I remember when sticky toffee rice puff bars first appeared in the shops, complete with cereal branding to grab your attention. At least half the kids in my class had them in their lunch boxes at school. I was about nine years old and no doubt one of many kids who nagged their mothers for this sugary block on the supermarket shelf.
I don’t know why I was so amazed to find this recipe on the desert postcard my Grandmother had kept. It was as if I had assumed that crispy puffed rice cereal did not exist pre-1990’s, let alone without the slogan – snap, crackle and pop. But it did – and instead of referring to them by brand, they were just rice puffs or rice crisps. It is with these that this ridiculously high-sugar, but kids’ delight, snack is made.
My grandmother starts this recipe with ‘a shilling slab of toffee’, which is not the most helpful of measurements in 2012, I have to say. After some reckoning and experimenting, these are the modern measurements I now use.
175g toffee (a slab broken up, or just a bag of toffee pieces)
100g butter (unsalted)
100g caster sugar
150g rice puffs
Melt the toffee with butter and sugar gently in a pan over a low heat. Keep stirring to avoid any sugar burning or catching at the bottom of the pan. Once you have a smooth thick syrupy mixture, pour over the rice puffs in a large bowl and stir, carefully folding the liquid through the rice until everything is coated evenly. Pack it down flat into tin lined with greaseproof paper and chill.
Once set, cut the square into blocks small enough for small hands not to make too much of a mess when eating.