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Recipe File: English Toffee
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, so you're supposed to put in the sugar first? That explains it.

I tried your toffee recipe twice, and got the same result as farjane both times. Today I made some of your fudge, which worked out very well, and sprinkled some toffee pieces into it. I guess I'll have to wait and get a second taste opinion, though (I'm bringing it over to the house of my boyfriend's relatives).
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:00 am    Post subject: additional shelf life Reply with quote

okay. So, I have the recipe down pack. Now, how can I extend the shelf life? I know that over time the toffee becomes "fudgy" and have tried to dip the toffee pieces completely in chocolate and that seems to help. But, how do I extend it even longer? Thanks Unsure
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for another great recipe!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:11 pm    Post subject: AVOIDING SEPARATION OF BUTTER AND SUGAR Reply with quote

AVOIDING SEPARATION OF BUTTER AND SUGAR. I made this recipe for the first time about 3 years ago with the intention of giving bags out as gifts to clients. My sister had made it tons of times with no problem. I made it over and over and over again always getting the same result....SEPARATION!....It was driving me crazy because I even went to my sisters house to have her watch me and tell me what I was doing wrong. The same thing happened! Anger We were pretty much calling it "Toffee Karma" at this point but I refused to give up. After much searching and reading on the internet I found my answer. HUMIDITY! I had always had a pot of water on one of the other burners slowly simmering to add moisture to our dry winter air. The humidity, in such close proximity to the toffee making, was causing my toffee to crystalize. It just so happened that when I went to my sisters to make it, she was making a pot of soup for dinner while I was making the toffee, so of course....I got the same separation problem. You wouldn't believe how much butter and sugar I wasted before figuring this out. So....

Tip 1: Most important tip of all.....have a coolish DRY environment in your kitchen.

Tip 2: It sometimes works to add about 1/8 cup of hot water (very slowly so you don't get splattered!) if you notice the mixture starting to separate. Or better yet, just brushing down the crystals forming on the side of the pan and the spoon handle with a pastry brush dipped in water. I felt that the more water added to remedy the situation, the more the final texture was altered (not in a good way) I know adding water sounds contradictory to the humidity explanation above....and that's why it took me so long to figure it out....but it does work. It doesn't cause more crystalization when applied in this way, it just melts the forming crystals and washes them back down into the toffee

Tip 3: I felt that heating the sugar and butter up to quickly (being impatient and setting the burner on high just to get it going) seemed to create a higher likelyhood of separation problems. So be really doesn't take too long.

Tip 4: Stirring too vigorously also seemed to contribute to separation problems. I do stir quite regularly, and toward the end I stir constantly, but gently.

STORING TIP: Humidity matters here also. That's why recipes usually recommend an covered/air-tight container. I have had no problem storying mine in the frig BUT it's very important if you're going to do this, to let it come back to room temperature before allowing it to come into contact with the air in the room. Any moisture in the room will condense on the surfact of the toffee if it's cold (just like on a cold coke can) and affect the texture of your toffee (it gets sticky) Storing it in the frig, in itself, has never been a problem for me, and I almost think it's even safer in there as the refrigerator air is usually quite dry. However I always keep it covered till it's come to room temp.

I hope I've just saved someone from going through what I went through! This toffee is so absolutely fabulous it's totally worth making! And it's really easy actually.....believe it or not!
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:30 pm    Post subject: Chocolate comes off when breaking!! Reply with quote

Any idea why the chocolate sperates from the candy? Thanks for any tips.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:54 pm    Post subject: Mars bar toffee Reply with quote

Hello, everyone!
I loved this recipe, but I need the recipe (or at least, a similar one) of that type of toffee they put in the Mars bar.
Thank you!

P.S.: I need it urgently! Please! Shock Shock Disbelief Disbelief Unsure
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:14 pm    Post subject: butter separates when cooking toffee Reply with quote

We have been having trouble with toffee. We have a candy thermometer and are watching the temperature and just before it reaches 300 the butter starts to separate out. One time it was after we took it off the heat and we added the vanilla and the butter separated out. What are we doing wrong? We did not have this trouble in previous years. No matter how much we stir the butter does not mix back together until the toffe is burned to near a crisp. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:15 pm    Post subject: Any adjustments for altitude Reply with quote

