Toffee.WHAT?

What is toffee doing on this website? It’s made of refined sugar and butter and cream (isn’t it?see, I don’t even know how you make it!) and everything inequivocably non-welcome on this recipe site celebrating unrefined, healthsome plant foods. But here it is. Quite frankly I am beyond excited by this discovery. Beyond!

So here’s the thing. I don’t have a precise recipe until I get myself a thermometer but let me tell you the story.Some good friends introduced us to a decadent treat from Holland and Barrett called Sunita Honey Halva which only contains….honey, and ground sesame paste (aka tahini). The texture was this crumbly cinder-toffee type wonder that I never thought I would eat with impunity again. If you like sesame (I love it!) please find yourself a H&B store immediately and buy a slab. It costs £1.20-odd. I wasn’t sent any samples for writing this. I wish. It’s amazing. I have made halva at home by blending tahini, honey and some sesame seeds, and refridgerating it, but it was the texture that totally blew me away.

So my friends Chris and Sarah who were the benefactors of this blessed product, also passed me the link to a website called Home made recipes– a blog of Lebanese recipes. He explains how to make it. It’s an approximate ratio of   2:1, honey to tahini, (in fact, slightly more honey) and it’s all about heating the honey to a certain temperature, mixing it with tahini, and then leaving it in the fridge for 36 hours and the honeys sugars crystallise in a certain way to create a crumbly-cum-melt-in-the-mouth texture.

 I whipped up a batch last night, bracing myself for the 36 hour wait. Except- I didn’t have a thermometer. I bought one a month ago to make alternative yogurts with, and foolishly left it- still in it’s Jiffy Bag (Ebay) on the side. Within 10 minutes of Thermometer Arrival, Ellie had smashed it on the kitchen floor, by accident. (She was so remorseful, bless her.)

I just decided to wing it, and see if I could work out what “soft ball” stage was by myself.

I couldn’t.

So I left it bubbling for a few minutes and then at no particular moment, mixed in the tahini and popped it in the fridge in a lined tupperware. I wondered if I could wait 36 hours, after having licked the spoon. I didn’t need to. 36 minutes later, it was rock hard, like toffee. I obviously really over-heated it. However, as I looked at this big golden slab, and broke off pieces by banging a knife on it with the back of a wooden spoon, I couldn’t believe that I was eating nothing but honey and tahini.

I was chewing on sesame toffee, containing only honey and sesame seeds. The texture and taste was amazing! Do you know what this means friends? You may not like tahini, but you could add other nut or seed butters in here. Peanut butter, almond butter, and a long etcetera. And most importantly, with a candy thermometer, you can get the exact temperature to achieve the exact texture you want- chewey fudge, crumbly cinder-toffee, hard caramel.Peanut butter fudge. Almond butter nougat.   You could add cocoa, or sprinkle nuts and raisins through it. My head is positively reeling  🙂 

One last word- don’t make this with quality honey from your farmers market; enjoy all that wonderful (and expensive) nutrition unheated. I shall return with more information on this at a later date. I think I shall order a thermometer on Ebay, and go and get my breakfast calcium. A kale smoothie and a piece of  tahini toffee.

Where do YOU get your calcium?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
UPDATE: I have now made this several times, though still without a thermometer. Notes to bear in mind:
 
  • Have your tupperware lined and greased BEFORE you begin.
  • You can also sprinkly sesame seeds onto the bottom of your parchment paper, and then more on top, once the caramel is poured in. It makes it beautiful aswell as simply gosh-darn tasty.In a beautiful jar it would make a stunning gift for a sesame lover.
  • Gently warm your tahini in one small pot while your honey is heating in another.
  • I did not have my hob on full power- mine is a 1-5 setting, I had mine on 3.5.
  • Have a timer next to you and from the moment it begins to bubble nicely, time two minutes. Reduce 15-30 seconds for a slightly softer toffee.Personally I stir constantly to prevent patchy overheating- though I am no caramel expert. (With sugar, they say not to, I think).
  • Do not leave that pan, it can burn easily!
  • Remove from heat immediately after the two minutes, and stir in the tahini. It should be ready within 40 minutes of refridgeration.
  • Do not forget to scrape out the saucepan. I promise you will not regret it.
  • You will need a hammer and sharp knife to break it into small pieces for storage purposes, but when in mouth, it is pretty chewey almost immediately.
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4 responses to this post.

  1. Sounds like my kind of toffee. Thanks for sharing. Love kitchen accidents that turn into something amazing. 🙂

    Reply

  2. Beth, I can’t find the tahini toffee recipe on the Lebanese recipe site – have you got the temperatures for it – I have a thermometer so would like to try. My kids eat way too many sweets – this would be a great alternative.

    Hildi x

    Reply

  3. Sorry, I thought I had linked directly to the recipe, I have changed the link now. In any case the temp is 115 C, soft ball stage. I do not know what texture this creates on Day 1, I only know that after 36 hours (according to his recipe) the sugar crystals have formed to make a crumbly halva texture. I have made this twice, and simmered the honey for 2-3 (??) minutes, watching it like a hawk so it didn’t burn. Sorry I cannot be more helpful thus far. I wish the girls liked sesame!

    Reply

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