Monday, November 24, 2008

Homemade Toffee


Last night, one of my bestest friends came over for a girls night (Chris had a bachelor party to go to). I have always wanted to try to make candy- and since my friend likes to bake and likes sweets as much as I do- I thought we could give toffee a try. It seemed simple enough.

So here is what happened:

We tried a Martha Stewart recipe from my magazine. It looked like this.

Beautiful and easy according to the directions. But ours turned out like this . . . and smoke filled the apartment.

It is completely inedible. But we did not give up- we wanted to figure out what went wrong and what to do to prevent it from happening again. We did some online research and found common candy making mistakes. We burned our toffee for two reasons. First, at this altitude, water boils at 202 degrees rather than 212 desgress at sea level. (Subtract 1 degree for every 500 ft above sea level.) So instead of cooking the candy to 300 degrees as per the instructions, we should have only cooked it to 290. Second, some suggested we test the thermometer to make sure it was accurate by boiling water. We did that and found that my candy thermometer said that water boils at 170 degrees. The thermometer is over 30 degrees off! And when you add in the 10 for altitude- we over cooked the toffee by 40 degrees. So yeah, it burned.

We tried again, with Betty Crocker at our side, and came up with this . . .

We made the second common mistake of allowing the butter and sugar to separate. It is a grainy pile of sugar and fat. It sure does taste pretty good- but not much like toffee. So I am returning the candy thermometer today and I hope to find another, more reliable, one soon. (Maybe Christmas?) My friend and I have vowed to get this right- we are going to try and try until we get this candy making science down. If you have any knowledge or advice we would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

Fleur de Sel Toffee from


ashley (sweet and natural) said...

I've never been a candy maker, with the exception of fudge. Maybe make that instead - it's easy! :-P

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

hi taryn
i havent tried it but i know your perseverence wil bear fruit and you will make on eof the most wonderful tofee..cheers for now, eh !

Mandy said...

We will get this right (eventually!). :)

Nazarina A said...

Thanks for visiting me fellow Coloradan!!!

Urghhh! welcome to my world of constantly changing recipes to adapt to above 5280 ft above sea level. I have too learned that because of the boiling point, foods cooked in steam or boiling liquid take longer to cook. Also does this candy not require baking soda?
Lower air pressure may also cause recipes using baking soda, baking powder,egg whites to rise excessively, then fall. Should you not be using a little less baking soda?? I know that you are not baking here, but the whole baking soda aspect applies to candy too.
Also you can get more help at
I shall check back if you have found out some more information. I have to make something 2-3 times before it is okay, I am talking more along the lines of bread making, sugar decorations etc...
Have a happy Thanksgiving!!!

Diana said...

The second dish looks tempting...

Taryn said...

Thanks for the info Nazarina- I didn't know that about baking soda- good to know.
I will look into the stuff.