Honeycomb (aka Hokey Pokey) for Dummies

Hello, everyone! How has Christmas been for you guys? You all had a merry and nommy one, I hope. Mine was filled with good cheer and many noms. Many, many noms. Thanks to a newly installed oven and a recently gifted cupcake maker, I recently discovered the joys of baking. For the holidays, my house (and families’ and friends’ houses) was filled with cakes, cupcakes and all kinds of gluten-filled baked sweets, but more on that later.

My version of *HALF* a Swiss Chocolate Cake with honeycomb

For now, I want to share a foolproof way to make honeycomb or hokey pokey or crumble, whatever name you choose to call it. It’s easy! What’s a honeycomb, you ask? Well, have you had Nestle’s Violet Crumble? Yes? There you go, honeycomb is exactly that! No? For locals, have you tried Red Ribbon’s Coffee Crumble? Great! Honeycomb, which also goes by the name hokey pokey or toffee crumble, is that crunchy, yellow, toffee-like, wafer thing that makes the sweets I named earlier melt-in-your mouth delicious, and addictive.

What you’ll need: (please read all the way down to the Notes for noobs section before starting)

  • 4 tbsp corn syrup
  • a whisk or a fork
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • a big, heavy-bottomed saucepan
  • 1 packed tsp baking soda
  • a greased, heat-proof container
  • What to do:

    • Pour in the sugar and the corn syrup in the saucepan, stir until all the sugar is wet.
    • Place saucepan over medium heat. Stir just until most of the sugar grains have dissolved, before the mixture starts simmering. Stop stirring and let the mixture boil on its own.
    • As soon as the bubbling liquid mixture changes to a slightly yellowish syrup (about 3-5 minutes), remove from heat and quickly whisk in the baking soda. The mixture will fizzle and double (to triple) in volume so handle it carefully.
    • Pour the delicious smelling liquid honeycomb into your prepared container and wait for 10-15 minutes for it to set.
    • As soon as it has set, break into small pieces as desired. Tada! Instant honeycomb.
    Drooling While waiting for the honeycomb to set

    Notes for noobs:

    • IMPORTANT: Stop stirring when the mixture begins to boil.
    • Measure your baking soda before you start cooking the sugar mixture, you’ll need to be able to quickly pour it in later.
    • Be very careful in handling the boiling mixture, it’s way hotter than boiling water and you can get serious burns if you spill it on you.
    • If using a fork, tilt the saucepan a little to the side before adding the baking soda, then whisk the mixture as you would an egg. Remember that the mixture will quickly multiply as soon as you add the baking soda. It should only take a few seconds, you have to pour the mixture into the container before the sugar sets.
    • Most suggest to use a silicone sheet for easy handling, I didn’t have one so I used a small cake pan, brushed lightly with butter. It worked well enough.
    • Some recipes say to measure the temperature, but I find that using the change in color as a gauge works just as well. As soon as the mixture turns into a light transparent yellow, it’s time to take it off the heat.
    • For cleanup, I had a tub of room temperature water ready to submerge the slightly cooled down used saucepan. Working with sugars, I find that it’s easiest to clean up utensils quickly, before the sugar hardens and sticks almost permanently (but that’s just me).

    Following all those tips, your honeycomb should be ready within a few minutes. It is surprisingly easy to make. I was able to make a good batch just on my second attempt (the first only failed because I used substitutes).

    Honeycomb after breaking it into bite-sized pieces. OMNOM

    After this, I was ready to make my first cake. I had some residual holiday free time yesterday and since I’ve been itching to use my new cake pans, I decided to hack my favorite cake from Becky’s Kitchen, the Swiss Chocolate Cake. It’s basically a moist chocolate cake generously slathered in meringue frosting with a crunchy honeycomb, caramel, and buttercream filling. Story soon!

    *You can also dip the honeycomb in some melted chocolate to make a homemade Violet Crumble. 🙂


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