Chocolate Dipped Sponge Toffee ~ A Guest Post By Anna of “Hidden Ponies”

by FoodBabbles on June 7, 2012

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Anna, one half of the blog Hidden Ponies and another incredibly creative, talented participant in First On The First with Carrie and I. Anna is a wife and mother, interior designer, blogger, and as if she didn’t have enough on her plate, she’s pursuing her BA as well! Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it all. She’s also a self-proclaimed grammar snob which I love! I try to be grammatically correct at all times, although I do screw up every now and then.

On to the recipe! Anna has for you today Chocolate Dipped Sponge Toffee. It sounds amazing, the pictures make my mouth water and I’ve never made it before. She hadn’t either until this post. I’m looking forward to giving this “first” a try in the very near future and I’m sure you will love it also. Take it away, Anna! Thanks so much for posting here today. I’m so glad to have you as a guest, as well as a member of our First On The First group.

~K

CHOCOLATE COATED SPONGE TOFFEE

I’m so excited to be guest posting on Kate’s delicious blog today, not only because I totally admire her cooking, her photography, and her general superwoman-ness, but also because “babbles” is part of her blog name!  Ask my dad, or many other people, possibly even my husband.  I babble.

I blog with my sister Chelsea over at http://hiddenponies.com, and we focus on fresh, family-friendly meals and treats that anyone can (and should!) make.  The blog stemmed largely from necessity – we needed to learn to cook for our families in tiny, uninspiring kitchens, with absolutely no budget for eating out.  We decided to face the battle together, learn to meal plan, and share our successes through our blog.  We quickly got hooked on cooking from scratch and trying new things, and Chelsea’s gluten free diet also meant she had to stretch herself and experiment.

I met Kate through her First on the First initiative that I happened upon on her blog one day and am so thrilled to be a part of.  Since Kate inspires me every month to try something new, I figured for my guest post I should also try something totally new and out of my comfort zone.

And I totally failed.

My first attempt at this recipe was a major flop.  When that happens, I usually scrap a recipe and move on, unlikely to think of it again.  Call me a quitter, but my attitude toward recipes is the same as it is towards people: Fail me once, shame on you.  Fail me twice, shame on ME.  Why did I try again, knowing this was a likely possibility?  Why was I a sucker for punishment?

But this time I had gone ahead and blurted to Kate that I was making sponge toffee.  I could hardly show up with a bran muffin.

And really, I knew the problems weren’t with the recipe.  I knew I hadn’t let my sugar get hot enough, and I’d run out of corn syrup mid-pour and substituted pure cane syrup.  So now I know: when trying candy for the first time, just follow a recipe, have patience, and odds are you won’t have the failure I did.  And if you do, I promise this sponge toffee coated in dark chocolate is totally worth a second attempt.

Does anyone out there love Crunchie bars as much as I do? Anyone?

If you don’t, or have never had one, I highly recommend giving them a chance! I used to work in a 50’s- themed diner and aside from our typical diner fare, we also sold bricks of sponge toffee, that delicious yellow, hard, airy sugar that’s inside Crunchie bars, and I loved buying it and letting it melt slowly in my mouth.  It’s a wonder I don’t have any cavities…but aside from the fact (or maybe because of the fact) that it’s essentially just sugar and corn syrup and more sugar, these are totally delicious. Although I’ll warn you from experience that if you eat too many in a short period of time (like 12 in half an hour), you’ll get a weird tingly tongue and mildly sick stomach from all that sugar.

A couple of tips before you start:

– It will take a while for your sugar to come up to the right temperature. I rushed it the first time and my baking soda made a volcano when it hit the too-cool sugar, my sponge toffee really was like a sponge, and scads of syrupy sugar exited my springform pan through every available crack without a care, coating about 4 feet of counter space.

– Make sure you thoroughly incorporate the baking soda when whisking, or some pieces will end up tasting like baking soda.  The candy starts to harden fairly quickly – use a good whisk, and enlist someone with muscles if, like me, you’re a wimp.  My hubby was happy to flex his pipes in my little candy science experiment.

Enjoy, and Kate, thank you so much for having me and for the inspiration you are in my kitchen!!

HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE DIPPED SPONGE TOFFEE

  • ¼ tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 lb dark chocolate (for dipping)

DIRECTIONS:

Mix gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3-qt saucepan and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, insert candy thermometer and let bubble WITHOUT stirring until the syrup reaches 310 degrees F.  (This took mine about 35 minutes – don’t turn the heat too high to try to speed it up or you will scorch the sugar).

When it reaches 310F, remove syrup from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Then, thoroughly whisk in gelatin.  Whisk the baking soda in next, stirring with great enthusiasm to make sure it gets evenly dispersed.  Return the mixture to medium heat for 30 seconds, whisking continuously.  Remove from heat and immediately pour into 9” springform pan. Don’t over-level or worry about perfection – fiddling may cause it to collapse, so just pour it in as evenly as you can and leave it.

