The History Of English Toffee – My Liquorice

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The History Of English Toffee


JAN 07, 2022

The buttery sweet taste of English Toffee has made this sweet stand out as a unique flavor over time. It can be made as a hard or soft confectionery treat, and can be made with a few simple ingredients: butter and sugar. Of course, the cooking of toffee can be a little more involved, depending on temperatures and times to achieve the desired texture, as well as adding in other ingredients to your toffee, such as chocolate or nuts.

But where did toffee come from? And what sort of role has it played throughout history? Toffee seems like an old-fashioned sweet, is it still relevant today? Let’s take a closer look at the history of English toffee to answer these questions.

The History Of English Toffee

Although you may think English toffee has been around for centuries, it is not as old as you think. After appearing in the English Oxford Dictionary in 1825, etymologists believe that the name derived from taffy, another sticky sweet. The availability of butter and sugar in the United Kingdom and the simplicity of how to make it helped to make toffee a popular sweet very quickly in the early nineteenth century.

The sugary treat is made by caramelizing sugar and butter together to a certain heat (around 150 Celsius) and is then poured into a pan to cool and reach a ‘hard-crack’ stage.

Throughout history, English toffee has continued to be a staple in sweet stores and shows up often in other confectionary designs. The Heath Bar made by the Hershey company in North America includes chocolate, toffee and almonds and continues to be a popular item found in most shops where sweets are sold.

Although English toffee is a popular item in the United States, the sweet with supposed British origins that Americans are eating is actually buttercrunch toffee, and not authentic English toffee at all.

Toffee made in the United Kingdom uses brown sugar, whereas buttercrunch toffee in the US is made with white sugar. Strangely, Americans still label buttercrunch toffee as ‘English Toffee.’

Today, toffee can be found as an ingredient in confectionary creations or as a stand-alone sweet in its own right. Toffee is typically coated in dark, milk, or white chocolate which may include a sprinkling of nuts on top. American toffee is made with nuts, but English toffee does not include them in the cooking process.

Toffee can be found more often around the holidays, and is seen as more of a winter sweet rather than a summertime treat. Although toffee may seem like an out of date sweet, English toffee is still very popular throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.

It may seem like toffee has come a long way since its creation, but that is simply not the case. English toffee has only been around since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and other than a few modern variations on different types, the recipe has not significantly changed since the beginning. If you find yourself in a sweet shop and haven’t tried English toffee yet, don’t forget to pick up some of the delicious, buttery, crunchy treats to try out.