My partner is English, and though he doesn’t really have a sweet tooth (compared to me!), he does really like toffee. But we can never buy toffee for him in Australia which is as hard as the English toffee that he likes. For his birthday this year, rather than go on a wild goose chase to sweet shops looking for proper hard English toffee, I decided that we would make some. That meant, it would be vegan (and I could eat it too!).
After some googling I decided to use the “plain toffee” recipe from One Green Planet. Luckily I had recently bought a candy thermometer for my homemade vegan marshmallow experience. I used a mixture of brown sugar and raw sugar (since I ran out of brown sugar!) and I just used Nuttelex (lite) for the vegan butter. (Nuttelex is an Australian vegan margarine.)
I found it a relatively terrifying process, especially when the kids wanted to keep checking up on how the toffee was doing. It’s the closest most of us ever come to cooking with boiling lava, I guess. This is the first time I’ve made toffee as an adult (I vaguely think I may have helped Mum make some at some point). There was a LOT of stirring, and stirring, and wondering if the toffee would overflow the pan (I poured the bubbling mixture into a bigger pan halfway through, then had to attach the candy thermometer to the new pan while continuing to stir! not recommended). Finally, the temperature reached the line marked “HARD CRACK” on the thermometer, so I added the vanilla and poured the toffee into a prepared tray. Sure enough, after some time in the fridge it really did set into hard, proper English toffee.
Cracking the toffee into bits was great fun: my nearly-8 year old particularly enjoyed that part. I’ll admit that the toffee does taste slightly burnt: I was concerned that the temperature wasn’t climbing high enough, so I turned the heat up a little too far. Now I know to just trust, and keep stirring. But my partner is very impressed with our homemade toffee, and we all think it tastes delicious.