Did you know sugar thermometers only cost about £3.50? I was not aware of this fact until a week or so ago, but is this not brilliant?
I hope that if you try these recipes you’ll agree that this might be the best money you’ll ever spend!
The whole thing was inspired by having to pick up a lemon last week. I got a hankering for something sweet, and bought a bag of fudge. It was chewy. Vaguely reminiscent of something that might be fudge. It was horrible. I like fudge to have that slight sugary grain, like the Scottish slab, and to be so rich you feel like you may have to call an ambulance to deal with the heart attack that will happen soon after you consume three too many pieces.
And I must be honest. It went wrong at first. I had a dish full of sloppy caramel that wouldn’t set. If this happens, just scrape it back in the pan, add a few tablespoons of water and redo it a couple of degrees higher. Second time lucky.
Inspired by my first success, a few nights later, I made honeycomb. Or cinder toffee if you’re northern. I love Crunchies. I love the Aussie version, Violet Crumble even more. The crunch, and the buttery sweetness are honestly one of the greatest flavours on the planet.
You can use a dairy free spread in the place of the butter too, but in both recipes, the fat content of the butter is needed for it to set properly, so do not toy with low fat options. You don’t eat this stuff to get thin!
Anyway, onwards. Satisfy your sweet tooth!
You will need a sugar thermometer, and a watchful eye
- 100g butter
- 550g soft brown sugar
- 200g golden syrup
- 350ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- a dash of salt
Add the butter, cut up small to melt more easily, the sugar, the golden syrup and the cream to a saucepan over a low heat, and stir together until it’s all melted together. Obviously you need to keep watching and being careful not to let it settle and start burning.
Once it’s all mixed, bring the heat just below medium, and allow the mixture to heat up to 116c, stirring as little as possible.
Once it hits the magic temperature, remove from the heat, beat in the vanilla and salt. Keep beating the mixture till it stops being so shiny and starts to dull.
Pour into a greased or lined tin, about 20 by 20cm would be best. I used the bottom of two loaf tins!
Allow to sit for about an hour, then cut lines in to divide it into squares, or your preferred fudge shape. Put in the fridge for another 40 minutes or so, then feast!
Before I start, the effect of bicarbonate of soda at the end is like magic. But be careful. It’s like tasty napalm at that moment, so DO NOT touch unless you really like having burn scars.
- 165g demerara sugar
- 165g caster sugar
- 60ml golden syrup
- 4 tbsp water
- 15g butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
Again, put everything but the bicarbonate of soda in a saucepan, over a low heat until it’s all melted and mixed. Turn up the heat a little, to off medium (for me, this is just before a gas hob starts ‘whispering’).
Allow to heat up to 138c, stirring to ensure that the temperature is roughly even throughout. It’ll go slow then fast, because physics. For some reason the heat seems to gain momentum. Make sure you have your bicarbonate of soda to hand- you’ll need quick access shortly.
As soon as it hits 138c, remove from the heat, and immediately stir in the tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and stir. The sugar mixture will bubble and swell excitingly, like you imagined secondary school chemistry would be like. Stir well, to avoid salty pockets of soda, then pour into a well greased tin to set. After 30 minutes, you could cut it into squares, but it’s much more fun to let if set, transfer it to a plate, then smash it up with something heavy. I used the tray itself!