Honeycomb is one of the simplest candies to make, but the process moves very quickly; the key is to have all your ingredients and tools ready. In this recipe, the cayenne adds a sneaky heat that doesn’t show up until the second or third bite, while the chocolate acts as a barrier to moisture and keeps the candy fresher longer. Try to find Lyle’s Golden Syrup, a British product similar to corn syrup but made from cane sugar, with a deliciously toasty aspect.
Used with permission from our friend Samantha Seneviratne’s book: The New Sugar & Spice
Butter, for the pan
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup mild honey or Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you’d like it
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups chopped bittersweet
chocolate (60% to 70% cacao)
Butter an 8-inch square pan and line it with aluminum foil with a 1-inch overhang on two sides. Butter the foil and any exposed sides of the pan. Grab a small whisk, a heat-safe spatula, a small plate, and an oven mitt, and set them by the stove. In a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar, honey, vinegar, cayenne, salt, and water. The mixture will swell up to about four times the volume in the next step, so make sure the pot is big enough.
In a small bowl, set aside the baking soda.
Heat the sugar mixture over medium-high heat to 300°F without stirring. In order to get an accurate reading, make sure the bulb of the candy thermometer is submerged in the sugar mixture. You may have to hold the pot tipped to the side while the sugar cooks. Use the oven mitt to protect your hand and arm from steam while you hold the pot. Remove the pot from the heat, quickly remove the thermometer and place it on the plate, and immediately whisk in the baking soda. Take care to disperse the baking soda evenly, but don’t mix for longer than a second or two or you’ll deflate the bubbles.
Quickly scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. (Don’t touch it once it goes in the pan or, again, you’ll disturb the bubbles.) The mixture will swell up and then deflate. Let it stand until completely cool and hard, about 30 minutes.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Alternatively, you could melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 15-second bursts, stirring between each one.
Lift the candy from the pan and pull off the foil. Break the candy into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Transfer the chocolate to a deep, narrow dish, like a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Using a fork to lift the candy, dip each piece into the chocolate and toss it to cover it completely. Pick the coated candy up and tap it on the edge of the dish to knock off any excess chocolate. Set the candy on the prepared baking sheets and repeat with the remaining pieces.
Pop the sheets in the fridge for a few minutes to set the chocolate. Store the candy in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week (if it’s not too hot) or in the fridge for up to a month.