Cinder Toffee Recipe

food from great britain
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 Updated 10/03/2017

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This recipe would have been popular with children before sweets/candies were readily available in the shops. Probably originate from the North of England and the name 'cinder' comes from the appearance of the toffee which does look like a burnt out piece of coal i.e. a cinder. This sort of toffee is now more commonly called 'honeycomb'. See Cooking with Sugar.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pint water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
(see measure conversions for more information on quantites)


  1. Boil sugar and water for about 20 minutes.
  2. Have a deep bowl of cold water ready.
  3. Take the toffee from the heat, quickly add the bicarbonate of soda (the toffee will rise up).
  4. Then pour the toffee into the cold water.
  5. When cold put onto a plate and eat.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 portions


Water just evaporated and I ended up throwing away the remaining `sugar`. I think butter is needed !
#34 - gyles - 11/26/2011 - 05:17
you do not need to cool it as quickly as possible as i have observed them making cinder toffee at beamish sweetshop let it cool naturally
#33 - john anderson - 09/09/2011 - 10:18
try adding glycerine
#32 - john anderson - 09/09/2011 - 10:16
try dusting your worktop or baking tray with icing sugar firstm then pour on top much easier watched them do this at beamish the old fashioned way
#31 - john anderson - 09/09/2011 - 10:15
trying to find a recipe for Turkish delight can anyone help? thanks
#30 - BEL - 12/16/2010 - 14:22
can cinder toffee be flavoured with vanilla or any other flavouring? thankyou in advance
#29 - rk - 11/28/2010 - 11:51
I use the Nigella Express version and produces brilliant Hokey Pokey as she calls it every time.
Simply Sugar & Golden Syrup heated together in pan, turns the colour of maple syrup - add 1 1/2 tsp bicarb mix like mad tip onto a baking sheet, that easy x
#28 - Emma - 10/06/2010 - 06:37
well my 5!! attempts did not work well 1 ended up like cinder toffee but doesnt tast cindery enough it tastes like butter x nw imsat here chewing it off a spoon so i give up
#27 - kelsey - 09/23/2010 - 12:00
try putting baking tray in the freezer so it is cold when you pour on your mixture it works good for cooling instead of water, :)
#26 - coll - 09/21/2010 - 04:44
Good easy to understand instructions. But we left the water boiling for LESS than 20 minutes and the toffee was burnt.
#25 - ..... - 07/28/2010 - 06:30
I just tried this and it was looking perfect until suddenly it changed colour rapidly to a black-like colour. It looks like iv'e made a chocolate brownie. Did i boil it for too long?
#24 - Stacey - 06/10/2010 - 07:57
will try both recipes and let you know the best one.

#23 - chrisandron - 06/05/2010 - 10:22
debs your recipe is great , i added a ginger crushed with the water , wow what a spark it gave when served with good vanilla ice cream
#22 - jez - 03/06/2010 - 03:48
u can put it in the fridge to if u wnt to cool it faster
#21 - bellza - 12/22/2009 - 14:42
Followed the recipe to the letter. Added the BiCarb and Vinegar, it frothed up lovely, poured it into the all went flat! What happened to the froth?
#20 - Fitty - 12/20/2009 - 09:34
no way do you put cinder toffee , honeycomb into water at the end ! i have made it many times just place it on a tray .
#19 - Helen - 12/04/2009 - 05:54
Great recipe. Many thanks for posting it. We'll give it a go and put up a photo.
#18 - mary - 09/12/2008 - 15:33
Hi Guys n dolls,
You seem to be missing out the vinegar, this is used in most toffee.
See below
100g golden syrup
200g caster sugar
40g Butter
0.5 tsp vinegar
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp water
Method 1. Line a 15cm square tin with greaseproof or parchment paper.

2. Put the syrup, sugar, butter and water into a large heavy-bottomed pan set over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, before turning up the heat and bringing to the boil.

3. Cook, without stirring until a teaspoon of the hot toffee mixture becomes a hard ball when dropped into a jug of cold water. If you have a sugar thermometer, it should register 138C. Remove the pan from the heat.

