Honey toffee


  • 200ml honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 20g butter
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 15 mini silicone lined patty pans or baking paper


This recipe, written on a slip of paper with youthful handwriting, was secreted inside a children's book belonging to Kathleen Rouse in the late 1800s Good things made, said and done for every home & household c 1885. It is a ‘butter toffee’ much like caramel or butterscotch. Like many manuscript recipes, no method is given, so I was guided by similar recipes to come up with a workable method. I have doubled the original quantities so there is more to share.


Combine the honey, sugar, water and vinegar in a deep-sided saucepan and heat gently, swirling the pot now and then - do not stir it with a spoon - until the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat, bringing the mixture to the boil, then let the mixture boil until it reaches 145° Celsius or 'soft-ball stage' (explained below). This may take 5–10 minutes, and be very careful – the mixture will bubble up in the pot.
Once the required heat is reached, remove the pot from the heat immediately, add butter and cream of tartar, gently stirring with a metal spoon until fully incorporated.
For individual toffees, spoon a tablespoon or so of the mixture into mini silicone-lined patty pans and refrigerate until set.
Alternatively, pour the mixture into onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until it sets. Break the toffee into large pieces.
Store the toffees in the fridge - they will soften and be difficult to manage if not kept cold.
COOKS TIP: A candy thermometer will be useful for making this toffee, to determine when the required 145°C is reached. Otherwise, you can test whether the toffee has reached ‘soft ball’ stage by dropping a small amount into a glass of cold water, and pressing it gently to see that it holds a ball shape.

This recipe appeared in the post All a-buzz with honey from the kitchen garden on October 20, 2016.

This recipe appeared in the post All a-buzz at Vaucluse House on October 21, 2020.

Have you tried this recipe?

Use the comments box below to upload comments and photos.