I’ve always wondered what chemistry tastes like. Wait… is that a thing that people say? No. You’re right.
A lot of things are chemistry in the kitchen, but this honeycomb situation is burning hot, boiling chemistry all up in your face. It’s not like that time you threw in cayenne pepper with your olive oil and corn kernels to make popcorn and gassed yourself out of the house. That’s homemade pepper spray and I’ve definitely never done that… but I know someone who has.
When sugar is boiled down with a bit of water and vinegar, things seem pretty benign. When baking soda and vigorous whisking are added to the mix, things change, on the quick. The result? Fluffy sweet, crunchy sweet, completely addictive sweet CANDY!
I love this life.
Ps. If my last post on Chocolate Dipped Bananas left you feeling like I was engaged to be married, rest assured that I am not engaged. If I were, I probably wouldn’t announce it in a Chocolate Dipped Banana post. I received a few congratulatory emails and I thank you… and that was awkward for me alone. …I’m going to go clean the kitchen now. I love you. Not weird.
I think every part of the world has a different name for honeycomb. Maybe you call it sea foam, hokey pokey, Violet Crumble, sponge toffee, crack candy, dangerzone, or Crunchie Rocks. Whatever you call it, it’s really just granulated sugar + chemistry.
Here are the step-by-step tones and emotions you might go through with this recipe. These are the things that are important, but not indicated in the recipe instructions below.
The recipe goes like this:
– Ho hum… sugar is boiling. I’m waiting waiting waiting waiting. I knew this candy thermometer would come in handy. I’m so smart. Wait. Am I doing something wrong? Should this take so long? What’s that burning smell? Oh my pot-holder is on fire. Pffft.
– AAHHHHH quickly whisking boiling hot sugar with baking soda is TERRIFYING WHY AM I DOING THIS CANDY BARS ARE SO CHEAP!
– AAAHHHHHHHHH!!! You want me to hold a heavy pot and scoop out boiling hot sugar HOW FAST!?!? THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME DO THIS!? JOY THE BAKER IS SO DUUUUMB GAWD!
– Oh. That wasn’t so bad. I probably didn’t need to scream like that… but maybe it helped the process.
– Oh! It’s fun to crack this candy! It’s just like stabbing.
– CHOCOLATE!!!! Back to yelling.
– I ate the whole batch. I really did just eat the whole entire batch. I’ve already talked myself out of exercising for the day and NOW THIS!
– I need a salad with extra feta cheese. I think I just gave myself a sugar fever. Is that a thing? It is now. I’m also going to do sit-ups while I watch this rerun of Teen Mom that I’ve already seen. What? Don’t look at me.
Can someone please write a cookbook with emotional instructions alongside technical instructions? I should do that. We go through emotions when sugar comes to a boil. It gets REAL!
This honeycomb is crazy crunchy. This honeycomb melts in your mouth. It’s sweet like candy but the bittersweet chocolate and salt helps tone down the madness. If you’re already in the know… you need no convincing. If you don’t know… believe the hype.
Homemade Honeycomb with dark chocolate and sea salt
adapted from epicurious and food network
makes about 2 cups of candy
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, for topping
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil. Set aside.
Fill an empty sink with about 2-inches of cold water Set up a whisk and the baking soda near the sink. Timing is everything.
In a medium, heavy bottom saucepan whisk together sugar, corn syrup, water, cream of tartar, and vinegar. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat. There’s no real need to stir the pan as it begins to boil. Swirl the pan if you’d like. Heat boiling sugar mixture to 300 degrees F.
When the mixture comes to 300 degrees F, quickly remove from heat and gently set the pan in the cool water in the sink. Immediately add baking soda and quickly whisk to combine. The mixture will become foamy and frothy and look pale. It will turn slightly golden as you whisk. Before the candy cools too much, quickly spread it into the prepared pan. It doesn’t have to fill the pan completely… just get it in there. It cools and hardens quickly.
Candy will set within 20 minutes. Crack into big pieces. Dip and/or sprinkle with melted dark chocolate. Allow to rest in the refrigerator until chocolate hardens. Place in an airtight container. I store my honeycomb in an airtight container in the refrigerator.