Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chocolate-Covered Honeycomb Candy

[Updated with new photos]
Newsflash: I'm a foreigner. Don't deport me just yet - I'm bringing you candy! Here in part 2 of candy week at Baking and Mistaking, and I'm recreating one of my favorite childhood candy bars. Technically this is called honeycomb candy. It is sold in England as a "Crunchie" bar, and in Australia as "Violet Crumble" (don't ask me why). But when I moved to the US I realized that no such chocolate bar existed here. Since then I've had to rely on visitors and traveling family members to get my crunchie fix - but no more!

What's great about this candy (aside from it's amazing taste) is that it's made out of all things you most likely already own. It's what you do with them that makes this out of this world. Cooking down sugar, honey and corn syrup (consult your dentist before consuming), then removing from the heat to dump in baking soda, makes the mixture swell and foam up to four times its size, creating the little air bubbles and aeration that are so iconic to the candy.
It's crucial when your candy is cooking to not stir or touch it. You just have to let it cook and bubble away until it becomes a deep golden brown - a touch darker than the last picture above. 
Once you get there, and you whisk in the baking soda, just pour it on to a baking sheet to cool. Mine wasn't really even, but I left it anyway. If you try and smooth it out more you'll lose some of the aeration.
Once it's cool, you just smash it into pieces for covering. You can try and cut it into more equal shapes, but, well, I doubt you'll succeed. It's just not meant to be. If shapes are important to you, you'd have to use some sort of mold - but I think it would be very difficult to move that quickly.
It is beyond sweet, beyond delicious, and after taking a chocolate bath, perfectly gift-able and store-able. Note: if you don't temper your chocolate, after about 3 days white streaks and dots may appear (still edible) though). If you think you will eat it all up by then, then never mind. 


Tip of the Day:When you're lining a baking pan or sheet with parchment paper, it often helps to spray the empty pan first, to help the parchment stick down in the pan.


Recipe:  
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon baking soda
~24 ounces milk or semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. 
Place the honey, corn syrup, sugar and water in a very large saucepan (I used 5.5 quarts). Whisk to combine. 
Heat the mixture over medium heat, until golden brown and bubbling, and at 300 F on a candy thermometer. Do NOT stir while the mixture is cooking. Keep a careful eye on it - the timing will vary, but it should take in the 10 minute range. Remove from the heat and dump in the baking soda. Begin to whisk, and watch the mixture foam up to quadruple the size. Quickly pour it out onto the baking sheet. 
Let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes until rock hard. Break up into chunks. 
Melt the chocolate and oil together in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Dip the pieces in the chocolate, scraping off any extra (but making sure all sides are covered). Let dry on parchment paper.

37 comments:

  1. Sounds yummy!!!! I will give it a try after the holidays!

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  2. We have Violet Crumbles in one of our large drugs stores here in Seattle. I used to love them as a kid!

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  3. This is one of my most favorite candies. Thank you so much for posting. I will add this to my Christmas candy making for 2011.

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  4. Connie - don't wait that long! Trust me :)

    Amy

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  5. I've always been intrigued with this candy. I should just make it and find out for myself why everybody's crazy for it :o)

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  6. any substitute for corn syrup? ... not sure we have that in NZ

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    1. There are a few different ways you can make it without corn syrup.

      First way
      1. 1/2 cup honey
      2. 2 cup sugar
      3. 1 cup LIGHT brown sugar
      4. 5 tbl spoon water
      5. 1-2 tbl spoon baking soda depending on how airy you want it.
      Cook down first 4 ingredients as the blog explains, apx 10-12 min on med-high heat. Immediately add baking soda gently stir, set to dry, break, dip, eat, enjoy.

      Second way:
      3 cups LIGHT brown sugar
      1/2 cup honey
      5 tbl spoon water
      1-2 tbl baking soda


      Same prep as above.

      I know you posted years ago, but just in case :)

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    2. And years later again, someone comes along, glad of your response!

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  7. Hi Sam -

    If this were any other application, I would say use honey, but I'm not sure if it would work here. You could also try making your own: http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-corn-syrup-substitute-simple-syrup-74080

    If you're willing to fail at least once, those are two suggestions! Good luck!

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  8. COST PLUS WORLD MARKET CARRIES VIOLET CRUMBLE!

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  9. Actually, CRUNCHIE and VIOLET CRUMBLE are both sold in australia and they're not the same thing at all. Both honeycomb covered in chocolate, but two different kinds of honeycomb. I've lived here my whole life and grew up with both of them :)

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  10. Thanks for the info! I've only ever had Crunchie - I guess I thought honeycomb candy is honeycomb candy. Which is this recipe closer to then?
    -Amy

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  11. I love Cruchies! My mom is from Scotland and we live in Texas but we used to live in Australia where they are also Crunchies! I love LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THESE! THANK YOU! I CANNOT WAIT TO MAKE THESE (:

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  12. Sprouts carries this in BULK!!!

