This recipe for sea buckthorn toffee can also be made using crab apple verjus. These cold or pressed, tart juices make a fabulous sweet and sour, tangy toffee. For tips on picking and making sea buckthorn juice follow this link. Juices such as rowan berry juice and hawthorn juice which are made by extracting the juice in a little water have a more delicate flavour so use as little water as possible. See Rowan Fudge recipe for more about juice extraction.
Rowan berry toffees
300 ml sea buckthorn juice
300 grams white sugar
30 grams butter
100 ml double cream
Line a 20cm square baking tin with greased parchment paper and put to one side. Measure out all the ingredients.
Put the juice and the sugar into a saucepan and, over a low heat, stir to dissolve using a clean wooden spoon that has not been used for making soups and stews. (Old spoons can release old flavours into your sweets!)
Once the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and turn up the heat a little. As the toffee solution heats it will start to darken in colour. Stir only occasionally. Let the temperature reach 120°C (250°F) when measured on a sugar thermometer. This is the hard ball stage when drops of the toffee solution dropped into a cup of ice-cold water will remain as firm balls of toffee.
Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring to dissolve. As the temperature drops, stir in the cream. Return to the heat.
Now heat to 140°C (280°F) when measured on a sugar thermometer. The toffee solution will have become much darker and the bubbles have become smaller and closer together. This is called the soft crack stage when drops of toffee solution dropped into a cup of ice-cold water will separate into hard threads that will flex a little before snapping. At this stage pour immediately into your lined baking tin.
You can also use silicon moulds. Here I used Little Kitty ice cube trays but they made enormous toffees and kept my foraging guests quiet for a very long time!
Sea buckthorn toffees
Sea Buckthorn Caramel Sauce
Another thing to note is that this recipe will also make a delicious wild juice caramel sauce if you remove from the heat at both stages at a temperature no greater than 110°C (230°F). This is lovely dribbled over ice cream or with fruit.
Sea buckthorn caramel sauce
More Notes on Making Sweets with Wild Berries
Caramel = White Sugar + Cream
Butterscotch = Brown Sugar; cooked to 140°C / 280°F
Toffee = Brown Sugar + Butter; cooked to 150°C / 300°F
Fudge = White Sugar + Milk (+ Butter); cooked to 110°F / 230 °C
Nougat = Water + Corn Syrup (+ Whipped Egg White (+ Sugar + Corn syrup (+ Butter + Vanilla)))
Brittle = Water + White Sugar + Syrup (+ Butter + Baking Soda); cooked to 150°C / 300°F
Sugar Candy Table
(From Justin Dunham)