tray of toffee

Bonfire Night Snacks – Bonfire Toffee


There is one delicious bonfire night snack that dates back to the 1600’s and is always enjoyed on Bonfire Night. In the UK it is called Bonfire toffee and is really easy to make. 

Bonfires in Fuerteventura

Okay so let’s address this one straight off. If you are coming to Fuerteventura in November, don’t expect to experience bonfire night, sparklers, fireworks, or anything like that on 5th November as it is not celebrated…. but you can still enjoy Bonfire Night snacks!

So why is there no Bonfire Night in Fuerteventura?

Because it is all about the Gunpowder plot, Guy Fawkes, and the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, which happened ( or failed ) back in 1605 …. Therefore, it is not a Spanish or Canarian tradition and therefore not something that is openly celebrated here. (Sorry!)

bonfire on the beach in Fuerteventura

San Juan – Bonfires on the Beaches

However, that said, there will be some Brits recreating their own versions on a very small scale, so you might get lucky and enjoy a homemade toffee apple or two. If you are a bit of a fire fan and want to see loads of and loads of bonfires in Fuerteventura, then you need to visit in June as that is when we celebrate the festival on the beach known as La Noche de San Juan which is a spectacle and great fun, as well as a time to burn away your sins and renew yourself for the future.

San Juan in Fuerteventura

Bonfire Night Snacks

But, if you are going to have a bit of a bonfire night at home, then there are lots of delicious bonfire night snacks that you can enjoy, some snacks date back through the centuries and have been enjoyed around a bonfire, since Guy Fawke’s time. So, if you fancy recreating the tastes and flavours from the past, then Bonfire Toffee is a good place to start. It is often associated with Bonfire Night, hence the reason it is known as Bonfire Toffee, but over the years it has had many different names even though the basic recipe has stayed pretty much the same.

bonfire toffee

Bonfire Toffee Names

‘Treacle Toffee’, ‘Plot Toffee’ or ‘Tom Trot’ has been enjoyed around bonfires for years, but why it is associated with Guy Fawkes is anybody’s guess. The signature ingredient of bonfire toffee is thick black treacle that gives it a distinctive and sometimes bitter taste. In Scotland this molasses style toffee is known as ‘Claggum’ or ‘clack’ and in Wales ‘Ioshin’ or ‘taffi triog’.

Treacle Toffee

Treacle is now easy to source and relatively inexpensive to buy. Even here in Fuerteventura we can now source treacle, but that was not always the case. The use of treacle can be traced right back to around the 1600´s, (Guy Fawkes time) but then it was considered for medicinal use only and so it came with a very high price. It was not till around the 1800´s that the price came down and it became accessible to cooks and kitchens. The most common use for treacle or molasses was in baking and it what gives gingerbread it sweet, yet bitter taste. It was around this time that toffee began to appear. Cooks in the North of England began to make it as a treat to replace sweets such as candied fruit or preserves.


Treacle Taffy – Tom Trot

All kinds of soft and hard toffee began to emerge known as taffy, toughy and tuffy. By the end of the century Tom Trot became popular. Industrial factories began producing it, but treacle was much higher in price than sugar, so it was a luxury. Treacle toffee could only be bought in October and November, and it was made on huge trays. A little toffee hammer was used to smash off the portions which were then wrapped in paper. As the shop bought versions were expensive, people began making their own at home and by the 1950´s and 60´s older members of the community used to make sheets of it and give it out to the local trick-or-treaters during Halloween and enjoy the rest with the children around the bonfire a few days later.

tray of toffee


WARNING: Take care and keep children out of the which happened ( or failed ) when making this toffee as it gets really hot and will burn little fingers.


SERVINGS: About 500g


· 450g Brown sugar

· 150ml water

· 100g Black treacle

· 100g Golden syrup

· 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

· 80g Unsalted butter

· Extra butter for greasing


Heavily grease and line a shallow baking tray with greased proof paper, including up the sides. Put all of the ingredients into a large saucepan and heat it until the butter melts. Turn up the heat and allow it to boil, stir occasionally and do not let it burn. The toffee needs to boil at 150°C but if you don’t have a thermometer then get a glass of very cold water and drop a small amount of toffee into it. You should hear a cracking noise and it should turn brittle. If it doesn´t continue to boil and keep testing till it does. Next pour the mixture into the baking tray and pop it in the fridge immediately to set. Once set, you are ready to hit it with a toffee hammer or something hard like a rolling pin (this bit the kids will want to join in with). It will break into little chunks, ready to be enjoyed.

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