Monday, December 10, 2012

Honeycomb Candy

I know this looks kind of crazy, and not entirely like food at all, but it is sooooooo delicious. Honeycomb candy is the name I know it by. It's a sweet nutty toffee that's light, crispy and melts in your mouth. It also goes by the name Sponge Candy, Seafoam, Fairy Food and Cinder Toffee depending on what part of the USA or the world you are from or discover it in (more info here)... I first discovered this more than a decade ago in a british candy bar called Crunchie sold at Fairway Markets in NYC.

During this season of holidays, sweets and treats, I thought I would try and make this special candy. I brought this batch to a holiday party on the tray I'd made it in and we smashed it to bits at the party. It was a fun, festive and addictive addition to the night. 

Honeycomb candy is pretty simple to make, but it's not a great one to do with young kids, as hot sugar can burn. The one thing to note is that you need to make this in a large pot as it expands by three or four times when you add the baking soda. If you don't have enough honey in the house, you can substitute some maple syrup. Not sure about substituting for the corn syrup, as it is often used in candies to keep sugar from crystalizing, but you might be able to get away with just using honey and sugar.  I added a pinch of salt to mine as I like the sweet/salty combo. 

Honeycomb Candy

1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 cup water
pinch salt
chocolate coating (optional):
     12 ounces dark chocolate
     2 tbsp butter
  1. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray or coating very lightly with oil.
  2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey, and ¼ cup water in a large saucepan. You want to use a saucepan large enough so that the mixture can triple in size and still be safely contained (at least 3 quarts). Stir the ingredients together until the sugar is completely moistened. Using a wet pastry brush, wipe the sides of the saucepan to remove any stray sugar crystals.
  3. Insert a candy thermometer and cook the mixture over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 300 degrees.
  4. Once the candy is at the right temperature, remove it from the heat and add the baking soda all at once. Immediately whisk the candy to incorporate the baking soda, and be careful—it will foam up a lot!
  5. As soon as the baking soda is incorporated, pour the candy carefully onto the prepared sheet. Don't spread it much as you will deflate the bubbles in the toffee.
  6. Allow it to cool and harden completely, then break it into small pieces. Honeycomb can be eaten as-is, or you can dip it in chocolate:
  7. Combine the chocolate and butter in a bowl and set it over simmering water, stir until melted. Note that the amount of chocolate required may vary depending on how thick you made your honeycomb and how many pieces you made.
  8. Using two forks, dip the individual pieces in chocolate so that they are completely covered, and replace them on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining honeycomb and refrigerate until chocolate is set. Best enjoyed within 24 hours.
Note: Honeycomb cannot be left out in the open for any extended length of time, as it will get sticky. Keep it in an air tight container or ziplock bag. Mine lasted for about a week sipped up tight. These are great dipped in chocolate, but we enjoyed then so much straight off the pan as is.

You can control the thickness of the honeycomb by selecting a pan size based on your preference. If you use an 11x17 pan, the honeycomb will be approximately ¼” thick, while a 13x9 pan yields a ½” candy and an 8x8 pan produces an even thicker honeycomb.

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