Sponge Toffee was one of my favorite treats as a kid. We used to get it at corner stores, farmer’s markets, and gas stations… or make it at home. I loved the contrast between the appearance (bubbles!), and the crispy texture. Whether I’d let it melt in my mouth slowly, or chomp through (and pick the sugar off my teeth for a long time afterwards!), it was just a fun food to enjoy.
As I got older, I realized that gas station sponge toffee is just *no* match for homemade. This is really easy to make, and a lot of fun for kids to watch (From a distance! Hot sugar can be dangerous!). It makes a unique holiday or hostess gift – especially when you dip the finished nuggets of toffee in melted chocolate!
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
Prepare a 9″ x 13″ cake pan with nonstick spray, or a light coating of vegetable oil or shortening. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, stir together sugar, corn syrup, and water. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure that it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, and allow to cook until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (hard crack stage). From the time mixture starts boiling to the time it reaches 300F, do not stir.
Once mixture reaches 300F, remove from heat. Add vanilla and baking soda, beating to incorporate. The mixture will start foaming quite a bit when you add the baking soda (chemical reaction!), so using a LONG wooden spoon is a good idea. The sugar will be very hot, and will burn if you get any on your hand as you stir. Be very careful and work FAST.
Dump foaming mixture into greased cake pan, spreading it out as evenly as possible. Allow it to cool completely.
Once toffee is cooled all the way through, remove from pan and snap into chunks / nuggets and serve. Be sure to store toffee in an airtight container – the sugar will attract water from the air, and the toffee can go soggy.