I finally got my act together to participate in my first Daring Bakers challenge. I have been following their adventures in baking for so long, so I was quite excited to try some creations my self. The August challenge was to make candy and practice your chocolate tempering skills. For my first candy I decided to make Sponge Toffee. I have never tried anything like this before. I have made my own caramel sauce and attempted chocolate covered toffee but sponge toffee is a little different. Different due to the addition of baking soda, which causes the caramel to expand creating the sponge look. I will tell you this I wasn't quite prepared for the expansion. The recipe said a 10 inch springform pan is all I would need. Hmmm... read on.
(Adapted from Christine Cushing via Daring Bakers)
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup - (I used half dark, half light)
- 6 tbsp (60 ml) water
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil for greasing pans
- 350 grams bittersweet/dark chocolate for dipping
1) Grease a 10 inch round spring form pan with the oil. Cover the bottom and sides with parchment and grease again.
2) Add the sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla to a medium-large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not stir! If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan during the cooking process, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.
3) Cook until hard crack stage - 300F on a candy thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, take a small piece of the mixture and drop it into cold water. The caramel should become brittle and break easily when dropped or bent.
4) Remove from heat. Work quickly, add the baking soda and quickly stir and combine to incorporate the baking soda.
The mixture will expand and bubble up with the addition of the baking soda. It is hot, do not touch. Thanks to my husband for taking the photos while I am stirring.
5) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Now, you are supposed to let the mixture set completely before touching. My mixture however continued to expand overflowing the pan, so there was slight panic and I attempted to scoop some off and put into another pan. The scooped portion did not turn out quite as light and airy as the original pan. So yes, let it sit and don't over crowd the pan.
6) After the toffee has set, at least 20 minutes. Cut into pieces. You will not get perfect pieces and you will get lots of crumbs. I am going to save these for future baking.
7) I decided to dip parts of my sponge toffee in proper tempered chocolate. Melt the chocolate, using a double boiler. When the chocolate reaches 113F, remove from heat and pour 3/4 of the chocolate onto your desired worktop.
8) Using a scraper or palette knife, move the chocolate around the surface to help it cool, spreading and folding it back on to it self. You want it to cool slowly, without setting.
9) Once the mixture has cooled to 80F, place the chocolate back into the bowl with the remaining chocolate and combine. You want the temperature to return to 89F. If it fails to return to 89F when combining, place back over simmering water. Monitor the temperature so it does not rise above the 90F.
10) Remove from heat. The chocolate is now properly tempered and ready for dipping. Place half the sponge toffee pieces into the chocolate and let dry on silpat or parchment.
Final Step is crunch away. This recipe was fun and interesting, not to mention delicious! What a great Daring Bakers challenge. Caramel and toffee can be tricky if you start to get crystallization but this recipe worked out very well, other than the pan size. I might have a back up ready for next time. The toffee has a great deep caramel flavour with an awesome crunch. Now I need to figure out what to do with the bits and pieces. Fun.
MEG's RATING : D-EEEE-LICIOUS!