Crunchy bars were one of my favorite “chocolate bars” as a kid. It was the delicious and crunchy honeycomb center, which was covered with milk chocolate that made them so enticing. At that age, I used to wonder how they used to pump the bubbles into the confection.
Honeycomb toffee is also known as cinder, sponge and Yellowman toffee. The toffee itself is one of the easiest sweets (candies) you can make with just three ingredients. Unfortunately, it’s also one that has very little nutritional value.
There are numerous recipes out there, ones with vinegar, ones without; ones with butter and ones with golden syrup, but essentially it’s sugar heated to the hard-crack stage with bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) stirred in.
I prefer to make the toffee with a sugar (candy) thermometer, as it takes any guess work out of the hard-crack stage. This is not essential, but if you’re looking to get serious with candy-making, I’d highly recommend one.
Once set, the toffee can be cut into pieces or broken freeform and transferred to your mouth (fat-free). You can also dip them in chocolate and then transfer them into your mouth (not fat-free). This way you will be creating your own Crunchy bars, so you can get that Friday feeling all over again! I was meaning to do this, only I dropped my chocolate thermometer just beforehand, which created air bubbles in the column, making reading the actual temperature impossible. I did try to temper my dark chocolate, but could see immediately on the first dipping of toffee that it wasn’t tempered. I’ll try again once I’ve fixed my thermometer.
EASY HONEYCOMB TOFFEE
Makes one 20 cm (8 inch) square tin
Adapted from Cream Until Fluffy – Honeycomb, Cinder Toffee…
- 4 tablespoons (¼ c) golden syrup*
- 200 g (1 c) unrefined cane (turbinado) sugar
- 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda (baking powder)
* If you don’t live in the UK, golden syrup can be found in British import stores. Do not accept any other substitute.
1. Set one 20 cm (8 inch) silicone “tin” aside. Alternatively, line one 20 cm (8 inch) tin with parchment paper.
2. In a medium-sized deep saucepan, place golden syrup.
3. Add sugar and stir to combine as best you can.
4. Heat over low-medium heat until the sugar melts. Do not stir, simply swirl if needed.
5. Once the mixture has no crystals of sugar left, heat the syrup to 150°C (300°F), the hard-crack stage. Immediately remove from heat**.
6. Dump bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) into the hot syrup and stir vigorously, but carefully with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is just incorporated. Do not over-beat as this will remove the wonderful bubbles in the toffee. Be careful, the volume can increase by up to three times.
7. Pour into prepared tin, but do not disturb the surface of the toffee. Let cool at room temperature until hard, or if you’re impatient like me, bung it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. The toffee will sink as it cools.
8. Pop out the toffee onto a chopping board, and either splinter or chop into pieces before dipping in chocolate or devouring as is. Enjoy!
** This really means remove from the heat. I burnt my first batch by simply turning the heat off and leaving it on the hob (stove).