What Is Treacle Toffee?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Also known as bonfire toffee, treacle toffee is a British confection made from demerara sugar, black treacle, and corn syrup. The treat is also known as cinder toffee or plot toffee. The toffee is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night after Guy Fawkes Day, or on Halloween.

Demerara sugar, which is often used in making treacle toffee.
Demerara sugar, which is often used in making treacle toffee.

Though treacle toffee is often considered unappealing by its look, many believe that the flavor is worth the treat. It is generally a shiny, dark brown to black confection. Pieces are usually irregularly shaped, though they can be presented in uniform cubes if precisely cut. Pieces can be sold in bags of shards or as wrapped candies.

Black treacle, one of the ingredients in treacle toffee.
Black treacle, one of the ingredients in treacle toffee.

Molasses is often substituted for the black treacle, particularly in Western countries. Though demerara sugar is widely available in specialty shops and in Britain, brown sugar can be used instead as a workable substitution. Water and butter are often other ingredients used when making treacle toffee, as are vinegar and cream of tartar.

Depending upon the recipe being used, the flavor and texture of treacle toffee can vary. Some recipes yield crumbly treats, while others are chewy. Most traditionalists say the candy should be hard, like brittle. If prepared correctly, the sweet can stay fresh as long as regular hard candy if kept in an airtight container.

Treacle toffee is usually only available in the fall months, unless it is made at home. Some specialty candy shops do, however, sell it year-round. Traditionally, the toffee is made in large trays, then pounded out with a hammer and served. Smaller batches may be broken by hand and eaten immediately.

Before cooking toffee, the tin or other container used to store the candy should be lightly oiled or buttered in order to prevent it from sticking. When treacle toffee is prepared, the sugar is dissolved before any other ingredients are added. Once all of the ingredients are well mixed, they are boiled together until the temperature in the recipe is reached. A candy thermometer is recommended in order to assess proper temperature. As the ingredients cook, they should be continually stirred in order to prevent them from sticking to the pot.

It is then poured and left to cool for a minimum of ten minutes before being served. Cooking time is usually fifteen minutes, as is preparation time. If the correct temperature is not achieved, the result is a softer, sticker candy that can still be eaten if desired. It can also be drizzled over other desserts as an alternative.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


Cinder toffee is something else entirely and is definitely not treacle toffee. Cinder toffee is what is on the inside of a Cadbury's Crunchie bar. In some places, often in touristy, country, English towns, you can still buy cinder toffee. It's like honey comb.


Toffee is one of my favorite candies, and homemade toffee is the best. Every Christmas I make some toffee from a recipe that belonged to my grandmother.

My son in law is from Europe and I was so excited when I had the chance to try some treacle toffee. It was so good, I went online to find a good treacle toffee recipe I could make myself.

There really aren't very many ingredients needed to make this delicious candy. All you need is brown sugar, molasses (if you can't find treacle), and some butter.

This is an easy toffee recipe that is hard to go wrong with. This is even easier than the toffee I usually make and tastes so good!

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