Honeycomb has been on my mind ever since my trip to NYC to do some ice cream research. I had the most amazing honeycomb flavored ice cream at Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. After looking into it 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. I haven’t had sponge candy since college, 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 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 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 homemade honeycomb!Print
This homemade honeycomb is to die for. Take care to use a candy thermometer and new baking soda to get it just right. It’s brittle, delicious and beautiful!
- 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
Optional Chocolate Coating
- 1 cup milk or dark chocolate chips
Line and grease a baking sheet, set aside
Add sugar, corn syrup (or honey) and water to a tall sided, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat
Stir slowly with a medium spoon until sugar is dissolved
Bring mixture to a boil
Boil until mixture reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit, this can take a while, up to 15 minutes depending on your burner
As soon as it reaches 300°F. remove from heat and quickly mix in vanilla
Add baking soda to sugar mixture while whisking vigorously, mixture should bubble and foam
Immediately pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet
Allow to set and harden at least 1 hour
Once hardened, break into pieces
Optional Chocolate Coating
Melt chocolate in a double boiler until smooth
Dip honeycomb partially or completely to coat
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, refrigerate to harden
- Make sure you have everything ready to go, once your mixture reaches 300 degrees the process goes very quickly!
- Use NEW baking soda, if your baking soda is more than a month old it may not work
- The sugar mixture HAS to reach 300°F for it to work, use a candy thermometer check the temperature
- Cuisine: candy
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