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black treacle toffee

(recipe, Hank Sawtelle)

Introduction Summary: Children throughout the United Kingdom know this as "bonfire toffee" because it's traditionally eaten as the bonfires smoke and crackle on Guy Fawkes Night. Black treacle is available at Classic Cigars and British Goodies, 2907 Wilson Blvd., in Arlington (703-525-6510), at Rodman's stores in the District and Maryland, and through several online gourmet foods purveyors. Use a smaller pan if you want thicker candy. The wrapped candies can be stored in an airtight tin for several weeks. Makes 35 to 40 pieces


  1. * ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
  2. * 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  3. * 8 tablespoons black treacle (see headnote)
  4. * 2 tablespoons water
  5. * 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar


  1. Use nonstick cooking oil spray to lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or pan (preferably with squared corners).
  2. Combine the brown sugar, butter, black treacle and water in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring to combine. Cover; when the mixture bubbles, add the vinegar, stirring briefly to combine.
  3. Cover and let the mixture bubble/boil without stirring for about 6 minutes or until it reaches 255 to 260 degrees on a candy thermometer; cook to the lower temperature if you prefer a softer candy. Alternatively, if you do not have a candy thermometer, cook until a small amount of the mixture forms a fairly firm ball when dropped into cold water (known as the hard-ball stage).
  4. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared dish or pan. Let cool slightly; use a sharp knife to score rows of pieces; that will make it easier to break the toffee apart when it has cooled completely.
  5. Cool for several hours or overnight. Use a mallet to break the toffee, or enclose the candy in a plastic food storage bag and smack it on a hard surface, such as a kitchen counter. The toffee might not break along the scored lines; that is okay. If the candy is soft, use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces.
  6. Wrap the toffee pieces in cellophane, wax paper or parchment paper.