Friday, 11 May 2012

Honeycomb

Back in February last year, I attempted making honey comb for the first time. It turned out stretchy to the point where I was able to fold it. I wasn't entirely sure why this had happened, but wondered if it was to do with the amount of whisking I had done. When I blogged about it the first time round, I said I would be giving it another go at some point. 
Last week I finally got around to attempting it again. We had been invited round to dinner at our friends' house, and honeycomb seemed like the perfect little gift to take with us. All seemed to have gone smoothly, but when I came to cutting it up, it wouldn't cut. It was sticky and stretchy and just not right. So I tried again. It is incredibly quick to make, so making a second batch was very straightforward. I followed Nigella's method again, and hoped for a better outcome. I'm pleased to say that it worked! I really couldn't tell you what I did differently, just that I have learned that honey comb is a fickle little lady. I'd like to understand the science behind it a bit more so that I could give a better explanation, other than describing the sweet stuff as fickle, but for now, that will do.
Honeycomb / hokey pokey
ingredients
60g / 4 tbsp golden syrup
100g caster sugar
1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda


1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper / greased baking paper
2. In a cold saucepan, combine the sugar and syrup.
3. Place pan over a medium heat and do not stir.
4. When the sugar and syrup have turned a golden colour and are bubbling, remove from the heat and immediately add the bi-carb of soda, whisking by hand.
5. Pour onto prepared tray and leave to cool.
6. Snap into bitesize pieces and package for a present, or eat it and try not to think about how much sugar you are consuming.

5 comments:

  1. "I'd like to understand the science behind it a bit more"... well I haven't really done much with sugar abefore but this is what I understand of it.
    The texture depends on the amount of water left in the sugar, this is very hard to tell on colour alone as this method suggests. A more accurate method is to use the temperature of the syrup. As you boil the syrup water evaporates and increases the sugar concentration. This raises the boiling point of the syrup and so the temperature will rise as the water content goes down.

    110–111°C -> 80% sugar -> thread (syrup)
    112–115°C -> 85% sugar -> soft ball (fudge)
    118–120°C -> 87% sugar -> firm ball (caramel candy)
    121–130°C -> 92% sugar -> hard ball (nougat)
    132–143°C -> 95% sugar -> soft crack (salt water taffy)
    146–154°C -> 99% sugar -> hard crack (toffee)
    160°C -> 100% sugar -> clear liquid
    170°C -> 100% sugar -> brown liquid (caramel)
    177°C -> 100% sugar -> burnt sugar

    For honeycomb I guess you want the hard crack stage at 146-154°C. Ideally you should use a sugar thermometer but there is a method where you drop a small amount of the syrup into cold water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Yh7nup8qiE

    Ben B

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    1. Ben, you are brilliant. Thank you! You have taught me something new : )
      I suppose what I've made before is a bit like taffy. Unfortunately I don't own a sugar thermometer, so until I do, I'll just have to cope with the unpredictability and versitility of hot sugar!

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    3. Or use the cold water method?

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