4. Add the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to the pan - take care as the toffee mixture will bubble up and rise in the pan. Pour immediately into the lined tin and leave on one side.

5. After about 15- 20 minutes, when the mixture has begun to set, score the toffee in square shapes, using a sharp knife. Break along the lines when it has completely set. The toffee will keep in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.

I do this one alot for the kids, and it never fails.
take care
#17 - Debs - 09/12/2008 - 03:26
Many thanks for the input from everyone on this recipe.
#16 - mary - 09/04/2008 - 12:00
1/4 golden syrup to 3/4 caster sugar ratio.
heat together and stir being carefull not to burn the sugar syrup mixture (this very hot do not let kids makeit!!). when the sugar has disolved, remove from heat and add 2 tsp of bicarbonate soda and stir into sugar/syrup (it now begins to froth up) then pour onto greaseproof paper covered bakin tray. allow to cool (approx 20min) then break and eat its gr8 covered in choc.
#15 - darren - 09/02/2008 - 14:03
If you ended up with brown water, it sounds like you liberated the mixture from the flames too soon, and the water content was too high so it encouraged the dissolution of the delicious tasty candy goodness.

You should try again, but let the water boil away until the mixture reaches a semi-thick consistency. Be careful of the stuff when it is thick, it is like napalm and will cause deep burns if you should happen to accidentally paint it on yourself.

#14 - Adrian - 04/28/2008 - 11:18
Where did cinder toffee originate more precise than the north of england?
#13 - Brian - 04/27/2008 - 13:58
The recipe didn't work for me - had to go straight in the bin. :(
#12 - sarah - 04/27/2008 - 08:26
Crunchie bars are cinder toffee coated in chocolate.
You need to cool as quickly as possible to keep the honeycombe texture - try filling the sink with cold water, pouring the mixture into a tin then placing the tin in the water cooling bath - dont need to submerge but you can if you want as long as you have reached a high enough temp with the sugar
#11 - Michelle - 03/21/2008 - 06:01
Sugar is soluble in water, so if you leave it in the water it all dissolves and turns into brown water.

If you have a sugar thermometer is should reach 138 Degrees Centigrade. If you havn't got a thermometer drop a small amount of the liquid into a jug of water and see if it sets, it not more cooking needed.

Adding it to the water should cool it quickly, then remove it, however, simply pouring into a greeseproof lined baking tray and being patient works better.
#10 - Andrew - 01/07/2008 - 11:33
Would that toffee be called Puff Candy??? Because I would'nt put it in a bowl of water I've done a similar one and put it on a tray with greaseproof paper ,and it does'nt dissappear inthe water,then you can knock 7bells to break it into eatible bit, lovely grub Thanks Alex xx
#9 - Alex - 10/18/2007 - 19:38
if you use caster sugar it gets a better consistancy or however you spell it
#8 - ryan - 10/09/2007 - 08:27
did as it said but i to ended up with brown water , please can you advise
#7 - steve - 09/10/2007 - 15:17
Problems with setting are because the mixture hasn't reached a high enough temperature. Look at the cooking with sugar section.
#6 - mary - 08/14/2007 - 10:20
I followed all the instructions,but when I poured the toffee liquid into the cold water,All I ended up with was brown water.Where did I go wrong
#5 - Gary - 08/13/2007 - 09:48
I have always used granulated sugar for this recipe.
#4 - Mary - 07/28/2007 - 15:51
what type of sugar works best for this recipe? thanks!
#3 - emma - 07/28/2007 - 05:06
It sounds as if the toffee hasn't reached a high enough temperature or it hasn't boiled for long enough.I tried it and it worked ok. You get a sort of honeycombe (like the middle of a Crunchie bar).
#2 - mjay - 06/20/2007 - 16:37
followed instructions but when poured the toffee into the deep bowl of cold water i waited untill cold when i looked there was no toffee there just a bowl of brown water could you clear this up for me please
#1 - craig - 06/17/2007 - 07:55
;-)really good, clear instructions. Completly easy to follow and amazingly easy to read. Me and my kids followed your instructions exactly and our toffee was lovely.
Thankyou xx
#0 - Emily - 04/15/2007 - 05:10
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