My sister, brother and I are lucky enough to still have the most wonderful mother, but I must confess, she is not and never was a "cook". She is a WW11 war bride from New Zealand, who after marrying our father in NZ in 1943, arrived in this country with a somewhat short list of British Puddings and sweets! They are all the absolute best and it is from her that we learned to make the ultimate (and original) Pavlova, the best Shortbread, Queen's Pudding and ... tra la, Russian Toffee. Who knows where the name came from? I have never seen it in any cookbook, even by another name. It is magnificently simple and scarily addictive! We never had a candy thermometer so the consistency varied from batch to batch--it never seemed to matter whether it was firm and cleanly sliceable like fudge or gooey and sticky when we sliced it--it always vanished rapidly. This is so sinful that I've never passed it on to my daughters until now! —Veronica
1 buttered 8x8 or 9x12 tin/dish
butter (if sweet, add a good pinch of salt)
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Add the condensed milk and sugar and stir thoroughly.
Raise the heat so that the mixture comes to a gentle boil and stir...continue to stir and stir and stir!
As the mixture starts to thicken and "tan" start using a Candy Thermometer. Your goal is to get the mixture to the Hard Ball stage (around 255-264 degrees.)
Have a cup of ice water at hand and as the thermometer begins to rise and the mixture thickens, drop a scant teaspoonful of the mixture into the ice water. Keep doing this until a ball forms that holds its shape but you can still put a dent in it with a finger. So long as you get it to this stage, you'll be fine. (Each time you test the mixture, you'll need a fresh cup of ice water.)
Remove from the heat and pour into the buttered tin--cool and cut into 1 inch square/oblong pieces. Store in a container with waxed paper separating the layers or...just go ahead and eat it!