Honeycomb is not something that I thought could be homemade. I always thought that it was only something that was commercially available and if at all it could be made at home, you would need some sort of industrial production line or at the very least a huge machine. Wrong!
Honeycomb is known by a variety of names throughout the world. In Australia, South Africa and most of Britain, it is known simply as Honeycomb although some Brits refer to it as Honeycomb toffee. The Kiwis refer to is as Hokey Pokey while I am informed that it is not hugely popular in the USA but is more commonly known as Sponge Toffee.
For those of you that have no idea what Honeycomb is, think of that golden crunchie stuff that you find inside Crunchie bars or Violet Crumble bars.
So anyway, while vegetating in front of the Tele one evening with the kids, I watched as Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris from MasterChef Australia gave a MasterClass on how to make some dessert that had, you guessed it, Honeycomb in it!
The kids and I watched spell bound as the honeycomb came to life and the kids then turned to look at me and asked me what honeycomb was and how it tasted. I reminded them that they had eaten it in a chocolate bar before - Crunchie and Violet Crumble.
The next question out of their mouths was: "Dads, Can you make it?"
So a few days later, what did I do? I made the honeycomb! The recipe from MasterClass actually uses liquid glucose but I chose to use honey instead. I also followed my own method of making a caramel and just added in the honey and then the sodium bicarb. The Sodium Bicarbonate actually aerates the caramel and that is what produces the honeycomb texture.
7 Tbs Sugar
2 Tbs Water
2 Tbs Honey or Liquid Glucose
1 tsp Sodium Bicarbonate
Line a small baking pan or bowl with non-stick baking paper. In a heavy saucepan, heat sugar and water till it dissolves. Add in the honey and bring to the boil till edges start to turn a little golden/darker at the edges. (This may be difficult to see if using honey) Quickly add in the sodium bicarb and whisk. Mixture will froth up. Pour into the paper lined bowl/pan. Mixture will continue to cook and rise. Let sit for about 40 minutes till honeycomb is cool and hard. Break into pieces and serve with ice cream or dessert or just eat it!
The size of the pan is dependent on how thick you want your honeycomb. If you want it really thick, use a deep bowl. If you want it thin, then use a swiss roll pan or flatter bowl.
Be really careful when you are working with caramel as the temperatures get really hot. And I mean really, really hot! I've been making caramel for years now and I still take extra precaution.
So how did the honeycomb turn out? I was amazed! Really, really amazed! It was really crunchy, really airy, really tasty. But sweet. Then again, that's what honeycomb is supposed to be - sweeeeet. (spelling intended!)
The kids enjoyed it and it went really good with ice cream. I made the mistake of not putting the honeycomb away in an air tight container or in the fridge and found that after a few short hours, it began to weep rather badly. I guess the humidity in Malaysia doesn't help either!
So! I can now add honeycomb to my list of 'achievements' and I can think of a variety of desserts that would go well with honeycomb.
I also took the opportunity to tell my kids that many people claim to be good cooks. However, the 'true test' of a good cook is whether they can make their own Hot Fudge/Chocolate Sauce and their own Honeycomb!
And I'm only half joking about the 'true test'...