Honeycomb, also known as cinder toffee, is a classic confection. Sweet with a deep crunch and a slight saltiness, it’s been a British favourite for decades. However, it’s got a reputation for being tricky to make, with a lot of care required to create a caramel and then need for speed once you’ve chucked the bicarb into the pan. But follow these straightforward steps and you’ll end up with perfect honeycomb every time.
How to make honeycomb
What size should your honeycomb be?
A deep 20cm tin is ideal as the high sides prevent the mixture from spreading outwards, helping it stay puffed.
How do you prepare honeycomb?
Have the tin lined, all the ingredients weighed out and a sugar thermometer to hand. Once the sugar starts cooking you’ll need to keep an eye on it and once it reaches the desired temperature you’ll need everything to hand to work quickly to get the best results.
How do you create the caramel?
Water and golden syrup make the caramel much more stable – the sugar can dissolve in these and then caramelise evenly as the water evaporates, which means the mixture can be stirred without it crystallising.
How hot should the honeycomb be?
The reason for taking the sugar to 140C is because at this point the mixture achieves a perfect balance between caramelisation and bitterness.
Why do you use bicarbonate of soda?
Adding bicarbonate of soda causes a chemical reaction in the pan, creating a burst of carbon dioxide gas, which forms bubbles in the mixture. As the sugar reaches ‘crack’ stage, its strong structure will trap these bubbles as it cools.
You need to whisk in the bicarb briskly to distribute it throughout the sugar, but also briefly so you don’t knock out the air bubbles before you tip the mixture into the tin.
How do you cool honeycomb?
Putting the honeycomb into a warm oven means it will cool slowly – this should prevent it from collapsing, allowing it to set and harden before it deflates.
How do you store honeycomb?
Keeping the honeycomb in an airtight container will keep it crunchy for longer – it prevents moisture in the air getting to the honeycomb, which would start to dissolve the sugar, making it softer.
- caster sugar 300g
- golden syrup 4 tbsp
- bicarbonate of soda 1 tbsp
- sea salt flakes (optional)
What to do with your homemade honeycomb
• To make your own chocolate-covered Crunchie-style bars, melt 200g of milk or dark chocolate, break the honeycomb into shards, coat in the melted chocolate, then leave to set.
• Break it up and use it to top ice cream.
• Pulse the honeycomb in a food processor and use it to ‘crumb’ a cake.