Cooking with Nyan - Honeycomb


Honeycomb cracked for tasting

Making honeycomb, as far as I'm concerned, is like making toffee, but with a little extra. It starts off with pretty much the same base after all, but after looking at several different recipes for honeycomb or 'hokey pokey' online and not having any golden syrup (it must be important, right?), I added what I thought was approximately 2 tablespoons of maple flavoured syrup I found in my fridge.

Recipe? I don't use one.

The recipe pretty much is carried out in the same way as toffee, waiting for the mixture of sugar, water and golden (or maple, in this case) syrup to completely melt before then sitting the lid back on top and letting it boil gently for as long as it takes for the mixture to go golden brown — around the same colour as the syrup you used.

For some reason, this took a lot longer to make than toffee, but eventually the mixture started to darken as I watched it — without stirring though, since as Alton Brown advises, this causes seed crystals of sugar to form. I kept comparing it to the syrup I had, because this is the kind of thing you do when you don't have a candy thermometre, and probably can't afford one either.

Then it's time to add the soda bicarbonate, and quickly mix it in. I was aware I needed to be quick, since I didn't know when it might start to set. For me, toffee got thick quite quickly the minute it started to get cool. I swirled it until I thought I could see no more white clumps of powder and poured it out into a tray-like-thing that I'd lined with baking paper (what is oil spray?). If it works, it works, and it does work well.

Honeycomb setting in tray covered with baking paper

You're done! Now what?

Most sites I went to said that it takes around an hour to cool down, plus it's a bad idea to place it into the fridge since that will allow moisture at it, which makes it all sticky and unpleasant. Unless in the case where you're sealing the bits of honeycomb in with chocolate, of course, but even in that circumstance, you have to wait that initial hard slog of an hour to allow it to set. After that you can smash it up, or crack it gently like a gentleman (don't be a savage?).

It's also important, given the above, to also not store finished honeycomb in the fridge, but simply find an airtight container.

After cracking the honeycomb, it's harder and denser that mass-produced varieties like Violet Crumble or Crunchie, but regardless tastes fine. When I tasted the honeycomb I'd made for Ruben, it tasted fine, but there was a tingly sensation left on the tongue which I wasn't used to. It certainly doesn't happen when you consume the more mass-produced honeycombs, but I'm reliably told that this is a sign of the 'real deal'.

I get the feeling I should have mixed the bicarb soda in more all the same, but maybe if I make another batch in the future, I'll be able to experiment. In the meantime though, I'm out of castor sugar, so this ends my solo experiments for the time being.