How to Make Homemade Honeycomb, Recipe and Tips
Honeycomb is easy to make at home, but the reaction is fast, very fast. Expect the hot sugar syrup mixture to expand four or five times or more in a couple of seconds. It can cause severe burns and caution is needed. It is not for children to do unsupervised.You need to be prepared for this reaction with suitable size pots and bowls and take extra care during the expansion phase.
The honeycomb bubbly texture is caused by millions of carbon dioxide bubbles that get trapped and suspended in a hot sugary syrup as it cools. The carbon dioxide is released from baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) when it is mixed into a hot sugar syrup. It is the same chemical process that occurs when dough containing baking powder is baked in the oven. But in that case the reaction is slower and the bubbles are formed in the dough, rising the bread as it is cooked.
The suspended (frozen) bubbles in the honeycomb candy make it light and create its appearance and crunchy characteristics. It is delicious coated with chocolate and can be added to a large variety of desserts.
Basic Honeycomb Recipe
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for oiling the baking tray
- 3oz (80g) butter
- 6oz (170g) caster sugar
- 3oz (80g) golden syrup or light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- Grease a 8 inch (20 cm) square baking tin of moderate depth with the vegetable oil.
- Gently heat the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a large, deep heavy-based pan until all the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Increase the heat and boil the mixture rapidly, with no stirring. (Do this carefully as it will burn badly if it spills on you).
- If the mixture begins to darken on one side, then gently swirl the pan to mix it, but do not stir. Once again be very careful. Keep boiling for about 5 minutes, until the mixture goes an even golden-brown color. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Make sure the bicarbonate of soda is free-flowing (sieve out any lumps). Add the bicarbonate of soda to the hot mixture and quickly stir it for a few seconds. The mixture will expand, slowly at first and then with a rush and may fizz. Take care as the mixture may expand 4 or 5 times the original volume - like a volcano. Always do this in a large deep baking tray to catch any overflow. This is especially important the first few time you make honeycomb until you get used to the amount of expansion and the size of pots to cope with it. Pour the honeycomb mixture into the oiled baking tin and let the mixture cool and set.
- When set cut the honeycomb into pieces. You can stir it into ice creams, use it to decorate various desserts and puddings.
Honeycomb cannot be left in the air for long, as it draws moisture from the air and will become a soggy soft mess. To stop this, store the pieces in plastic bags in airtight containers.
Covering the honeycomb with chocolate helps to keep it crisp.
You can control the thickness of the honeycomb by choosing various pan sizes according to your preference.
Below is another recipe made with honey, and coated with chocolate.
Homemade Chocolate-Coated Honeycomb Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup golden syrup
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda, sifted
- 400 g (14 oz) good quality dark cooking chocolate, broken
Line a 20 cm (9 inch) square metal baking pan with baking paper. Make sure the paper extends about 2 cm ( 1 inch) above the rim all the way around the pan. You should expect the liquid to expand 4-5 fold, so ensure the pan is large and deep enough. Add the olden syrup, sugar and water to a medium size metal saucepan. Heat using a high setting and stir until the sugar dissolves. Boil the mixture slowly for about 5 minutes until it assumes a deep golden brown color. If you have a sugar thermometer the target temperature is 150 degrees C (300 degrees F). Alternatively, test by taking a small amount of hot toffee and plunging it into a glass of ice-cold water. The toffee should set in a few seconds and crack when bent between your fingers. Do this test quickly to prevent the toffee from getting too hot. Take care as the toffee is very hot and will burn the skin. If you overheat the toffee it will taste burnt and become very dark in color. Remove from heat, add the bicarbonate of soda and stir with a large metal spoon. The mixture will expand and rise quickly in the pan to about 4 times its original depth. After a few seconds the expansion, the rise will slow down. Carefully pour the mixture into the lined baking pan. Allow to cool slowly at room temperature (allow about 2 hours).
When cool break the honeycomb mixture into small to medium size pieces (bite-size). Line 2 large shallow oven trays with baking paper. Place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water. Do not allow the simmering water to touch the bowl, only the steam. Stir chocolate occasionally with a wooden spoon until smooth and dissolved. Remove the chocolate pan from heat. Using two forks or a pair of tongs, dip the pieces of honeycomb into the chocolate. Transfer the dipped pieces on prepared tray after allowing excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Continue coating the remaining honeycomb pieces. Allow the chocolate to set, and then store in an airtight container.
© 2012 Dr. John Anderson
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