Sunday, June 28, 2009

Honeycomb Candy

I first tried this candy while on a trip to Ireland. I had never even heard of it before, which is a shame, because it's quite the addicting little treat.

Knowing that I had never heard of it before, I assumed many of my American compatriots were in the same boat, so wanted to expand their horizons as mine had been. So I whipped up a batch of this relatively easy confection and brought it in to work. I was amazed at the response I got (mind you, my coworkers have all come to expect that there will be sweets of some kind adorning the front desk, unfortunately making my treats somewhat unspecial). But in this case, many people were coming back for 3rds and 4ths, and a number of people even knew what it was (!). One lady said she used to make it every day as a kid in Korea; it was her childhood favorite. So I don't know why American's were denied this experience, but hopefully we can work through that fault and embrace the crunchy, crispy deliciousness that is honeycomb for ever after.

One note of caution: While on the stove, don't let the sugar mix go beyond 300 degrees. Luckily, the recipe is simple, easy, and fast, so failing in my first attempt was not terribly discouraging and continued to try it again. But the first batch was definitely burned and carmelized, which is not the correct texture or taste. Made for an awesome photo though.

So, the recipe is
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/4 C corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 tbs baking soda

Prep a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with some parchment paper and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, bring the water, syrup and sugar to a simmer over medium heat and don't stir. Let it bubble its way up to 300 degrees fahrenheit (until the liquid is the color of light straw) and then immediately dump the baking soda into the pot. Whisk rapidly incorporating the soda into the sugar mixture as thoroughly as possible. The mixture will start bubbling up quite violently and turning the mix into a honey color. Pour the mix onto the parchment paper and let it rest for 20 minutes. Any fussing with it and the air bubbles will deflate and you will lose the quintessential "honeycomb" look that is caused by the soda forcing air throughout the toffee-like sugar mixture. The ideal outcome, is a very porous, crispy, sticks to your teeth texture that tastes something like butterfinger/caramel and melts in your mouth. There is a distinct baking soda taste to it too, but not in a disagreeable way. It's quite a delightful way to get your sugar fix.

Once it is set, just chop it roughly with a sharp knife. I like to get sizeable pieces and then the little bites just happen because the candy is too brittle to cut into perfect shaped or sized pieces. You can also cover the pieces with chocolate, which is amazing. In fact, Cadbury has a chocolate covered Honeycomb bar that is commercially sold over there (why not here?!!!).

So from Great Britain (or wherever it originated) to you: enjoy!

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