How to Make Honeycomb

It’s called lots of things – honeycomb, hokey-pokey, sponge candy – whatever you call it it’s the stuff that’s inside a Crunchie, and I often get requests for this recipe.  Very quick and easy to make and a perfect bonfire night treat.

Ingredients:

375g caster sugar

225g golden syrup

125ml water

15g bicarbonate of soda

A cardboard box is the ideal thing for using to set the honeycomb in – either a shoe box or a cereal box is just right.  So why not a tin?  Well, because the mixture is very hot when it goes in it heats up the metal tin and it carries on cooking the sugar, to make the best honeycomb you need it to start to cool straight away so a cardboard box it is.  Set it onto a wooden chopping board so that you can move it around easily without risk of burning yourself.

If using a cereal box, cut off one of the large sides and then tape together the corners to make sure it holds together.

Line it with a double layer of non-stick baking paper, giving a good overhang along the long edges – make sure it’s a good siliconised baking paper and not a greaseproof paper otherwise it will never come away from the honeycomb.  (I buy Tesco’s baking paper)

Find yourself a large-ish pan and add to it the caster sugar, syrup and water.

Sift the bicarbonate of soda into a small bowl to get rid of any lumps and set it to one side so it’s ready when you need it.

You’ll also need a whisk and a sugar thermometer if you have one.

Now heat the pan over a gentle heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves fully, you’ll know when it’s dissolved as you won’t be able to feel it in the bottom of the pan with the spatula/spoon.

Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil.  Once boiling take the spoon or spatula out – no more stirring, just let it do it’s stuff!

It will rise up in the pan as it boils but will soon drop back down so no panic.

Now it needs to boil until the temperature reaches 145c.  It takes a fair while to edge up that far – about 10 minutes really boiling.  Keep an eye on your sugar thermometer, but as always please be careful hot sugar and skin is not a good combination.  If you don’t have a sugar thermometer set a timer for 10 mins once the mixture is on a good boil.

After 5 mins boiling you can see it getting darker and the bubbles that burst on the top are getting bigger.

After ten minutes, it’s darker still and should be at the right temperature.

You’ll need to work quickly now, take it off the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda and give it a quick whisk together – you just want to make sure it’s combined so as quick as you can!  It will start to foam up rapidly.

Pour the whole lot into your prepared box but don’t scrape the sides with a spatula or touch the top of the honeycomb in the box, that starts popping the bubbles so leave it be.  It will carry on foaming and rising up in the box.

Now an important bit – fill the empty pan with hot water in the sink.  If the remnants of the honeycomb cool in the pan  they’ll be welded there and you will end up having to chisel them off!

Put the honeycomb safely out of the way to cool and set.  It will shrink back down a little on cooling.

It takes 1-2 hours to cool and set fully then lift the paper out of the box and peel away from the edges.

Use a sharp knife to break it up into chunks – it shatters any which way it wants so if you want a more uniform look cut it with a serrated knife in a sawing motion.

Honeycomb is best eaten on the day it’s made.  It absorbs moisture from the air on storing and becomes sticky and almost starts to melt, if you are making it a day in advance keep it in an airtight container and make sure not to put it in the fridge.

You can of course dip it into melted chocolate if you’re serving it the same day, any longer and it will have to be completely coated in chocolate to stop the air from getting to it.

How to Make Honeycomb

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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40 Responses to How to Make Honeycomb

  1. Tricia F says:

    Wow, Thanks for that. I love crunchies and often wondered how to make the insides. Will definitely be trying this one.

  2. Kezia says:

    Great tutorial, thank you Ruth! I’ve wanted to try and make honeycomb for ages!

