Honeycomb (also known as Cinder Toffee) is one of those quintessential British candies which has made its mark everywhere but the U.S. Here in Australia, people tend to either love them or hate them, and those in the “love it” camp have their favourite brand. Violet Crumble is perhaps the most well-known of the commercial honeycombs available.
Every time I’ve offered to bring someone a sweet treat from from Down Under, it’s either the Violet Crumble or the Crunchie they beg for. Honeycomb is essentially basic toffee which has baking soda added to it. The baking soda and molten sugar react, creating a volcanic eruption of sugary golden edible styrofoam. You can eat it as is, but dipping the irregular chunks into chocolate is delicious. You can also smash it up and mix it into cookies, top cupcakes with it, stir it through ice cream and sprinkle it on top of a chocolate cake for a whole new eating experience.
Here is a (mostly) foolproof recipe if you want to try your hand at making some. Be warned that this stuff is addictive, so best to make one batch at a time!
Chocolate Covered Honeycomb Recipe
(recipe originally appeared in The Age, Oct 2003)
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 Tablespoons corn syrup (or golden syrup)
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) sifted into 1 tablespoon of water
- Dark chocolate/chocolate bark, for melting
Line a rectangular Pyrex dish (or similar) with baking paper, ensuring the paper comes up a few inches over the edges of the dish.
Use a pot bigger than you think you need. Over medium heat, melt the sugar and syrup in a pan for about 5 minutes, stirring gently. Increase the heat to boiling as the mixture becomes more liquid and the sugar dissolves. Once the entire surface is boiling gently, cook without stirring for about 10 minutes until you achieve a golden brown colour. Quickly sprinkle the dissolved bicarbonate of soda over as wide an area as possible and stir through as quickly but gently as you can – be sure to take only a few seconds, or you’ll lose the volume. Don’t worry if tiny specks of baking soda remain – it won’t really affect the final product. The mixture will froth up in a volcanic-like eruption and the trick is to combine the bicarb while bursting the bubbles as little as possible.
Pour into your dish and leave to harden.
One hardened break into large pieces and dip carefully into melted dark chocolate. Using a fork, tap the edge of the block so that excess chocolate runs off and into the bowl. Place onto a clean sheet of baking paper to harden. When done, store in an air tight container – do not place in fridge or near moisture as it will weep and melt into an mess.