Homemade Honeycomb is a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth holiday treat that is fun to make!
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. Though I’ve often dreamt about it, I haven’t had sponge candy since college. When I realized I may actually be able to make this candy on my own I was determined to make it work.
How To Make Homemade Honeycomb
Honeycomb is made by boiling dark corn syrup (or honey), sugar and water to 300°F, 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.
Here are the mistakes I made for you to avoid:
Old Baking Soda
When you add baking soda to the mixture it is supposed to rapidly bubble up. This step is what gives the candy it’s airy, sponge-like texture. If your baking soda is old it may not be active enough to achieve this crucial step.
Did you know that on your baking soda box it says “change every 30 days – use a new box each month for fresher tasting food”
What? Who knew?!
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!
So, PSA, get a new box of baking soda before attempting this recipe!
As is true with all candy making, it is essential that you allow the sugar mixture to come to temperature, that is why they sell candy thermometers. For honeycomb your mixture needs to get to 300°F in order to end up with hardened honeycomb in the end. If your mixture does not reach 300°F you will end up with a sticky mess on your hands. Getting the mixture to this temperature can take upwards of 10-15 minute, so you have to have patience
I do not recommend making honeycomb without a candy thermometer. But, if you do not have one and you would rather not buy one, I have been successful without a thermometer when I allow the mixture to boil over medium heat for 12 minutes.
- Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or parchment paper and greasing it throughly. Set it aside, you will use it to pour the honeycomb mixture on to set
- Make sure you have the vanilla extract and baking soda out and ready to go for when the sugar mixture is ready
- Add the sugar, corn syrup (or honey) and water to a large, tall sided, heavy bottomed sauce pan
- Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved
- Allow your mixture to come to a boil
- Boil until the mixture reaches 300°F, use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. This step can take up to 15 minutes depending on your burner. But keep a close eye, you can’t let it go over 300°F or you risk burning it
- As soon as it hits 300°F, remove the pan from the heat and quickly whisk in the vanilla extract
- While still whisking vigorously, immediately add the baking soda. The mixture should bubble and foam
- Immediately pour it onto your prepared baking sheet
- Allow it to harden for at least 1 hour
- After an hour, tap on the honeycomb, it should sound hollow
- Carefully use the tip of a shark knife to break the honeycomb it into pieces. You can also use your hands or drop it onto a clean, hard surface to break
Honeycomb is a delicious treat on it’s own, but dipped in chocolate it’s even better!
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 wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved
Bring mixture to a boil
Boil until mixture reaches 300°F**, 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 whisk in the vanilla extract
Immediately add the soda while continuing to whisk vigorously, the mixture should bubble and foam***
Pour the bubbling 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
*Use NEW baking soda, if your baking soda is more than a month old it may not work
**The sugar mixture MUST to reach 300°F for it to work, use a candy thermometer check the temperature
***Make sure you have everything ready to go, once your mixture reaches 300 degrees the process goes very quickly!
- Cuisine: candy
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