Sara Coleridge's Georgian toffee

This recipe was written by hand in Sara's own recipe book before she married Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It still belongs to the Coleridge family, who have kindly allowed the National Trust to use the recipes.

Cooking over a traditional pot
  • Preparation time 15 minutes (prep. time)
  • Cooking time 10 minutes (cooking time)
  • Serves 1


  • Softened butter 125g/4oz 
  • Granulated sugar 125g/4oz 
  • Treacle 125g/4oz
  • Half the rind of a large lemon, grated
  • Quarter of a tsp of pounded ginger


  1. Mix the ingredients together in a large saucepan
  2. Boil them over a slow fire (or 21st century cooker) until the toffee becomes crisp
  3. Test that the toffee is ready by dropping a little of it into cold water
  4. Pour it into a tin and cut out when cold
This is the recipe used by Sara Coleridge, wife of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, over 200 years ago.
For a modern take on the recipe, replace a proportion of the quantity of treacle with golden syrup, or add some lemon juice for a zesty flavour.