If you are addicted to candies, you will probably be thoroughly engrossed in the merits of toffee versus brittle. The magical arts of creating confections with an appealing snap as you bite into them or the jaw challenging stickiness of good toffee cannot be underestimated. Some may be swayed to the toffee corner, while others champion brittle as their favorite.
Brittle is a hard candy with a distinctive snap that is usually combined with nuts, seeds, and other ingredients. It is primarily made from sugar and water. Toffee includes the use of fats, generally butter and milk. The candy can be soft or hard, depending on the cooking temperature.
Every candy lover deserves the chance to enjoy brittle and candy. Some sweet conniseurs may prefer one to the other, and some individuals may be hard-pressed to select a favorite. There are some crucial differences in ingredients and cooking methods.
What Is the Difference Between Toffee and Brittle?
Brittle is all about the snap. It is a hard candy that often incorporates nuts – think of the traditional peanut brittle. Favorite brittles include almond, pecan nut, hazelnut, macadamia, pistachio, and cashew, to name just a few.
Some recipes call for the inclusion of other ingredients such as coconut, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. For candy adventurers allergic to nuts, a nut-free brittle can be made, including small pieces of dried fruit and coconut. Some alternative ingredients to include in brittle are caramel popcorn and pumpkin or other seeds.
Toffee varies in consistency and can be soft and chewy or harder and slightly brittle. The joy of toffee involves jaw cracking chewing and the lingering bits of toffee that take a good few minutes to remove from all the spaces in your teeth.
Toffee can be made in numerous flavors, including vanilla, coffee, and chocolate. Nuts are commonly included in toffees, and almost any type of nut is suitable.
How Is Brittle Made?
Brittle’s primary ingredient is sugar combined with water and heated to the hard crack stage at 300° F (149° C). Some recipes add corn syrup and salt.
The high temperatures used to make brittle result in a thick syrup. If the syrup is dropped into cold water, long hard strands form, which are brittle and crack when bent.
Timing and temperature control are essential in making brittle. Just before the syrup reaches the hard crack stage, nuts, seeds, flavorings, and bicarbonate soda can be added, depending on the recipe.
Peanut butter is often added to peanut brittle, which is the most popular brittle in the United States.
The candy is poured onto a uniforms surface, traditionally a marble slab. It is spread uniformly and allowed to cool. Generally, artisanal brittle is broken into unequal pieces. Commercially produced peanut brittle may is produced in squares or rectangles and packaged for sale.
The History of Brittle
Brittle is made in various forms in many countries of the world. It is known by a host of different names, and the flavorings and ingredients vary according to the culture.
The first written reference to the candy as brittle was in 1892. It was, however, made for many generations before this.
There are many tales regarding the discovery or development of brittle. Most historians agree that in Europe, peanut brittle was the first type of brittle.
The Celts produced peanut brittle as a treat for festivals and holidays. The candy spread through Europe, and the recipe was brought to America by Irish immigrants in the 1830s.
Irish American cuisine became popular, and peanut brittle became a firm favorite. It was sometimes referred to as peanut butter bark at this time.
Peanut brittle is so popular in the United States that there is a National Peanut Brittle Day on the 26th of January.
How Is Toffee Made?
Toffee is made using butter, sugar, and sometimes milk. It is a creamier candy than brittle which is produced using sugar and water primarily. The toffee mixture is cooked at a lower heat until it reaches the hardball stage at 250° to 265° F. (121° C to 129° C).
If the toffee mixture is dropped into cold water, the mixture will form into a ball. When removed from the water, it maintains its shape and is called the hardball stage. The ball can still be squashed with pressure.
The texture of toffees can be altered by cooking the mixture until the soft crack or hard crack stage. This would result in harder toffees that need solid jaw power to chew.
Sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk are often included in modern recipes. Toffee flavors have expanded, and many variations are available. Chocolate-covered toffees have become immensely popular.
When making toffee, the ingredients are all cooked together from the start. The baking soda or other leavening agent is added early in the toffee cooking process to allow the carbon dioxide to escape. This creates the softer texture of toffee instead of the hard texture found in brittle.
Toffee is generally poured into a shallow tray and cut into pieces that may be uniform or unequal, depending on the manufacturer.
The History of Toffee
In previous eras, toffee was often referred to as butterscotch to describe the inclusion of butter and sugar in the recipe. Brown sugar is almost always used in making toffee. Molasses or corn syrup may also be added.
Toffee was first made early in the nineteenth century when butter and sugar became more freely available. This was mainly due to sugar plantations established in various British colonies.
The word toffee was first included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1825. The earliest toffee makers are believed to be the Welsh, but they used the moniker taffy. The word was later changed to become toffee.
Another theory states that the word ‘toughy’ or ‘tuffy’ was used in southern England to refer to the chewiness of toffee. Proponents of this view claim that the word toffee originated here.
Whatever the word’s origin, the candy soon spread in popularity to the rest of the world.
Toffee and brittle are both firm favorites in many cultures of the world. These two candies may be known by different names in various languages, but they continue to delight candy lovers around the globe.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.