The two most popular snacks at the tuckshop in my boarding school were peanut bars and toffee sticks. Girls, myself included, would unwrap the peanut bars and tightly coil the toffee sticks around them. You were considered a connoisseur if you could wrap the toffee around the bar without leaving any gaps in between. The pair were an infamous duo throughout school because it was one of the few sweet treats we could easily get our hands on. Even now, I still remember how surprisingly soft the bars were, which is why I wanted to recreate this delight.
Lopè Ariyo's Peanut Toffee Bars
450g caster sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the toffee wrap:
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 397g tins sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
2. Over a medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for the toffee in a saucepan. Pour in the condensed milk along with the vanilla extract and cook, stirring constantly, until the milk thickens and forms one light brown mass - this could take up to 15 minutes.
3. Transfer the toffee to the lined tin and use the back of a spoon to press it down. You might need to use a knife to spread it into the corners of the tin. Set aside and allow to cool.
4. Put the sugar and 125ml water into a large saucepan set over a medium heat. Stir until well combined and let the sugar dissolve so that there are no visible crystals. Bring the heat up to high and let it boil for about 8 minutes, or until it thickens to a deep amber caramel. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the coconut oil and vanilla extract. Once fully incorporated, add the peanuts to the pan and mix until they are well coated.
5. Pour the peanut mix over the toffee and use a rubber spatula to spread the mix out into an even, flat layer, making sure to get into all the corners. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and, using a small rolling pin or a bottle, press the peanuts down into the toffee. When you’re satisfied, remove the top layer of baking paper (some peanuts will come off) and let cool for 1 hour.
6. When cooled, take the toffee out of the square tin and pull away the bottom layer of baking paper. Slice into 6 long strips, then cut each strip into 3 bars.
Recipe taken from Hibiscus by Lopè Ariyo, published by HarperCollins, 2017
- Preparation time: 5 minutes plus cooling time
- Cooking time: 20 minutes
- Total time: 25 minutes plus cooling time
Makes: 18 bars
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This recipe was first published in Wed Jul 19 11:49:18 BST 2017.