Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…
Halloween is over but bonfire night is rapidly approaching. If you’re not familiar with UK tradition, bonfire night (aka. Guy Fawkes’ night, Fireworks night, plot night) has been celebrated in England since 5th November 1605. It is a celebration of the Kings escape from assassination from Guy Fawkes and his 12 other conspirators. Guy Fawkes’ placed barrels of gunpowder under the houses of parliament. However, Guy was caught then hung, drawn and quartered. To read more about the history of bonfire night, click here.
Modern day Bonfire Night is pretty much like the 4th of July, we set off fireworks! Why? Because fireworks contain gunpowder. If you ever go to a [good] bonfire night party in the UK, you will see a spectacular fireworks display. Before the fireworks display, it is customary to light the bonfire. The bonfires are huge and keep you warm in the chilly autumn air from a distance. Before the lighting of the bonfire, a “Guy” (meaning Guy Fawkes) is made out of paper, tights (pantyhose), old clothes, etc. and moulded into the shape of a man and placed on top of the fire. You then watch as the fire takes hold and Guy Fawkes burns. Sounds a little crazy now but it’s all done in good humour and charity too. “Penny for the Guy?”
Continuing the tradition, bonfire toffee is often enjoyed around bonfire night too and sometimes throughout autumn and winter. Bonfire toffee is a hard toffee that traditionally contains brown sugar, black treacle, golden syrup and little other ingredients. It has a very rich deep molasses taste from both the sugar and the black treacle. It becomes chewy as it melts in your mouth too. Mmm!
And did I mention, it is yummy too? If you’ve never tried bonfire toffee, be sure to make yourself a batch. It’s very easy to make!
Bonfire Toffee Recipe
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15-25 mins
Yield: 500g toffee
- 450g (approx. 2 cups) dark brown sugar
- 125ml (approx. 7 tbsp) boiling water
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 115g (approx. 5.5 tbsp) black treacle (molasses)
- 115g (approx. 5.5 tbsp) golden syrup (light corn syrup), see notes.
- Line the base and sides of an A4 sized tin with non-stick parchment and then grease it really well.
- Put the sugar and boiling water in a heavy bottomed large pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved, do not stir the mixture at any point instead tilt the pan if you need to move it around.
- Weigh out your remaining ingredients, if you put them in a really well greased jug they will be much easier to pour out. Once the sugar has dissolved add all the ingredients and pop the sugar thermometer in, you can use the thermometer to give it a quick swirl but try not to mix it too much.
- Bring to the boil and boil until you reach soft crack on your thermometer (270℉/140℃) This may take up to 30 minutes, be patient and do not leave the pan unattended as it can change quickly. As soon as it reaches the temp, tip it into your tin and leave it to cool.
- Once cool remove it from the tin a break up with a toffee hammer or rolling pin. Store in an airtight tin or wrap up in boxes or cellophane bags to give as gift.
- Black treacle is very similar to liquid Molasses in the US. However, for an authentic recipe, golden syrup should be used and not light corn syrup. Golden syrup can now be found in most US supermarkets [or so I hear].
- TIP: To easily clean your pan and thermometer after use, fill with hot water and bring to the boil. This will melt any remaining residue making it easy to clean after.
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