It’s hard to be a demon during the winter season. You see, we’re hot-blooded creatures, and colder weather isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be downright miserable.
For many of us, it’s the time of the year we migrate from our temporary homes aboveground back to the Underworld. For those of us that don’t have that luxury, surviving these freezing months means lots and lots of time in the fire, toasting our black little hearts and souls and warding off the inevitable icy chill of the season.
There is, however, one exception to this rule.
He loves winter! There’s little that makes him happier than stomping through waist-deep snow, scooping up rotten little children and popping them in his sack.
While I’d love to join my fellow denizens in the underworld during these long freezing months, I’m stuck here with all you meatbags. While this would normally make me miserable, it does mean a visit or two from Krampus during the holidays.
Last year, to celebrate his arrival, I made a batch of Krampus approved Christmas coal. This year, I decided to switch it up a bit and make a batch of Cinder Toffee, another one of his favorite treats!
Of course, when I make cinder toffee, I use real, actual cinders screaming hot from the bowels of Hell itself. While I’d love to share that recipe with you all, I really don’t need to receive buckets of angry mail complaining about how you all burned down your houses and suffered burns…which is why we’re going to use the human version of cinder toffee.
Surprisingly, a non-flaming version cinder toffee is already a real thing with you people. In fact, I did a little digging before this post and found a pretty impressive recipe online here (love how this looks!)
Now while I loved how their version turned out visually, I wanted to switch up the actual recipe a bit. I wanted a slightly simpler recipe that really looks like the embers I am so used to popping by the handful!
To make Nom approved cinder toffee, you will need:
- 5 cups white sugar, divided
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
- Red food coloring
- Black food coloring
- 2 cups black candy melt
- Black sanding sugar (optional)
Start by first lining a 9X13″ baking pan with parchment paper.
Set aside for now.
Now go find a pot…a big one. Bigger than you think you’re going to need. While this recipe is less than 4 cups of liquid combined in the pot while cooking, we’re going to throw a little science into the mix at the end and foam up the final product, so you’re going to want a pot that is at least twice as high as the amount of liquid you are putting into it.
In your huge-ass pot (yes, that’s the technical term), combine together 2 1/2 cups of your sugar with your 2/3 cup corn syrup and 1/3 cup water.
Over medium heat, stir this mixture until all the sugar is dissolved.
Once the sugar is dissolved, clip on a candy thermometer and raise up the heat on your stove to medium-high. Continue stirring until the candy starts to boil.
Once it boils, STOP STIRRING!
Watch the pot as it boils, occasionally brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush dipped in water to get rid of sugar crystals.
Once the sugar reaches 300F/148C, remove from heat and immediately add your red food coloring and flavoring.
*For this recipe I suggested vanilla. This is purely optional. You can omit any additional flavoring if you want a mild, caramel flavor, or add in cinnamon for a spicy, flavor. Hell, you can pretty much add any flavor you want…I’m just here to teach, not judge. Also, word of warning, when you add in your food coloring and flavoring, it’s going to steam. Don’t breathe that cloud in or get it in your eyes, it’s gonna hurt like a bitch.
Stir in your coloring quickly, then, while the liquid is still bubbling mix in your baking soda.
GET READY, THIS SHIT’S GONNA FOAM UP! This is why we wanted the high sided pot. Once that baking soda hits the liquid sugar, it’ll bubble up to at least twice as high, if not higher.
Immediately pour this foamy mixture into your parchment lined pan, being careful not to get it anywhere but in the pan. Again, keep in mind this is liquid sugar and it’s 300F hot…use common sense when pouring this out.
Once you get it into the pan, leave it alone! Don’t smooth it down! Let it just sit there and continue to bubble and foam and pop. The more you mess with it, the more the bubbles will collapse, leaving you with a dense, boring hard candy.
Again, LEAVE IT ALONE for at least an hour or more while the candy cools and solidifies.
Once it’s completely cool, pull the sheet of cinder toffee out of your baking pan and peel away your parchment paper.
Place the whole slab into a plastic bag and either drop from a height of about 6 inches or strike lightly with the back of a wooden spoon.
No matter what method you choose, the toffee should easily shatter into bite-sized chunks.
Ooh! Look at those gorgeous honeycomb texture!
Now let’s melt your black candy melts.
In a microwave-safe bowl, zap your black candy melts for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each zap (or just use a chocolate pot like I am, either method is fine…all you really want is liquid chocolate at the end.)
It should only take about a minute or so for all the candy melts to completely liquify and become smooth.
While you’re melting your candy melts, let’s make our black sugar.
Pour the remaining 2 1/2 cups of white sugar into a Ziplock bag. Add a few squirts of your black food coloring and then knead the bag. As you knead, the sugar will pick up the black food coloring. Adjust how much food coloring you add until you are happy with the color. Pour this sugar into a large bowl.
*Because I like my cinder toffee extra crunchy, I also added a container of black sanding sugar, but this is purely optional.
Drop a piece of your cinder toffee into your melted black candy melt. Use a fork to pull it out and gently tap off the excess candy melt.
While the candy melt is still liquid on your toffee, toss it into the black sugar and coat thoroughly.
Pull out of the sugar and place on a piece of parchment paper to firm up.
Repeat with all the rest of your cinder toffee pieces.
Allow all your pieces to cool and the candy melt to harden. The sugar will create a crunchy shell around your candy, leaving you with a black lump that looks almost exactly like a chunk of coal…but bite into it and reveal the brilliant red “ember” center!
Plate up and serve immediately to your favorite naughty list friends, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Of course, you could always leave a small plate out on Christmas Eve. I’m sure Krampus would appreciate it!
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