Duck behind a curtain and slip into an asbestos suit because sugar reaches shocking tempertures. Okay, so our scare tactics may be a little over zealous but be careful; splattering is nonetheless unpleasant.
In a heavy bottomed pan melt 2 and a 1/4 pounds of sugar, a quarter pound of unsalted butter and a half cup of full fat milk. Simmer slowly for around 15 minutes, then allow to gently boil until sugar has properly dissolved. Continue boiling for fifteen minutes stirring all the time. Under NO circumstances allow the sugar to stick and burn at the bottom of your pan.
At this stage remove from heat and say a little prayer of gratituide to the great God of Sugar. For he is watching your every sweet move. Suitably emotionally balanced, add one large tin of condensed milk - this is the sweet, gloopy viscous fluid you probably remember from childhood. A large tin is normally around 450 mls. Next, add one and a half teaspoons of vanilla essence. Spoil yourself; use the real stuff as opposed to 'vanilla flavour'. It's SO much lovelier.
Boil for another twenty five minutes stirring constantly. The mixture should, by this time, be a heavenly shade of golden brown. Drop a teaspoon of the goo into cold water. If it 'balls' you are ready. Hold your breath as you weep openly because you are NEARLY there.
Beat it, baby, beat it! Remove pan from heat and whisk for 15 minutes or until you feel you're going to swoon with arm fatigue. DO NOT cut corners here by dropping beat time. This stage is CRITICAL.
Pour into a large flat pre greased tray - approx 16" x 10" - and spread flat. Pop in the fridge for twenty minutes then remove and 'score' the surface with a sharp knife. Pop back in the fridge and leave for two hours.
Open fridge; remove tray and enjoy. Jeeeeeez. It's such a simple recipe. Top tip? Don't eat the whole tray in one sitting, tempting as that prospect might be. Enjoy in moderation you greedy Gannets!
C and J xx ,