Measure the sugar, butter, syrup and cream or milk into a saucepan. Set over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring up to the boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture shows a temperature of 118°C. (245°F.) on a sugar thermometer, or until a little spooned into a saucer of cold water forms a soft ball of putty-like consistency. Draw the pan off the heat and allow the bubbles to subside.
Add the vanilla essence and using a wooden spoon beat the mixture until it becomes creamy in consistency. This is the most difficult part and is called ‘graining’ the mixture. When ready not only does the mixture visibly thicken to a creamy texture, but it begins to sound gritty in the pan and it also loses its shine. Pour at once into a buttered