Whoever thought Junk-free June was a clever use of alliteration clearly Hadn’t Had Homemade Honeycomb.
I’m quoting my own Instagram and I was asleep by 8PM on a Friday: these two things paint a rather dismal picture of my mid-twenties. I have made honeycomb (hokey pokey/cinder toffee) once before, over a decade ago, over a bunsen burner. If reliving my high school chemistry days is my way of dealing with a potential quarter life crisis (I’m 25 in less than two weeks), then thank goodness this is actually tasty. Making it in a saucepan over a stovetop certainly lends itself to less of a gas burned beaker vibe, and altogether a more delicious outcome.
Thanks to Planet Science and my poor long term recall, I can divulge the secret of how this treat is made:
The heat of the sugar mixture causes the bicarbonate of soda to break down and release carbon dioxide bubbles. The carbon dioxide bubbles make the sugar mixture expand. When the sugar mixture cools, gaps remain where the carbon dioxide bubbled through the mixture. This gives honeycomb its distinctive texture.
Whatever’s happening, it’s a superb cake decoration and opportunistic treat to nibble from the jar. I was incredibly pleased with the dramatic effect half a batch broken into shards created on top of this cake, and even more so with the amount left over to eat myself. It would also be utterly marvellous covered in chocolate, sprinkled over ice cream or as a component in rocky road.
Recipe from Nigella.
- 100g caster sugar
- 4 tbsp/60g golden syrup
- 1.5tsp baking soda
- Line a small deep baking tray with nonstick paper and grease.
- In a small saucepan, mix together the caster sugar and golden syrup until combined before placing over medium heat. Don’t touch the mixture from this point onwards or else it will crystallise!
- Leave to heat, boil and bubble for around 3 minutes, until it is turning a very dark caramel (think maple syrup).
- Remove from heat and immediately stir through the baking soda. The mixture will bubble up rapidly. Pour into the prepared tray and allow to cool and set before breaking into pieces.
- Store in an airtight container.