food52hotline why would toffee burn before reaching the 300 degree mark on the candy thermometer?
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Sometimes a few stray sugar crystals will stick to the bottom of the pot and if not caught and stirred in they will create a hot spot and cause the candy to scorch. Either that or the calibration on your thermometer is off and the candy got too hot - it only takes a few extra degrees to go from delicious candy to a burnt mess.
Hmm...did you use a less refined sugar, like turbinado? Sometimes the toffee can burn due to the larger quantity of impurities. Also, if you're at a higher altitude, most recipes involving boiling sugar (for caramel, toffee) recommend lowering the temp by 10 degrees or so. If chocolate is added to the mix, that could also be a culprit. These are just a few ideas -- I'm sure there are other factors.
Do you add a bit of Karo syrup to your sugar? Careful stirring is important, especially around the edges of the pot. I make my toffee with the burner just under medium heat.
It took me three times to get my toffee right this year. I wasn't stirring it enough, and as others have noted, it scorched in a few spots. Also, check the accuracy of your thermometer by testing it in boiling water. Good luck!
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
It's pretty easy to burn toffee. The butter in the mix is prone to burning at a lower temperature than 300º. Turn the heat lower and when the mixture gets close to the target temp, start stirring continuously.