Chewy Malt Vinegar Toffees
This is a very special Foodie Friday – It’s also Mystery Ingredient Club day!! A seasonal even created by the lovely and talented Michael Lee West. When Michael contacted me and asked if I wanted to participate, I was ecstatic! “Yes, Yes, Yes,” I cried.
And then the mystery ingredient arrived and I panicked. Sprinkles! What am I going to do with sprinkles?
I simultaneously panicked, while admiring their cute test tube type packaging. How adorable is that? But mainly I panicked. I don’t bake. What does one do with sprinkles when one doesn’t bake? I also remembered that at I Heart Cooking Clubs this was the first week for my favorite chef, Donna Hay. So, being ever-so-resourceful I Googled Donna Hay and sprinkles and up popped Chewy Malt Vinegar Toffees! Cute little toffee candy with sprinkles on top. That would work! I mean candy making has to be much easier than baking, right?! There’s no oven, no flour. If you’ve made candy before, you’re probably chuckling a bit right now.
It started out simple enough, find a mini baking pan. And guess what? I actually had one! I have never used this. I’m not sure where I got it – either from my husband’s mother or from an estate or garage sale. I love, love, love baking wear with patina. I imagine all the scoops of batter, all the happy faces as it came out of the oven. I, of course, don’t add any patina to anything, since I rarely bake, so I have to find mine already filled with patina love.
Next you find mini muffin tin liners. I didn’t even know they made such a thing. So cute. They come in packages of 100, I don’t know what I’m going to do with the 80 or so I have left. Probably go on Pinterest and find some crafty because I am definitely not making candy again.
There is really only one step in this recipe. Well, you find your ingredients and then when you are done you pour the candy into the liners, but really only one middle step. That’s what fooled me. Just one middle step! How easy was that. Turns out – not very. So, all you have to do is put the sugar, water and vinegar in a pot and bring it up to 260 degrees. Really one sentence. But that one sentence hides a myriad of woes. So, it starts nicely enough and then begins to bubble and bubble. I start stirring it, trying to break up the bubbles at it creeps up to the top of the pot. I have to stop and lift the pot a few times as the bubbles get close. Of course, each time I lift, I am removing it from the heat. The thermometer is creeping so slowly, while the bubbles are on a race to the top. Finally one time, I lift it up too late, and molten, lava sugar flows over the sides on to my cooktop. I decide I need a bigger pan. I get one out and pour the molten lava into it leaving drips all over my counter top and attach the candy thermometer to the side. Guess what? The candy thermometer doesn’t reach down deep enough. So I pour it back into the original pot, spilling more on the counter top. I finally become a master with the spoon swirling and manage to keep the bubbles in check long enough to get to the much coveted 260 degrees.
I try to pour it into the little paper liners from my pot, but there is no pouring spout and it does not go well. So, I pour it into a big measuring cup and pour with that. Success! Except that everything in my kitchen is stuck to something else in my kitchen. Two pots are covered with a glasslike sheen of hardened candy, as is a large measuring cup, my countertop and sob.. my stove top. Once again, I turn to Google and learn that boiling water will loosen it. I spend the next hour or two, removing the candy from all of the surfaces of my kitchen.
Remember the sprinkles? The whole purpose of this candy? I decide to use the orange on the orange toffee, thinking it will look elegant. It doesn’t look elegant so much, more like invisible.
The final kicker comes when we get to eat them. They are stuck to their paper lines. One. Bonded for life. I developed a technique where I microwaved it for about 10 seconds, squeezed it all together like a taco and slurped up the oozing sides. Then you don’t actually chew it, you must let it dissolve in your mouth, that is if you want to keep any of your fillings in your teeth. But the flavor? Awesome! I loved them.
Experienced candy makers – what did I do wrong? And don’t say, “everything!”
Chewy Malt Vinegar Toffees
- 3 cups sugar caster, superfine
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup malt vinegar
- sprinkles to decorate
- Place the sugar, water, and vinegar in a large saucepan. Heat on high and bring to a boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes until a candy thermometer reads 260 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat and pour into a mini muffin tin lined with mini paper liners. Cool slightly and top with sprinkles.
I found this recipe in Donna Hay’s Magazine issue #53, which I paid a lot of money for to have it shipped to the US! But now, I get my subscription through iTunes and read it on my iPad! Love it!!