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Tristan Welch's Cinder Toffee


Last Friday, I found out that Whole Foods Market in Kensington was running a short Summer Chef Series - a lovely initiative where the public could see free cookery demonstrations by various leading chefs from eg Salt Yard and Min Jiang, although we were encouraged to donate to the charity of their choice*. All the chefs were giving up their time for free so it would have been churlish to refuse.

I bombed it down to the first session to see Tristan Welch of Launceston Place preparing three desserts, which even a pud virgin like me could handle at home. He made Raspberry and Black Pepper "Angel Delight", Banana Split with Rum and Chocolate Mousse, and Cinder Toffee aka puff candy, honeycomb toffee or hokey pokey - all super-simple and gorgeous.

The recipes are all in September's Delicious Magazine, but we were given copies to take away (as well as a welcoming glass of Prosecco), so here's Tristan's recipe for Cinder Toffee.


Cinder Toffee by Tristan Welch
  • 75g honey
  • 140g liquid glucose
  • 400g sugar
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 20g bicarbonate of soda (sifted)
Boil everything except the bicarbonate of soda in a heavy based pan to 148 degrees C. You can use a jam thermometer but if you don't have one, you can tell by sight - it will become caramel brown and bubbly - a little like lava.

Then add the bicarbonate of soda to the saucepan and whisk quickly into the mix.

Pour the lot onto a greaseproof paper-lined tray and leave to cool - it will froth and expand quite a lot during this time, but do not panic.

When the cinder toffee has cooled, smash it into pieces with a rolling pin and serve.


I stirred little chunks of this light and crumbly toffee into vanilla ice cream to make hokey pokey ice cream and it was absolutely beautiful.

The best thing about this cinder toffee is how smoky it is - like my husband said, it tastes just like a bonfire. I've no idea what magic is employed to make this the case ...

*in Tristan's case, the charity was Pakistani Flood Relief - see for more details


Mat Follas said…
Use baking powder instead of bicarb and you wont get the soda taste ...
meemalee said…
@Mat Follas - I couldn't taste any soda - just lovely smokiness.

So what was your winning hokey-pokey recipe then, Mr MasterChef 2009? :)
Tristan said…
In my experience I prefer bicarb since baking powder contains corn starch and salt as well as bicarb, you will need to use more in the recipe, this will result in an over reaction and collapse of the aerated toffee.
I am going to have to try this as I loved honeycomb as a kid. I remember a particular favourite was the mint choc coated one.
Mat Follas said…
To be fair my MC final recipe was 5Tbsp Sugar, 2Tbsp Golden Syrup and 1 tsp Baking Soda :) ... I use baking powder now but know what Tristan means ... its very critical heat, measure and mixing ... got to get it perfect in about 5seconds or it will collapse
meemalee said…
@Tristan - Thanks for letting me pinch your recipe :)

@The kitchen princess diaries - Oh do - it's fab!

@Mat Follas - Ooh, that sounds too tricky for me! So you don't use baking soda any more? You need to update the hokey pokey recipe on your blog then :)
PDH said…
Cinder Toffee is amazing and crumbled into or on top of Ice Cream is practically tie me up and spank me heaven!!!
meemalee said…
@Pavel - Hehe - yeah, it's pretty special.
You people and your hokey pokey. Yry saying that in Glasgow and surviving. . .
meemalee said…
@Catalan Cooking - I daren't ask.