sushidog: (Nigella)
[personal profile] sushidog
A few people have asked me about the home-made crunchie bars (which, as it turns out, taste just like home-made crunchie bars, but chunkier, and slightly chewier), so here's how I made 'em.

120g (ish; I was very approximate) granulated sugar
2 heaped dessertspoonfuls golden syrup
1 heaped teaspoon bicarb (NOT baking powder!)

A bar and a half of cooking chocolate; I used a bar of milk and just over half a bar of plain, but use whichever you like best.

Use a decent saucepan which is considerably bigger than you think you need. Thoroughly oil an 8-inch baking tin or other ovenproof dish, or line with with baking parchment/silicon paper. I used a disposable tin foil oven dish, and brushed it with flavourless vegetable oil, which worked well.
Mix together the sugar and syrup in the pan, and heat over a medium-ish heat. Once it has melted, don't stir it, just let it come to the boil and cook happily. The syrup should stop it from forming crystals, so you really can just let it alone, but keep an eye on it. If you have a sugar thermometer, you want it to get to 145oc. If you don't, you want to get it to between hard ball and hard crack point. Have a cup of cold water next to the stove, and when it is boiling properly, drop a little bit into the water. It should form a ball. Fish the ball out, and squeeze it between your fingers. If it's soft, the sugar needs more cooking. If it's hard, bite it. If it's chewy (like hard toffee), keep going, it's not there yet. If it cracks and shatters between your teeth like a boiled sweet rather than a toffee, you're at hard ball, and you can move to the next stage. If the ball cracks on contact with the water, it's at hard crack stage and you need to move on the next stage right now! When it has got there, add the bicarb, and quickly stir through. It will expand _massively_ (hence the need for a bigger pan than you think), and it's still very hot, so be careful! As soon as the bicarb has been stirred in, pour the whole lot into the prepared heatproof dish and leave (on a heatproof surface; it will take the varnish off your table so use a potstand or something!) somewhere cool and dry for at least a couple of hours to cool completely.
When it is completely cool, you can break it into pieces (mine turned out craggy and uneven, but I like it that way. You could probably score it into neater chunks with a serrated knife if you really wanted to) and coat it in melted chocolate. Or you could eat it as it is. Or crush it up a bit and use it in or over ice cream.

Mine didn't quite get to 145oc, which is why it's very slightly chewy; again, I like it that way, but if you want all crunch and no chew, you need to get it all the way to hard crack rather than stopping at hard ball.

I'm definitely making this stuff again; it's dead easy but looks incredibly impressive and tastes gorgeous! Plus it involves Science, which is awesome.
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