Honeycomb toffee, aka the inside of that Crunchie bar that got your tongue all tingly with every bite.
This candy is known worldwide under a lot of different names, cinder toffee, hokey pokey, sponge candy, but when you break the recipes down, they all come back to 3 the same basic ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda.
The process is an absolute joy to watch. The carbon dioxide is released from baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) when it is mixed into a hot sugar syrup. The reaction is extremely fast. The syrup mixture expands four or five times or more in a couple of seconds. The honeycomb bubbly texture is caused by millions these carbon dioxide bubbles that get trapped and suspended in the syrup as it cools. This is what makes the candy light and give its appearance and crunchiness.
I remember a few years ago, I saw Nigella’s recipe and I always had an urge to make some. One thing made me put it off multiple times is the fact that most recipes call for corn syrup, and I’m not particularly a big fan of it and I make sure to avoid it when I can. And honestly, they are called honeycomb for a reason, so where’s the honey?!
So in an inevitable Nigella vs. Martha Stewart battle, Martha won this round with her all-honey recipe. I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I opted for the same technique I use for caramel; keep a close eye on it until it turns that amber color and wing it.
It really takes like 10 minutes to make. And after that you just transfer it to a baking sheet and wait for it to set, which is like a minute. And then comes the best part, smashing it into shards of golden awesomeness.
What can you do with it? Dip them in chocolate and give them out as a gift. Use them in cakes, or sprinkle them on top of ice cream like I did in the Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream. Or you can just eat them as they are, something I might be guilty of doing.
Yield: Makes 1 sheet (about 9 x 11 in.)
- Vegetable oil, cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Bring sugar, honey, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook, without stirring. If you’re using a candy thermometer, wait till it reaches 300 degrees. If not, like me, keep a close eye on it till it turns amber in color.
- Remove from heat, add baking soda, and stir with whisk, just until incorporated.
- The mixture will expand, slowly at first and then with a rush and may fizz. Take care as the mixture may expand like a volcano. Always do this in a large deep baking tray to catch any overflow.
- Pour the honeycomb mixture into the oiled baking tin and let the mixture cool and set. Let cool.
- Break the honeycomb apart and transfer to an airtight container. Depending on where you live, the moisture can set in and make it a lot less crisp.
Bon Appetit 🙂