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January 8 National English Toffee Day

Discussion in 'Foods of the Civil War' started by donna, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Toffee has been around for about 200 years. In 19th century England they had Toffee Parties in the winter. They especially had them in January, and so the start of Jan 8th as National English Toffee day.

    In the early 18th century sweets were expensive to make. It was affordable to the wealthy class. Later in the century the price of sugar and its by-product treacle dropped. Thus, sugar became more available to other classes. Additionally, "taffia" , a West Indies rum, was often used as an inexpensive sweetener. Some say toffee got its name from taffia.

    Toffee was popular in the U.S. in the 19th century. It was made in many households. This type of toffee known as English Toffee is very buttery and often made with almonds. It was available
    in both chewy and hard versions. The famous Heath bar is a type of candy made with an English toffee core.

    An easy recipe for plain toffee:

    1 lb sugar, light brown
    1/3 pint water
    2 1/2 tablespoons butter
    2 level tablespoons golden syrup
    1 teaspoon white vinegar

    Put all ingredients into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and stir over a steady heat until the sugar has dissolved.

    Bring mixture to a boil and cook until mixture reached the hard crack stage, 290 degrees. To test for the hard crack stage drop about 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of cold water, if it is hard then it is done. If soft and chewy cook a little longer and test again.

    Pour into oiled or buttered tin and either allow to set as a slab or mark in squares as toffee becomes partially set. When cold break into squares, wrap in cellophane and store in an airtight container.

    makes 1 to 1 1/2 pounds toffee.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015

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  3. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    A little history on the Heath Bar.

    The Heath Bar was first marketed in 1914 by L.S. Heath of Robinson, Illinois. He bought a confectionary shop for his sons, Baynad and Everett Heath.

    It was a very popular bar during the depression. People felt it was a great buy and so delicious. The popularity of the bar grew after the U.S. Army placed their first large order for the candy. During World War II, the army had the candy bar as part of the rations in each soldier's sack. It had a long shelf life and was very tasty for the soldiers.

    In 1996 Hersey acquired the Heath Bar. It remains a very popular candy.

    I love them. A great treat with a cup of coffee.
     
  4. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    A delicious cookie recipe from Hersey's kitchens using Heath Bits 'O Brickle.

    1 1/3 cups Heath Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Bits
    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

    Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until well-blended. Add eggs, beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well-blended. Stir in toffee bits.

    Drop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

    On a cold day like today, these be great fresh from the oven. Have with milk or a cup of coffee. A great treat for a January day.
     
  5. nitrofd

    nitrofd Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Time to bump this thread.
     
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  6. MaryDee

    MaryDee Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    I used to make toffee for Christmas. When cool, I'd pour melted chocolate over the top and sprinkle with finely chopped nuts. When cold, I used a hammer. Sort of a primitive Heath bar?

    IMHO, a candy thermometer is worthwhile, although perhaps not period for most folks. For me, the first test for hard crack was always too soft, the second overcooked!
     
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  7. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Mary Dee some trivia on Candy Thermometer:

    The candy or sugar thermometer is quite old. The first was created by Bennet Muzilla of Frankfurt, Germany in 1272. He used it to measure the temperature of sugar solutions while making hard candies.

    The ones like we use today came later in late 19th century early 20th century.
     
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  8. Anna Elizabeth Henry

    Anna Elizabeth Henry Sergeant Major Silver Patron

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    Wow! That's very interesting about the candy thermometer! I would never have guessed they were used one back in the 13th century. I figured they were making candy blindly back then.
     
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  9. FarawayFriend

    FarawayFriend Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    As @donna had asked me to, I did a little research on that inventor, Bennet Muzilla. The name is definitely not German, I suppose it is Arabic. That would be fitting, because the Arabs invented a lot of fine desserts and in the wake of the crusades, some (both recipes and Arabs, lol) came to Europe. Unfortunately I could not find anything about a man called Muzilla, living in Frankfurt around 1270, and the Wikipedia article that states him as the inventor did not give a source.
    But I found something interesting about candy thermometers. Here is an article about the candy thermometer used in the early 20th century:
    http://researchingfoodhistory.blogspot.de/2010/01/candy-thermometer.html?m=1
     
  10. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Thanks to Faraway Friend for her research. I had tried looking for Mr. Muzilla but could find nothing . I thought Andrea would be able to help and has. Thanks for the additional info on the candy thermometers.
     
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  11. AshleyMel

    AshleyMel Corporal

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    Thanks for this! My daughter LOVES toffee and I do not have a recipe. I usually buy the little container from Trader Joes! It is delish but this sounds even better!
     

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