Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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toffee, in Britain, denotes confections based on sugar, often brown, boiled with golden syrup or molasses-dark black treacle, and with milk, butter, or cream, to between 284° and 309°F, or 140° to 154°C (soft to hard crack). See stages of sugar syrup and sugar. Its color varies from medium to dark brown, and its texture is hard. Toffee boiled to higher temperatures is brittle enough to break but still chewy when eaten. Closely related to caramels and butterscotch, toffee provides a flavoring for sweet sauces or sticky toffee pudding, and small pieces add interest to ice creams. See butter; caramel; and sticky toffee pudding. Chewy varieties are included in chocolate bars. The toasty flavor that characterizes toffee is produced by the Maillard reaction, which occurs when sugars and proteins (from the dairy products) are heated together at high temperatures. See maillard, henri. Graining (recrystallization of the sugar) is discouraged, often by the addition of tartaric or other acid, except in a handful of recipes associated with Scotland and closely related to fudge or tablet. See fudge. Tablet is similar to fudge but has a harder texture and snaps satisfyingly; however, it still has the grained texture of fudge.