Hello! Happy Tuesday!
Honeycomb has been on my mind ever since my trip to NYC in late August to do some ice cream research. I had the most amazing honeycomb flavored ice cream at Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. After doing some research I realized that I have had honeycomb before in a different form called Sponge Candy! Two of my best friends in college that were from/had family in Buffalo, NY would often receive care packages that included this magical, melt in your mouth candy covered in a thick coat of chocolate. Since college I haven’t had sponge candy, but I’ve often dreamt about it. When I realized I may actually be able to make this candy on my own I was determined to make it work.
Honeycomb is made by boiling dark corn syrup (or honey), sugar and water to 300 degrees, adding vanilla extract, whisking in baking soda and pouring it onto a greased and lined baking sheet. Sounds simple enough, but it took me 4 failed batches that resulted in a puddle of sticky, sugary goop to finally achieve a successful batch of honeycomb. When you add the baking soda the mixture bubbles up which is what gives the candy that airy, sponge-like texture. After 2 failed batches I assumed that my baking soda was too old and had lost it’s ability to achieve this texture. This turned out not to be the issue because I failed 2 more times after getting a new box of baking soda, but I did learn something about baking soda… on the new box I bought it said “change every 30 days – use a new box each month for fresher tasting food” What?! Who knew?! Not me. I can’t remember the last time I had bought baking soda prior to this, it’s such a big box and you use so little in recipes, the average home cook is not flying through their baking soda every month! Anyway, just a little PSA to think about changing your baking soda more often 🙂
If not the baking soda then what was my problem?… Temperature. I was doing trying to do this without a candy thermometer and this was actually my first time ever making any type of candy. After trying multiple recipes, using honey vs. corn syrup and googling “why does my honeycomb keep failing” I finally got it to work. I read that it can often take upwards of 10-15 minutes to get your mixture to 300 degrees which is the temperature you have to get the sugar solution to for it to harden. Prior to reading this I was only allowing the mixture to cook for 3-5 minutes so it was not getting near hot enough. I do not recommend making this without a candy thermometer or you may, like me, be attempting it multiple times, but I was finally able to get it to work after boiling the mixture over medium heat for 12 minutes.
After letting it sit for over an hour I tapped on it and it sounded hallow – it had hardened, it hadn’t collapsed and it wasn’t sticky! I started dancing around the kitchen, I was so relieved and proud of myself 🙂
The most fun part of making honeycomb is getting to crack it! You can use the tip of a knife, break it with your hands or, if you want to have some extra fun and extra clean up you can drop it onto your counter top. It breaks very easily and it is hard to control the size of shape of the pieces.
It is a delicious treat on it’s own…
But covered in chocolate it is even better! Look at that beautiful honeycomb!
- 2 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2/3 cup dark corn syrup or honey
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup dark chocolate
- 1 cup milk chocolate
- Line and grease a baking sheet, set aside
- Add sugar, corn syrup (or honey) and water to a tall sided saucepan
- Stir slowly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved
- Bring mixture to a boil
- Boil until mixture reached 300 degrees Fahrenheit
- Remove from heat, quickly mix in vanilla
- Add baking soda while whisking, mixture will bubble and foam
- Immediately pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet
- Allow to set, at least 1 hour
- Once hardened, break into pieces
- Melt dark chocolate
- Coat 1/2 of the honeycomb pieces in the chocolate as desired (fully coated or partially dipped)
- Repeat with milk chocolate
- Make sure you have everything ready to go, once your mixture reaches 300 degrees the process goes very quickly!