What is Sponge Candy?
This curious candy goes by a lot of different names depending on where you live. If you live in the East Coast you might call it Sponge Candy, but if you're from the West Coast it's often known as Sea Foam Candy. In Canada, they call it Sponge Toffee, in the U.K. it's known as Cinder Toffee or Honeycomb and in New Zealand they call it Hokey Pokey.
The texture of this toffee is reminiscent of a sea sponge, with brittle golden bubbles. The four main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup (golden syrup/maple syrup are sometimes used), baking soda, and vinegar.
What makes it special?
It's unlike any other toffee/candy because of its unique bubbly texture.
Can I buy it?
Sponge Candy is available to buy as candy bars. In the U.K. it's covered in chocolate and called a 'Crunchie', and in Australia it's called a 'Violet Crumble'. Both are available on Amazon or World Market. Trader Joe's have their own chocolate covered version for sale. You can also buy this homemade candy in smaller, local candy stores -- they usually stock it around the Christmas holidays.
Can I make it at home?
Yes! This candy is a fun little science-y thing to make in the kitchen. The baking soda and the vinegar react to form carbon dioxide which gets trapped in the toffee and makes that bubbly, sponge-like structure as it hardens. You will need a candy thermometer to make this toffee. It's quick to put together, and it's fun to watch the golden mixture bubble up in the saucepan -- be sure to use a large saucepan as this mixture really expands as the bubbles form. Once you've made your candy, you can dip it chocolate, add it to vanilla ice-cream, or just eat it on its own.
VIDEO: How to Make Honeycomb Toffee
"This eye-catching confection is a proven crowd pleaser," says Chef John. "Thousands of bubbles, trapped in the cooling sugar syrup, give this the most interesting melt-in-your-mouth texture. As long as you're very careful and heat the syrup up to the correct temp, there's not a lot that can go wrong." See how it's done:
Here are a few more recipes to try.
Old-fashioned, light and sugary candy is dipped in chocolate for the ultimate treat.
"Sugar and dark corn syrup are cooked with vinegar and tempered with baking soda to make a crunchy candy that gets covered in a chocolate coating," says Debbie.
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