to make a difference in thickness of the toffee. For this amount of candy, use a smaller pan, perhaps a square brownie pan, so that the toffee has less room to spread out. In the batch that I showed in the video, the sides were a little higher but the middle was exactly the same height as the other slab of sponge toffee. However, the taste was definitely better in this batch because the espresso and honey contribute some nice complex flavors. Corn syrup (replaced by honey here) is cheaper but really has no flavor. The molasses from the brown sugar also adds some nice dark flavor to the toffee. If you want to make a lot of sponge toffee with honey, BMS has a great deal - 5 pounds of wildflower honey for only $13.99. That's enough honey to make sponge toffee for your friends and your neighbors' friends.

For another person's experiences and pictures of the sponge toffee-making process, see the Chocolate Apprentice. That page also has a recipe for nut croquant.

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