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How is sugar used in our favourite Halloween and Bonfire Night treats?

31/10/2019 By Frank O’Kelly in Applications Confectionary, Golden syrup

As today is Halloween and next week is Bonfire Night, we thought it would be a good idea to use it as an opportunity to talk about the ever-growing treat market these two events fuel, looking at the central role sugar plays.

The sweets and treats market

Halloween and Bonfire Night are two of the biggest holidays of the year for the British consumer market. According to Statista, retail expenditure on Halloween alone has risen from £230 million in 2013 to £419 million in 2018. While this was also spent on costumes, pet costumes and decorations, the survey suggests that 40% of shoppers bought sweets and chocolate for Halloween in 2017, with each shopper’s average spending on Halloween treats at £10.

Clearly, Halloween is big business for the confectionary market. When combined with Bonfire Night, the market grows even larger. So, here is a list of our favourite Halloween and Bonfire Night treats, and a short explanation of the sugar element in each recipe.

Marshmallow’s are a Bonfire favourite over a camp fire.

Toffee apples

When one considers Halloween treats, the first thought that springs to mind are these crunchy classics. The secret to making the crispy toffee is by simmering caster sugar in water before adding golden syrup and bubbling until the mixture reaches 140°c. Then, all we need to do is dip our apples into the toffee sauce and allow them to set.

Homemade lollipops

Homemade lollipops are fun to make and are great to hand out to trick or treaters. Like toffee apples, the sugars involved in making lollipops are caster sugar and golden syrup, as well as icing sugar for dusting. The process involves stirring together caster sugar, water and golden syrup until the sugar has dissolved, before bringing to the boil and allowing it to set.

Traditional home made lollypops for Halloween – Toffee apples.

Treacle toffee

This dark and sticky sweet is the perfect accompaniment to fireworks and sparklers. The ingredients behind treacle toffee are dark brown sugar, black treacle and golden syrup. The process starts by dissolving the brown sugar in water, before adding the treacle and syrup. Then, all we need to do is bring to the boil and allow it to set.

close of golden syrup poured over a yellow sponge on a plate

Golden Syrup over toffee sponge pudding.


No Bonfire Night would be complete without toasting a marshmallow on the fire in the back garden. This time, the ingredients are caster sugar, liquid glucose, and icing sugar for dusting, and the process involves heating the caster sugar and liquid glucose with water in a pan.

Different purposes of individual sugars

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it does draw attention to the type of sugars and syrups used when making these treats. While some of the recipes above use the same sugars, it is worth remembering that they are used differently for each purpose, and it is important to know these differences when deciding which sugar to use for your purpose.

Ragus has a wealth of experience supplying pure sugar products to a range of markets. To find out how our pure sugars and our industry-leading delivering capabilities can support the manufacture of your product, please contact our Customer Services Team. To see more sugar news and updates, continue browsing SUGARTALK and follow Ragus on LinkedIn.

Frank O’Kelly

Frank is the primary contact for many of our largest customers.

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