Let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours, or overnight.  Remove the springform pan and break the toffee into pieces with a sharp knife.

Melt the chocolate in a tall mug or small bowl, then dip pieces to coat.  Transfer coated pieces to waxed paper-lined baking sheets and refrigerate to set chocolate.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Mine lasted close to two weeks before they were gone, and were still as good as fresh.

*Recipe barely adapted from Step by Step Gourmet.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

apuginthekitchen June 7, 2012 at 8:25 am

Wonderful guest post, I love being introduced to blogs I have never seen before. This recipe sounds great, I am not very good at making candy. Maybe I don’t have the patience I don’t know but it rarely turns out for me. I love those crunchy bars, it reminds me of a bar from England I think its made by Cadbury but can’t remember the name. I will have to give these a try and Anna, I look forward to following your blog.

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Anna @ hiddenponies June 7, 2012 at 9:44 am

You could definitely do this – I’ve never made candy before, and it was easy once I followed the instructions properly 🙂 Cadbury makes all the best treats 🙂

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FoodBabbles June 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I thought it would be nice if everyone could “meet” the other, incredibly talented people who are participating in First on the First so I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the guest post. You should join us too! I would love to have you!! I see all the yummy interesting things you put on your blog. As for the candy… I’m terrible at candy making also. However, the more I try it the better I’m getting at it.

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apuginthekitchen June 7, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Glad I’m not the only one who is challenged when it comes to making candy. I can melt chocolate thats about it. Thank you so much, I would be proud and honored to be a guest on your blog. You are so kind.

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FoodBabbles June 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Fantastic!

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Amanda July 15, 2012 at 6:59 am

would that be Violet crumble? I prefer the violet crumble to the crunchie 🙂

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Kate July 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I actual don’t even know what either of those bars are 🙁 sadly we’re missing out here in the US!

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Anna @ hiddenponies June 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

Thanks so much for having me, Kate, and for your sweet words! I love being inspired by you every month 🙂

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FoodBabbles June 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Aww! You’re too sweet 🙂 You’re very welcome and I was happy to have you here.

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Lisa June 8, 2012 at 5:02 am

I made some sponge candy for a Daring Bakers challenge I hosted, and although it was good, the very inner core scorched when I added the baking soda, even though I mixed in the baking soda well. Then I discovered a ‘gelatin’ recipe, similar to Anna’s…and what a difference it makes in texture!

Great guest post, Anna, and beautiful sponge candy!

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FoodBabbles June 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I’ve never tried to make sponge candy before but after reading Anna’s recipe, it definitely made me think I could do it. I used to really stink at candy making but I’m getting better these days! So perhaps I’ll have to give it a try, especially if you’re telling me that a recipe like this one makes it easier and tastier too 🙂

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Julia {The Roasted Root} June 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm

It wouldn’t surprise me if I had to give this a couple go-rounds, too…I’m not super well versed with any type of creation involving corn syrup, but this is definitely worth the learning process!! Looks great and awesome guest post!

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FoodBabbles June 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Hi Julia! Thanks so much for your comment and I’m so glad that you liked this post! Anna definitely made me want to get right in the kitchen and give this a try too.

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Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips June 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

Oh wow! These sound so good!

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FoodBabbles June 11, 2012 at 10:54 am

Right? I can’t wait to make them! Anna always has such great recipes.

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Baker Street (@bakerstreet29) June 11, 2012 at 6:35 am

These look insanely delicious! Excellent choice of flavors. Great guest post, Kate. Nice to have run into Anna! 🙂

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FoodBabbles June 11, 2012 at 10:55 am

I’m so glad you like the post, An! I’m never disappointed by anything Anna posts.

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Jennifer | Mother Thyme June 12, 2012 at 12:35 am

These looks fabulous! Here in Buffalo Sponge Candy is a popular item, especially during the holidays. We always get it from a local chocolate shop but this year I think I just need to make a homemade bash! Great guest post!

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FoodBabbles June 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Hi Jennifer! Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed the guest post. Anna really is so talented and I enjoy her blog so much. I’ve actually never had sponge candy. Wish it were something that was a popular item here in New Jersey but through this post and everyone’s comments, I think I will be making my own batch very soon.

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Janice November 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm

I follow the recipe exactly but when I cut it open it looks way too dark inside what am I doing wrong ?

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Kate November 19, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Oh I’m so sorry to hear that Janice! The only thing I can think of is that perhaps your heat is too high? This was a guest post by Anna of the site Hidden Ponies. You could email her and maybe she would have some insight for you since this is her recipe? She can be reached at hiddenponies@gmail.com Hope this helps!

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Anna January 15, 2017 at 3:46 pm

You over cooked your sugar remove from heat when it just starts to turn golden brown. Try cooking the sugars on a lower heat temp

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