Those of you who know me know that I am not a sweet tooth. I skip dessert without a second thought and hate the smell of chocolate. I don’t put sugar in my tea and for my coffee, it’s just me and the strong, bitter black stuff. Today’s recipe, however, is the only sweet that can make my forget everything else and contemplate a three-course meal based entirely on toffee.
This was my mother’s hit-and-miss recipe, so I took a while to work it through and make up my own. It’s not hard, but like with macaroons, every once in a while it doesn’t turn out right and I couldn’t tell you why and how. The good news is that it is always delicious – the taste is never the problem – and if it doesn’t crystallize properly, you can spread it on your morning toast, stir it into your yoghurt or spoon it onto vanilla ice-cream.
What you need:
500ml liquid cream
1 sachet vanilla sugar
2 pinches of salt (optional)
What you do:
- Mix all the ingredients (except the salt) in a large heavy-bottomed pan.
- Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and gently simmer for 3 (three) hours, stirring occasionally.
- Start keeping a closer eye on it when the colour starts getting golden brown and stir more frequently.
- Pour the caramel onto a lightly buttered baking tray.
- Let cool and cut up with a knife or spatula.
I can’t tell you how long it keeps, because I made some yesterday and it will be gone by tonight. I have, in the past, kept the tray of God-knows-why-it-didn’t-solidify-caramel for two weeks in the pantry while we spooned out whatever we needed for dessert. Not the fridge. It tasted excellent and nothing strange happened in either taste or aspect.
Last night’s batch turned out perfect. Seriously… There are no words.
PS: My apologies for the lack of posts this summer. I have not had the kind of “vacation” that rhymes with sea, sun, bikini and rhum. On top of the usual family engagements, I was writing a Master’s thesis, preparing my viva (I passed a week ago, thanks for asking) and have just started teaching full-time again. No such thing as spare time…