At school, several lunchtimes every week were rounded off with a Cornflake Crunchie. (The dinner ladies tried to fob us off by calling them Cornflake Tarts for a while. Young as we were, we knew what a Cornflake Tart was – our cavities were proof – and they were quietly renamed Crunchies.) These retro-fabulous, toffee-like, golden morsels were both crunchy and chewy and so, so good. They were highly prized, a tradable commodity alongside Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle coins, POGS and other collectible tat. To be honest, I wasn’t a picky eater at school. Sunday dinners on Wednesdays? Yes please. Followed by ghostly pale synthetic custard on a jam and coconut sponge – washed down with aspartame-laced squash? Go on then, you’ve twisted my arm. I’m not sure my fondly-remembered (no really, they were) school dinners of the 80s and 90s would meet current standards. Certainly no one ever had a peanut allergy. And if they did, they kept quiet about it. But while my rose-tinted memories are firmly intact and possibly (probably) do not apply to many of my schoolmates, I can assure you, the Cornflake Crunchies were a solid winner with everyone.
This is a very easy recipe, but while little ones love to eat the finished goods, please keep them away from the pan while you are making them. The toffee-like mixture becomes mind-blowingly hot, so don’t dip your fingers in, lick a spoon or any of that nonsense until it has cooled down. (I have actually done this. I would rather be ripped apart by wolves than suffer toffee burns again.)
1 can of full-fat condensed milk (NOT evaporated!)
75g unsalted butter
75g soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup or honey
You will need an 8″ x 8″ tin lined with baking paper, or you can use little fairy cake cases.
Put the condensed milk, butter, sugar and golden syrup/honey in a saucepan. Melt together slowly on a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Allow to come to boiling point, then reduce to a simmer and stir continuously -you will notice it thickening – for about 15 mins. This should be the ‘soft ball stage’ – if you have a sugar thermometer, you’re looking to reach 235f – 240f. Remove from the heat, allow it to stand for a few minutes then stir in the cornflakes.
Tip the gooey mixture into a tin lined with baking paper and smooth it down using the back of a spoon. (Or spoon it into little fairy cases.) Allow it to cool completely then you can cut it into little squares – I can get 20 -25 squares if I really put my mind to it. Store in an air-tight tub. These are best eaten on the day you make them, or within 24 hours, as the cornflakes tend to lose a bit of crunch.