  3. Becca says:

    Yum looks delicious, will definitely be giving that a go this bonfire night! :-)

  4. Dominic says:

    cinder toffee down our way… and I was eating some last night thinking ‘ I wonder how you make this’ and low and behold you come to my rescue again!… fabulous stuff x

  5. This is great I have never made honeycomb.

  6. Zara Royle says:

    Tried to make honeycomb using this recipe but it didn’t set even after a couple of hours in the fridge. What am I doing wrong? Xx

    • Hi Zara, it shouldn’t go in the fridge at all as it pulls in moisture and ends up a sticky mess. I suspect the problem was that the sugar wasn’t hot enough initially though, it needs to get to a high temp of 145 to enable that set. Hope you give it another go Xx

  7. Jacqui McKenzie says:

    hi there, the picture of the termometer, is this a dual one used for meat as well? just want to check as bought one that looks the same as yours this week & dont want to break it first time I use it:-) thanks

  8. Denise Burnett says:

    Have tried this with different recipes and i was at the point of giving up. Then the Pink Whisk comes along and saves the day! Just made it and, not so, patiently waiting for it to set!
    Thanks Rutb, i always love your easy to follow steps. Looking forward to your next book!
    Denise xx

  9. Freya says:

    Just a tip! if you don’t get it off when it’s hot and it does solidify on the pan, just boil the kettle and pour boiling water on it and it dissolves easily :)

  10. Gerryberry says:

    just when i gave up on this…. nobody’s recipe worked
    will try this

  11. Gerryberry says:

    Is 225g Golden syrup same as 225ml of golden syrup? Want to top my choc cake for my dad’s birthday with this!

  12. Gerryberry says:

    thanks a lot Ruth
    xxx

  13. Gerryberry says:

    One more thing,do you think it would be a bad idea to top a chocolate cake with ganache because the honeycomb absorbs moisture? Thanks in advance, your replies are always so prompt. xxxx

  14. Gerryberry says:

    You mean mix the honeycomb into ganache and pour it over? Sorry for being such a nuisance, sat is my dad’s birthday and wanted to pep up your chocolate cake!!!

  15. dom says:

    Hi Ruth, love the site. Was just wondering, if my thermometer says 93 in boiling water how much should I compensate that with in the honeycomb? Thanks

  16. Maria says:

    I have made honeycomb in the past. I usually boil only until it just starts to change colour otherwise it can become quite bitter.

  17. Shaun says:

    Mine came out bitter :(

  18. Emily says:

    Wouldnt a tin be better, because metal is more conducting, so loses heat better than cardboard, which is far more insulating.

  19. mags says:

    recipe that works and tastes great thank you x

  20. Pingback: Real Homemade Honeycomb | thelittleloaf

  21. cedric says:

    I’m going to make it for the first time hehe,just want to know what els can I use if I don’t have baking paper?

  22. Olamide says:

    Love Love Love your website Ruth!!!You inspire me!!!x

  23. Abi Hortin says:

    Tried nigella’s hokey pokey recipe before without success – always tasted salty (too much bicarbonate) and never fluffed up much, was always dense toffee. Just tried this and the cardboard box is overflowing there’s so many bubbles – fantastic!! Waiting for it to set now, fingers crossed! It looks much better than my previous attempts, excited to try it in a few hours time :-)

  24. Scott says:

    I found that 10 minutes was waaayyy too long mine hadn’t even been boiling for that and it was already burnt
    Wasted my sugar and golden syrup

  25. I made batches of this today and it is delicious!! Thank you! I’m going to coat them all in chocolate and give them as gifts at Christmas!

  26. Gill says:

    Like the most recent poster said, mine burnt after only 6 mins of boiling! Gutted.
    Will try again tho

  27. Pingback: Toast Ice Cream | Smoke and Thyme

  28. Pingback: Real Homemade Honeycomb | Little Loaf

  29. Saoirse says:

    The honeycomb is delicious!! But I think it should be stressed that it really DOES swell up!! And she isn’t joking when she says by have You chisel it off, but it was beautiful thank you

  30. This recipe is superb. One problem is that the first batch was so delicious that we ate it in a hour. I’ll be doubling ingredients next time. Thanks Ruth.

  31. Narda says:

    Hi Ruth!

    I’m going to try this recipe, looks wonderful!
    One question: have you ever tried to add any flavourings to the honeycomb? For example, I have some mint-essence and am wondering whether I could put that in the mixture right before I add the bicarb of soda. Would that intervene with the chemical reaction? Or would the sugar be too hot for the essence?
    Hope you have any ideas on this!

    Thanks!

  32. Pingback: Real Homemade Honeycomb | thelittleloaf

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