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Honeycomb

As a child I remember eating fun-size Violet Crumbles and Crunchies by gnawing away on the outside chocolate layer and then relishing the crunchy, sweet honeycomb centre afterwards.

I always thought that the honeycomb was some magical, bubble-filled candy that you could only buy in shops, but recently I discovered how easy it is to make. This gets a little dangerous when you have a whole box of honeycomb to yourself and you start eating it non-stop like you’re eating popcorn at a movie. Very dangerous indeed.

As long as you have a candy thermometer, it’s super easy and quick to whip up a batch of these. Be sure to keep an eye on your melting sugar so that it doesn’t burn (because I assure you, the smell will linger in your kitchen for ages!). And don’t be alarmed when the mixture foams up like crazy when you add the bicarb – it’s supposed to happen.

I love eating the pieces of honeycomb on its own, but you could always jazz up this basic recipe by half or fully coating the pieces in dark chocolate once the honeycomb is set. Alternatively, crush it up and sprinkle it over your favourite ice cream, mousse or cake for some extra sugary goodness. Or you could always take a leaf out of Bill Granger’s book and mix some crushed honeycomb with butter, and serve the honeycomb butter with hotcakes, pancakes or crumpets.


Honeycomb

300g caster sugar
150g honey (or golden syrup)
5 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper. Make sure you have your bicarbonate of soda and a whisk ready to go.

2. Place the sugar, honey and water into a large saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to low heat and cook without stirring until the mixture turns golden and reaches 154ºC on a candy thermometer (hard crack stage). Keep an eye on your mixture so that it doesn’t burn.

3. Remove from the heat and quickly add the bicarbonate of soda. Whisk quickly for a few seconds to combine the bicarbonate of soda with the sugar mixture – it should foam up rapidly. Immediately pour into the prepared tin and set aside to cool. When the honeycomb is set, break it up into bite-sized chunks. Store in an airtight container.

15 thoughts on “Honeycomb”

  1. I still eat my crunchies and violet crumbles the same way. Hmm I still haven’t grown up.

    Making honeycomb is such a magical thing, like a science experiment in the kitchen. I use to make this for Josh when he was young. He was always amazed at the bubbling up when the bicarb s added.

  2. I have a bit of a honeycomb addiction, so I’ll have to make this.
    I have a sugar thermometer but haven’t been brave enough to use it yet.
    The recipes always say to cook without stirring, but also to make sure it doesn’t burn!! Stirring helps prevent things from burning!

    Is a stainless steel pot suitable, or would that burn? How do people accidentally burn it? Let the temperature get too high too fast? Does swirling the pot prevent it from burning?
    Lots of questions! I’m keen to make this. :)

    1. Hi Margaret – Stirring will cause the sugar to crystallise and you end up with bits of solid sugar crystals forming on top of your syrup. I use a stainless steel pot to make my honeycomb and I haven’t had any issues with burning or anything so it should be fine. Burning the sugar usually happens when you leave it unattended, especially at the point where the colour changes quite rapidly from golden brown to a very dark brown. It does take a while for the syrup to reach the right temperature but if you watch it closely and take the pan off the heat as soon as it reaches the right temperature it won’t burn. One way to stop it from burning if you’re concerned is to shake or swirl the liquid around the saucepan but I find that as long as you keep a close eye on the colour and temperature of the syrup it won’t burn. Trust me you’ll be able to smell it if it’s burning because it smells terrible! Let me know if you have any more questions :)

    1. Hi georgia – You can still make honeycomb if you don’t have a candy thermometer. You just need to make sure that the caramel has reached the hard crack stage. The best way to test this is by looking at the colour (it should be amber coloured) and by dropping a small amount into cold water. If your sugar syrup has reached the hard crack stage, it should form brittle threads when you drop it in cold water and crack if you try to bend it. Hope that helps!

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