Overcoming Common Toffee Pitfalls:
Toffee making really isn't very complicated. Some pitfalls are easily avoided or can quickly be corrected. Probably the most common problem is the separation of the butter. We'll explain why this happens, how to prevent it and, if happens, how to fix this problem so that every recipe of toffee you make turns out perfect.
An illustrated step-by-step demonstration on handling common toffee pitfalls.
1. Separation: The Most Common Toffee Pitfall
Toffee sometimes separates during cooking or when spread onto the pan, leaving a buttery layer on the surface and a thicker mixture underneath.
To avoid separation, there are several things you can do:
1) Be patient because candy takes a long time to cook. Don't rush the process by turning up the heat. This can cause the liquid to evaporate quickly which may lead to toffee separation.
2) Stir occasionally and gently with a wooden spoon until mixture reaches between 260-265 ° F (127-130 ° C). Continue cooking, stirring as few times as possible, until mixture reaches 300° F (149° C). Stirring too much contributes to toffee separating. It is important to keep the mixture from burning, so stir gently once in a while.
If the butter toffee does separate, we suggest that you first allow it to continue cooking. The toffee may remix on its own.
If it doesn't, we recommend gradually and very carefully stirring in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, while cooking until mixture goes back together. Be careful when adding water to the very hot mixture -- it may spatter causing a burn. Adding the hot water lowers the temperature of the toffee mixture; therefore, continue cooking the butter toffee until it reaches the correct temperature.