Honeycomb candy with crushed caramel corn, toasted pecans and almond shards – oh. me. gee. It’s a must-make.
I know it’s candy and some of you may put this off because you’re thinking hot sugar and candy thermometer – scary. It’s really not. If you can make homemade caramel, you can make homemade honeycomb candy. Think of it as caramel turned into a light and airy, solid-filled mass with honeycomb-like air pockets.
Here are just a few key tips for success:
- Mise en place: Have everything in place and ready to go. Candy making doesn’t reward those who measure as they go. Temperature is important, it moves swiftly, so you need to as well by having everything in place and in reach.
- Temperature: Make sure you have an accurate candy thermometer or instant read thermometer. To test its accuracy, boil water for 10 minutes. If the thermometer reads 212F, then it is accurate (tip should not touch bottom of pan).
- Baking soda: Make sure the baking soda you are using is active. It’s the necessary component to starting the chemical reaction that turns the caramel syrup into an airy, pocket-filled honeycomb. One more note on the baking soda, measure and SIFT it! Sifting is not an option here. The baking soda reacts immediately upon contact so you don’t have time to work through large chunks, nor do you want to worry about that as you whisk through the bubbling volcanic reaction.
- Humidity or any moisture is a killer with this recipe. It will wilt your crisp honeycomb into a sticky mess. Be sure to store the finished honeycomb in an airtight container. **Note: The caramel corn will shorten the shelf of life of this particular honeycomb variation, because it will start to absorb the moisture from the sticky caramel on the popcorn. But here’s a nifty trick to offset the moisture of the caramel corn, when you store this, add a silica packet to the container. Silica packets are those little tiny rectangle or square you find in some foods like freeze-dried (not dried) fruit, seaweed and more to help absorb moisture. I go through a lot of freeze dried fruit, so I save them for recipes like this and meringues–basically anything where moisture will zap the crisp factor out. (To see what moisture does to honeycomb, take a look at the first photo and the 3rd and 4th photo down you can see the “honeycombed” edge looks soft almost melt-y like. That’s because I shot this in my garage where it was extremely humid on that day.
- 3/4 cup caramel popcorn, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking soda, sifted
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Very lightly cover non-stick spray. Sprinkle down caramel popcorn, pecans and almonds. Set aside
Stir together honey and water in liquid measuring cup (make sure it has a spout for easy pouring). Place sugar in a tall-medium saucepan. Gently pour honey and water mixture over sugar. The sugar will absorb the liquid. Do not stir, this will minimize any sugar granules from sticking to the side of the pan and creating crystals. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Turn heat on medium-high. Cook without stirring, (occasionally swirling pan and brushing down side with a wet pastry brush if needed) until candy thermometer reaches 300F. Remove from heat, add baking soda (mixture will bubble and foam wildly), working quickly whisk until just combined, about 1 full turn. Gently pour candy over prepared baking sheet without spreading. Set aside to cool, about 20 minutes. Cut into desired size.
Store honeycomb in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe heavily adapted from Donna Hay