I live above 6000 ft, do I need to do anything different at this altitude? My husband is very excited for me to try the recipe.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 8:50 am    Post subject: separation Reply with quote

first round, this thing came out great. Second round, pool of grainy toffee covered in greese. grrrrrrrr. I'm trying again in the morning ( i ran out of butter ) there seem to be 2 trains of thought found in the forum i will try them both. start at a nice cool temperature to combine the butter and sugar, and stir gently. I'll repost my findings in the morning.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 8:13 pm    Post subject: Yummy toffee-but too hard for braces! Reply with quote

I have enjoyed your toffee in the past but I have braces, so whenever I try to eat this I end up being scared of cracking something. Any ideas?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised to see such a glaring technical oversight that no one has picked up yet in this recipe that is supposedly on a website devoted to an analytical discussion of cooking. Namely, the part where it says to stir constantly over medium high heat is incorrect. Stirring increases the chance for crystallization to occur thus leading to the separation that so many people have complained about. Also, it's better to heat it gradually over low to medium heat rather than medium high. The person who posted the suggestion of dipping a brush in water and rinsing the sides of the pot had the right idea. Less chance of crystallization occurring that way. All of this info can be found in Harold McGee's book, On Food and Cooking.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:34 pm    Post subject: Altitude Adjustment Reply with quote

In response to Sara's post, yes, you should adjust. I live at 5000 and so I reduce the temps suggested in all recipes by 10 degrees. Click the link below for great info on cooking at altitude. Good luck.

My own thoughts on the recipe are that it works well and is very similar to all other recipes I have seen. As far as stirring goes, it shouldn't increase the chances of separation. I think the idea is to not allow the mixture to stick and burn. I use a double boiler and so I don't really take that risk. However, I still stir constantly and never have separation issues.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:10 am    Post subject: separation Reply with quote

I just finished my 3rd batch of this and it was the only one that did not "fully" separate before hitting the 300 degree mark. The first 2 batches are sitting in the bottom of the trash can. The oil from the butter was poured off the finished product. The remaining stuff was particularly granular. I suppose my desire to beat this recipe overshadows the cost of the wasted ingredients.

On the 3rd batch I decided to lower the heat. While it did not separate it is still too grainy. If Heath made its' bars this way no one would be excited by the prospect of eating them.

I was delighted to find the "Cooking for Engineers" site. I expected a culinary Mr. Wizard or an online Alton Brown.

As I read the questions and comments on this recipe that go back almost a year and recognize that no one has responded I wonder what the value is of having the 'engineer' here?
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Michael Chu

Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1654
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:28 am    Post subject: Separation / Recipe problems Reply with quote

Unfortunately, it sounds like a lot of people seem to have problems with separation. As I've said in a previous comment, I've only managed to separate my toffee once and that was after deliberately trying to do so. In that attempt, I melted the butter on high heat first, dumped in the sugar, mixed until blended and then when I poured it onto a sheet pan, it was oil and hard stuff. That's pretty much not following the recipe. I've gone through about 8 pounds of butter (thank goodness for Costco) during the last couple months making sure that my recipe is correct - and I stand by it as written. Do all the steps - butter+sugar+salt+water melted at low heat, bring it up to 300°-310°F while stirring, take it off the heat and mix in vanilla extract, pour and spread. I am at sea level, however, so that may be an issue for high altitude cooks.

So, if you can't get your toffee to stay together, please don't just say it doesn't work or separates - please let us know what elevation you are at, and what steps you followed - even if it's the same as the recipe, write down what you did. There's no other way for me to figure this out, and figure it out I do want to do. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:55 pm    Post subject: taking some notes Reply with quote

Mike, you mention to stir constanly over medium-high heat. My stove has defined temp ranges of Warm, Low, Medium, Medium-High and High. Each of these temps have sub-graduations.

When I cooked 1st batch at the low-end of Med-High the mix separated at approximately 275 degrees. I was not sure what, if anything, I had done wrong so I made batch 2 the same way as batch one. Same result.

The last batch I made I cooked it in the upper range of Medium. The mix began to mildly separate at 300 degrees but I poured it out on a cookie sheet immediately. I have not thrown it out but I am not willing to give it as a gift yet, my ultimate goal. The consistency if granular. Is this what you get? If so, your recipe may not be what I am looking for. If not, I still need to tweak my procedures.

I don't know how to gauge the effectiveness of my stove's rheostat to deliver a specific level of heat. My minor test program suggests that I need to lower the heat even more to get a better result.

I did not time the cooking process. Have you? Elapsed time would at least allow unsuccessful cooks (that being me) one possible thing to look out for.

BTW I am at 558 elevation. Close enough to sea level but too far from the sea....
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