Tag: sweets

Sea Buckthorn Toffee

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

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 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

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)

Stage Temperature (°F) Temperature (°C) Sugar
Thread 230–233 °F 110–111 °C 80%
Soft Ball 234–240 °F 112–115 °C 85%
Firm Ball 244–248 °F 118–120 °C 87%
Hard Ball 250–266 °F 121–130 °C 92%
Soft Crack 270–290 °F 132–143 °C 95%
Hard Crack 295–310 °F 146–154 °C 99%
Clear Liquid 320 °F 160 °C 100%
Brown Liquid 338 °F 170 °C 100%
Burnt Sugar 350 °F 177 °C 100%

Rowan Berry Fudge

75 grams butter
700 grams granulated sugar
100 ml evaporated milk
100 ml rowan berries
200 ml water

The juice can be made in advance. If you want to make more and freeze or pasteurise it, just add double the amount of water to rowan berries by volume.

Put the rowan berries and the water into a small saucepan and simmer until the berries are tender. Mash them in the pan with a potato masher. Remove from the heat.

Place a square of muslin over a sieve and strain the juice from the berries into a measuring jug. Once most of the juice has drained through, and the berries are cool enough, draw the edges of the muslin together to form a bag and give the bag a good squeeze.

Use the butter wrapper to pre-grease a large 25 cm baking tin.

Return the juice to the saucepan. Simmer on a medium heat to evaporate some of the liquid until you have reduced it to 100 ml of fairly strong rowan berry juice concentrate.

Keeping the saucepan over a medium heat, now add the evaporated milk to the 100 ml of rowan berry juice. When it is warm, add the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Stir it continuously with a wooden spoon.

Once boiling, adjust the heat so it does not boil over, and boil for exactly 8 minutes. Alternatively, if you are using a sugar thermometer, boil it until the temperature reaches 113 degrees C (235 degrees F), but do not boil it for more than 9 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the butter until it has dissolved and then pour into the pre-greased tin.

Cool on a wire tray. When half cool, score lines in the fudge with a cake knife. When fully cool, remove from the tin and break along the scored lines. Store in a tin lined with greaseproof paper or a plastic food saver box.