These Muscovado Toffees have a rich, dark molasses flavour and a lovely chew to them – the best toffee recipe ever!
I was 10 years old when I first tasted the muscovado toffees that would forever be imprinted in my mind. The toffees were made and sold by a little old lady at the Great Brak River craft market. They were large cubes of dark, dusky-flavoured toffee wrapped in brown paper and these sweets were the highlight of every visit. To eat them (and avoid a trip to the dentist), you had to wedge the chunk of toffee into your cheek. You’d then have to wait so it would soften before chewing.
They were an eyes-closed-moment. I’ve searched most of my adult life for the recipe that would recreate the flavour I remember. While I’ve tried to make toffees with every kind of sugar, they failed to taste like the toffees I remember. It wasn’t until Natura Sugars introduced their Dark Muscovado Sugar to South Africa that I finally found the missing secret ingredient!
What is Dark Muscovado Sugar?
The key to the depth of flavour in these toffees is to use proper Dark Muscovado Sugar. Some sugars labelled as Muscovado are really just white sugar with the molasses added back in. Some of them don’t even use molasses but instead add syrup. How do you know? Check the label at the back.
True Muscovado sugar (like the kind Natura Sugars makes which comes from Mauritius) is unrefined. This means the molasses is never removed and all the goodness and flavour is left in the sugar. It is so good, you can eat it with a spoon! You’ll taste sweetness first then floral and fruity notes and a delicious smoky aftertaste. These are all flavours that make this toffee amazing!
My Toffee Tips
Sugar cookery can be intimidating. But there are a few pressure points which will help you get the texture of these muscovado toffees spot on.
First, when you place all the ingredients together in a saucepan, don’t bring it to a boil immediately. The key is to let the sugar melt completely first. Boiling it before this happens will cause your sugar syrup to crystallize.
Second, avoid any sugar crystals on the sides of the pot. Use a pastry brush dipped in hot water to brush them away.
Third, invest in a sugar thermometer. The difference between a soft, soggy toffee and a lovely chewy toffee is a matter of a few degrees. I have an old sugar thermometer which I inherited from my great grandmother as well as a digital thermometer; either will do the job and they’re more affordable than you think.
Fourth, when it comes to toffee, moisture is the enemy. Make sure you store the wrapped toffees in an airtight jar. I place a layer of rice or silica gel sachets in the bottom to absorb any moisture from the air. Not they’ll last long enough for you to store them, anyway!
How to make Muscovado Toffees:
300g Natura Sugars Dark Muscovado Sugar
110g (80ml) golden syrup
50ml double cream
30g salted butter
large pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Line the base and side of 20cm x 30cm baking tin with baking paper.
Heat the sugar, golden syrup, milk, cream and butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Insert a sugar thermometer and bring the mixture to the boil.
Let the sugar syrup boil until it reaches 138°C, soft crack stage.
Once the sugar syrup has reached the correct temperature, remove the pan from the heat. Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well and pour into the prepared tin. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Once the mixture has cooled slightly and is just set, score the toffee into 4cm x 2cm pieces. Scoring the toffee will make it easier to break later.
Leave the toffee to cool for about 20-30 minutes or until completely cold. Remove the toffee from the baking tin.
Break the toffees into pieces. Wrap in cellophane and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 4 weeks. Makes 50.