Puff candy and the Commonwealth Games

crumbsAt work I’m exposed to lots of UK television programming. It’s great because I get to see a whole lot of world news and I’m constantly swooning over awesome accents. And at the moment you can’t escape talk of the Commonwealth Games.

They’re everywhere! So as a little contribution to the excitement that surrounds the Glasgow games, I’m sharing a recipe for a sweet that I sampled for the first time in Castle Douglas in Scotland. I didn’t have Instagram then, so I can’t provide you with photo evidence, but I can assure you that it was amazing – both the puff candy and the town.

The town was friendly, breath-taking and cozy. The puff candy (also known as cinder toffee) was unexpectedly delicious and lasted us for days! It’s kind of like the filling of a Crunchie, just slightly less crumbly. Now every time that I make it, I’m transported back to Castle Douglas and am reminded of glorious green country side and curious cows!

Puff candy:

  • 1 cup sugarlayers
  • ½ cup golden syrup
  • 3 tsp bicarb
  • 100g chocolate (optional)

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin. Set this to one side, but keep it close by as you’re mixing as you need to work quickly in the latter stages of the recipe.

Combine the sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. When the mixture has come to a boil, put your wooden spoon to one side and try to use it less. As the mixture bubbles away, try to stir the mixture by picking the pan up and physically swirling the mixture.

Boil for 5-6 minutes, swirling to avoid burning. At this point the mixture should have started to bubble nicely, it will look sort of frothy. It should also have turned a deep amber colour.

The next two steps happen quickly, so be prepared to be speedy.

aboveTake the mixture off the heat and, working quickly, sprinkle the bicarb evenly across the top then fold in gently. Don’t over-mix, as that will deflate the bubbles that are integral to the snap of the finished product.

Try to distribute the bicarb well to ensure that it puffs up evenly. After you’ve folded the bicarb in, the mixture will change colour and rise rather swiftly. Pour it into your prepared tin as evenly as possible, then shake the tin to even it out a little.

The mixture will start to set as soon as you pour it into your pan. Leave
it to cool and set for 30 minutes, then chop roughly and drizzle with melted chocolate.

jarThese crunchy delights will keep for a few days in an airtight container… whether or not you can resist temptation for that long is another matter!


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