Making treacle

T is for Toffee

This week I couldn’t choose between recipes or the type of dessert I wanted to cook, so I combined all of them. This first ‘T is for…’ recipe is for toffee, which, if you make, will come in very handy for the second ‘T is for…’ recipe, which will be the blog entry following this one.

You will need a sugar/jam thermometer for this recipe – the mixture needs to be cooked to a specific temperature and if it’s not reached, the treacle will not set properly. You can get one for about £10 and will mean you can cook up jams, fudge and toffee sweets whenever you want (so well worth the investment in my opinion).

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Making treacle

Making treacle

Ingredients (all from the baking aisle in the supermarket):

  • 450g dark brown sugar;
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 150g black treacle
  • 5g cream of tartar
  • a dribble of oil for greasing
  • 125ml water

Recipe:

  1. In a large pan, over a medium heat, add the water and brown sugar and leave to boil until the sugar is dissolved. You need to use the biggest pan you can as the mixture will bubble up to about 4 times its volume later.
  2. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and add the cream of tartar, golden syrup and black treacle. Then place back on a medium-high heat and attach your sugar thermometer.
  3. Boil until the mixture reaches 140°C – this can take a bit of time, but don’t take your eyes off it, as it can burn easily. Whilst you’re waiting, line a baking tray with silicon paper lightly greased with oil.
  4. As soon as the toffee reaches 140°C remove from the heat and pour into the pre-lined baking tray and leave to cool. Once cool to touch pop in the fridge. It shouldn’t take more than an hour to harden. Then when the toffee is solid, cover with another sheet of baking paper/tin foil (to stop toffee shattering everywhere) and smash it into small pieces with a hammer or the end of a rolling-pin.

Making treacle

.Making treacle

O is for Orange and Fig Muffins

I wanted to make something sweet this weekend, and then conveniently stumbled across this recipe for orange and fig muffins. As a huge fan of fig-based food (except fig rolls – who eats those?) I had to give this recipe a go.

Having cooked dinner for a friend last week including figs with greek yogurt and honey for dessert, I learnt that being a fig fan is more of a minority than a majority (given the amount of left overs). So apologies if you aren’t a massive fig fan; however these muffins are deliciously light, fruity and sweet so please try at least once.

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Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 – 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 200g fresh figs, stalks discarded, chopped into 1cm pieces, plus 1 whole fig for decoration
  • 2 tbsp clear honey

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. If you have muffin cases, line 8 holes of a deep muffin tin or 12 holes of normal sized muffin tin. If you don’t have any muffin cases, grease the muffin tin holes well with butter and dust lightly with flour.
  2. Place the softened butter in a large bowl with the sugar and beat together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the beaten eggs and sifted flour a bit at a time (I did it in three turns) and fold in. The idea is that the flour doesn’t go everywhere and you’re not beating all the air our the mixture.
  4. Finally fold in the orange zest and chopped figs and ensure evenly distributed.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases – if not using muffin cases fill to near the top of the brim of the muffin tin hole. Place a final slice of fig on the top of each muffin. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until risen and golden brown on top. You can check the muffins are cooked by piercing with a knife and checking it comes out clean.
  6. Whilst the muffins are cooking, heat the honey and orange juice in a small pan over a gently heat until slightly reduced – it takes about 5 minutes.
  7. Once the muffins are out the oven, drizzle over a little of the orange syrup over each muffin (which will seep through the muffin infusing flavour). Leave for about 20 minutes to cool down before turning out and gorging.

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H is also for Honeycomb

This week I’ve needed a sweet tooth, so I’ve managed to create both another H recipe (honeycomb) and homemade ice cream (the upcoming I recipe).

Honeycomb is deceptively easy to make, you just need to keep an eye on it as sugar gets very hot!

Baking soda

 

Honeycomb - sugar and golden syrup

Preparation time: 1 minute

Cooking time: 5 minutes (plus 1hour of cooling in the fridge)

Ingredients:

  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1.5 tsps baking soda

Recipe:

  1. In a saucepan, stir the sugar and golden syrup together. Stir as much as you want now but as soon as you apply heat, you must not stir, only swirl.
  2. Put the saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture has completed melted and bubbles until the colour of maple syrup, which takes about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the baking soda and stir vigorously. The honeycomb will froth up instantly. Pour this onto greased tinfoil.
  4. Put in the fridge and leave to set for about an hour. Smash with a clean hammer or rolling pin and it’s ready to eat.

Honeycomb - bubbling

Honeycomb - frothing Honeycomb - setting