Confectionery honeycomb is known by many names around the world, including hokey-pokey or cinder toffee. It’s made by stirring baking soda into a mixture of hot, browned sugar (caramel) melted with a lesser amount of honey, golden syrup or corn syrup. This results in a surprisingly big harvest of light foam that sets into a finely grained golden mass.
Such honeycomb is the centre of the Crunchie bar and it’s common to coat home-made chunks of it in dark chocolate. Crushed honeycomb is especially popular as golden nuggets, buried in vanilla ice cream - Hokey-Pokey Ice cream.
Can be made whenever you have the ingredients and a source of heat.
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It’s all good unless the melted sugar is cooked for too long, when it will burn and the bitterness detracts from the acid-sweet pleasures expected. If you undercook it, it will not set properly.
Use it as soon as you can. Confectionery honeycomb slowly absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, becoming limp and untrue to itself.
The most important thing to get right is the degree of caramellisation; the ideal temperature is hard ball stage, 250-265F/121-130C. Best results are obtained with white sugar rather than brown sugar, so you can more easily judge the colour if you don’t have a sugar thermometer. When you turn out the hot foam, work fast and it’s better to keep it piled high and thick.
When used in ice cream, in whipped cream for sundaes or as a cake filling/topping, in hot or cold custard or set in mousses and jellies, the honeycomb must not be broken up too small for it dissolves easily and you’ll lose the fun of the contrasting grainy texture and unique flavour.