Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sweet as honeycomb

Your dentist may despise it and your dietician loathe it, but honeycomb is a childish delight all the more delicious for it’s reputation. Also known as hokey pokey, cinder toffee or puff candy, the crunchy moreish shards make the perfect dinner party gift as no one can resist its old-fashioned charm.

Photographs by Angie Lazaro Photography

Homemade honeycomb
Makes 20 pieces

300g castor sugar
150g golden syrup
pinch cream of tartar
1t white wine vinegar
1 ½ t bicarbonate of soda

Place the sugar, syrup, cream of tartar and vinegar into a saucepan. Add 5T water and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Bring mixture to the boil.

Cook until the syrup turns amber-coloured and reaches hard-crack stage or 150°C on a sugar thermometer*. Remove the pan from the heat.

Working quickly, add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk to combine. The mixture will foam up. Pour into the prepared tin and leave to cool. Turn honeycomb out and break into chunks. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

TIP: be sure to use fresh bicarbonate of soda and don’t overmix the toffee once it’s added

Entertaining tip: dip shards of the honeycomb into white and dark chocolate, pile into a beautifully wrapped box and present it to guests to take home or as a hostess gift. 


Boil a sugar syrup to the right stage
The best utensil for testing sugar syrup is a sugar thermometer but if you don’t have one, you can test it by dropping a small quantity into cold water and feeling the consistency:

Soft ball stage: 116 - 125°C – the syrup will form a soft, flat ball.

Hard ball stage: 126 - 135°C When a little syrup is dropped into ice water the ball that forms does not collapse as it is harder.

Hard crack stage: 146 - 155°C The ball forms is flattened between the fingers but is hard, brittle, breaks easily and not sticky. 

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