Just before Halloween, I read a blog post on MattBites.com about some toffee apples that he made for halloween. I used to love having toffee apples as a kid and seeing these toffee-covered treats again took me back to a sunny summer's afternoon at some cake-stall fundraiser and me munching on a toffee apple. So when I was invited to a bring-a-plate fundraising afternoon tea, a variation of this idea was one of the recipes floating around in my head.
The fundraising afternoon tea is a High Tea party and we will be donating to breast cancer research here in New Zealand. So, like many similar other fundraisers for breast cancer research, there will be a pink theme. Thinking back to the toffee apples, I wanted to make something toffeed, yet small enough to suit a High Tea... and for it to be pink or red. Strawberries it was then.
My first batch of toffee was destined for the bin as I was distracted right at that crucial moment and it was taken way past the point of the full-flavoured, caramely toffee and turned into a sticky, burned mess. Mental note: making toffee requires 100% of your attention, especially when done in small quantities. Lesson learned.
The second batch was much better, I took it off the heat just as it started to turn golden brown. I added a few drops of red food colouring, to help intensify the red colour. Holding a plump, ripe strawberry by its leaves, I dunked and twirled it in the toffee. Success!
I left the toffee strawberries to rest on a sheet of baking paper and taste tested one (my favourite part in the whole process) - yum! I made a few more to make sure that I had the technique down pat and left them on the baking paper.
At this point I thought that this would go down well at a High Tea - they were the right size and looked quite good.
But then disappointment. Checking on the strawberries about half an hour later, I noticed that the toffee was starting to melt. Oh darn, they won't last sitting around on a plate for a couple of hours.
So although these are not suitable for a High Tea party, they would be great as an after-meal treat. Enjoy!
1 punnet of strawberries, left whole with its leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
1 1/2c caster sugar
3T white vinegar
12-15 drops red food colouring
1. In a small, deep saucepan, gently stir over a low heat until the sugar, vinegar and water are melted.
2. Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Do not stir. Keeping a close eye on the pot, let the mixture boil until it turns a light golden brown. Take the saucepan off the heat.
3. Holding a strawberry by its leaves, dip it in the toffee, coating it thinly. Be careful when doing this as the toffee can burn your skin easily
4. Transfer the toffee strawberry to a sheet of baking paper
5. Repeat for the remainder of the strawberries.
By Andrea Wong.
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