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    1. True, as does Whole Foods and some other places, but it'll set you back a pretty exorbitant amount for just a few pieces... making it yourself is actually surprisingly easy and SO much cheaper!

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    2. Actually it isn't any cheaper to make it yourself than to buy it at sprouts! It's $5.99 a pound, which isn't bad at all, seeing as how a pound turns out to be quite a bit of candy! Considering the cost of the ingredients to make it yourself; small bag of sugar $5, bottle of corn syrup $5+, honey $4, oil $3, chocolate chips $5, totaling to $22 oh not to mention the cooking materials parchment paper and baking spray add at least another $5 to the total ... Granted, you can make several one pound batches with said ingredients, but are you really going to make and eat several pounds of this in a short amount of time? I mean it takes my family of 4 an entire 2 weeks to kill a pound of this awesome stuff! And it's a family favorite so I don't really mind spending a whopping $12 a month to always have some around!
      Even making it in bulk only really evens it out, monetarily. But admittedly, it is very fun to make and eat of course. And it ads a personal touch as a homemade gift, so I guess there's the plus side to it.
      But the point is, No it's not any cheaper to make than it is to buy!

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  13. TO BAKING AND MISTAKING!!! You did not mention in your recipe that it absolutely needs to be a light corn syrup used for this recipe!! A lot of people don't know the difference between light and dark corn syrup. A dark corn syrup will ruin this candy and make it taste slightly bitter and molasses like. Very gross tasting. It is necessary to use a light corn syrup to get the appropriate flavor of candy! I'm a gourmet candy chef and can make just about anything. Just thought you might like to provide your readers with the proper info.

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    1. Thank you gourmet candy chef for your proper information. - Amy

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    2. it's certainly a wonderful thing for "anonymous" to let us all know that they are a (gourmet candy chef), we can all be suitably impressed... I hear the standing ovation right now.... They are a (chef) and yet they use anonymous... hmmm, me thinks it's all about ego.... Amy, you do a wonderful service, and both my husband and I like you site. He uses it more than I do, and so does my mom.. I don't recall anyone using a site called ANONYMOUS though.... it's all good...

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    3. Well I used light corn syrup and it turned out bitter. Explain? Lol. I'm a noob cook.

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    4. I'm guessing it was burned. It's very easy to burn sugar and the result is very bitter indeed.

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  14. " But when I moved to the US I realized that no such chocolate bar existed here."

    A candy shop in my hometown is known for it's Sponge candy...which sounds similar to this. Since moving away, it's been one of the things I miss.

    http://www.romolochocolates.com/Sponge_Candy

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    1. I almost choked on my Romolo Easter bunny, when I read this!!! I know your "hometown"!!! LOL
      I kept thinking, as I read the comments...Who doesn't know about Sponge Candy?!! But, nobody makes it like Romolo makes it!!! 😊

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  15. I first had this candy in Las Vegas in the late 1980's & then again when we went a 2nd & 3rd time in the 1990's. Las Vegas candy shops & the gift shops in most of the hotels do carry it but it is hard to find here in Texas. We found some thru a catalog but they will only ship it in the winter :( ...Can't wait to try this recipe!... All these years & I never once thought about looking for a recipe. I just thought it would be too complicated to make but I will definitely give it a try! Thanks! ~Tracy~

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  16. I have called this fairy food all of my life. It is sold that way at a candy shop called Quality Candy. Thanks for the recipe. It is often difficult to buy during times of high humidity, summer etc. because the sponge can get flat. Love it!

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  17. Thank you for this recipe. I grew up in Buffalo,NY where this was called sponge candy. Can't wait to make it

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  18. This reminds me of what we've always called Sea Foam. We used to be able to get it locally but I haven't seen it in years - I'll be trying this soon!!!

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  19. Am I doing something wrong? I'm about to make my 3rd batch because - although it looks all so lovely and colourful, air-rated and all - it doesn't become solid. I tried the recipe without corn syrup. I previously tried sesame seed praelins and those too did not set. What am I doing wrong? Please help!!!

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    1. Don't know about the recipe, but I can tell you something you got wrong - it's 'aerated', not 'air-rated', that would mean 'rated by air'...

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    2. You need to use corn syrup or sugar water and cook it to hard ball stage or 300F on candy thermometer. Otherwise it won't set.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. we call this sponge toffee. SUed to make it all the time as a kid :)

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  21. I followed the recipe but mine tuned out dark orange and very disgusting tasting, super sour. Any tips for the future??

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  22. Hi. I would love to make this candy.
    My concern is if the inside part will still remain hard like
    a brittle or does it soften a bit after chocolate sits on it awhile?
    Please someone, advise
    Thank you

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  23. I think this like something we have here called "Seafoam Candy",a crunchy airy candy. I can't wait to try this recipe.

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  24. This is Sponge Candy. Very popular and common around Buffalo, NY one of the local companies that makes and ships multiple flavors and types is Watsons Chocolate and their candy is awesome, enjoy (https://watsonschocolates.com/)

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