Honeycomb toffee, sponge toffee, hokey pokey. Whatever you call this confection, we can all agree that it’s one of a kind! Crunchy, light, sweet toffee pieces, guaranteed to take you right back to your childhood.
Crunchy honeycomb toffee coated in chocolate – easy to make and addictively delicious!
Crunchie chocolate bars were my favorite growing up. But now they are a little too sweet for my liking. So, as an alternative, I came up with these dark chocolate coated, homemade honeycomb toffee, sprinkled with sea salt. These have the perfect balance of sweet, caramel, crunchy, salty and bittersweet chocolate!
Honeycomb is of course sugar based, so it’s always going to be sweet, but balancing that sweetness with salt and chocolate is crucial, and helps take the edge off all that sugar in this candy.
And this is so easy and fun to make! They make EXCELLENT treats in candy boxes. Plus you can use the same recipe to make either honeycomb toffee or sponge toffee.
Why this recipe works
- Made with golden syrup for a more authentic flavor. But other substitutes are also provided.
- I show two methods for making this candy – the first creates large honeycomb holes, and the second makes smaller sponge like holes.
- I’ve been making this recipe for years, so it’s foolproof!
- You can coat them in chocolate to make this candy last longer.
All you need to make honeycomb toffee
- Sugar – White granulated sugar, but you can use brown sugar as well.
- Golden syrup – Golden syrup adds authentic flavor to crunchie bars or hokey pokey. But you can also use honey or corn syrup.
- Sea salt – Helps balance the sweetness.
- Baking soda – The CO2 released from baking soda is what creates the beautiful honeycomb structure in the toffee.
To make sponge toffee that has smaller holes, you only need to add
- Gelatin dissolved in a little water – The gelatin creates another structural matrix in the toffee, making the holes smaller and more compact (scroll down to see a side by side comparison).
I do prefer making honeycomb toffee over sponge toffee. Although the sponge toffee is much closer to the texture of a crunchie bar.
Making honeycomb toffee from scratch
Line a 8 or 9 inch square pan with parchment paper. You can also use a 9 x 13 pan, but the honeycomb mixture will be thinner.
Place all the ingredients, EXCEPT for the baking soda, in a large saucepan.
Gently stir the ingredients to saturate all of the sugar with water.
Heat the sugar syrup to dissolve the sugar. Swirl the saucepan, instead of stirring, to melt the sugar.
Clip on a candy thermometer and heat the sugar syrup until it reaches 300 F (hard crack stage).
As soon as the honeycomb toffee syrup reaches the correct temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat. Immediately add the baking soda, and whisk it in vigorously. Be CAREFUL not to burn your hands!
The sugar mixture will foam up and expand a lot. When the baking soda has been mixed in and the sugar mixture has fully expanded, immediately pour it into the prepared pan.
Now let the honeycomb toffee mixture completely cool and set.
What’s the difference between honeycomb toffee and sponge toffee
Honeycomb toffee has that beautiful open honeycomb texture.
Sponge toffee, as the name suggests, has more sponge like texture. This happens because of the addition of the gelatin mixture.
To make sponge toffee, you need to bloom the gelatin in a little water. Add this to the sugar syrup after it reaches the right temperature, followed by the baking soda. Whisk in both, until the mixture foams up.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and let it harden.
How to break the toffee into pieces
Once the honeycomb toffee is hardened, remove it from the pan and place it on a chopping board. Use the tip of a very sharp knife, and gently push it into the honeycomb toffee – it’ll shatter into pieces. Then break any large pieces into smaller ones.
Don’t discard any honeycomb toffee pieces that get crushed or are too small. You can add that to your coffee, hot chocolate, or vanilla steamers because they dissolve really well and add incredible flavor.
Your homemade honeycomb toffee is now ready to eat! But if you’d like to, you can coat them with some chocolate for even more spectacular results!
How to coat the honeycomb toffee in chocolate
I prefer to coat my honeycomb with dark chocolate. Anything between 60 – 70% cocoa content is my favorite option to balance the sweetness of the toffee. But you can choose any chocolate you prefer.
Temper the chocolate using this article as a guide.
You can either brush the melted chocolate on the honeycomb/sponge toffee using a clean, dry pastry brush, OR you can dip the toffee in the chocolate.
And don’t forget to sprinkle some salt on top. I like to use Maldon sea salt flake.
How to store the candy for later
Uncoated honeycomb toffee/sponge toffee
These will keep in an airtight container for about a week (maybe longer depending on the container). Make sure to separate the toffee pieces/layers with parchment paper or wax paper between them. The more they are exposed to air, the more sticky and soft the toffee will become.
Chocolate covered honeycomb toffee
These will last much longer. The chocolate prevents the toffee pieces from being exposed to air, so these will stay crisp for much longer. I’ve kept mine for up to a month (could be even longer, but ours usually finish before that).
Neither honeycomb toffee nor sponge toffee should be stored in the fridge. They last longer at room temperature in a cool, dark place.
Final notes, tips and tricks
Remember to use a large pot to make the honeycomb toffee. Once you add the baking soda, it’ll expand significantly, so all that space will be needed.
Have all the ingredients weighed and measured before you start, especially the baking soda. This way, the baking soda is ready to go as soon as the sugar syrup comes to the right temperature.
Wear gloves to whisk the sugar mixture, if available. The mixture releases a lot of steam, and the gloves will provide you protection. You won’t need gloves once you get used to the process though, because you’ll know how to avoid the steam.
This honeycomb toffee is incredible! Sweet, yes, but perfectly balanced with the bittersweet chocolate and salt. You’d be surprised at how much of it you could easily put away!
These are perfect for gift giving during the holidays as well, because they are super easy to make and very impressive too!
Honeycomb Toffee Recipe
Honeycomb toffee base
- 350 g granulated white sugar or brown sugar (1 ¾ cup)
- 160 – 170 g golden syrup or honey / corn syrup (½ cup)
- 120 mL water
- ½ tsp salt use only ¼ tsp if you don’t want to taste the salt flavor
- 1 tbsp baking soda
Gelatin mix (optional – for a more dense sponge-like texture)
- 2 tsp water
- ½ tsp gelatin
- 300 g tempered bittersweet chocolate approximate weight, you can also use milk or semisweet chocolate instead
- Sea salt flakes (I use maldon sea salt flakes)
- Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper (sides and bottom). Set aside until needed.
- Keep a spatula and a whisk ready, as you will need them towards the end of the cook time.
- Place the sugar, golden syrup / corn syrup, water, and salt in a large saucepan (this mixture will expand a lot, so use a large pot with enough space).
- Gently stir to saturate the sugar with the water.
- Heat over medium high heat, while swirling the pot frequently to ensure the sugar is dissolved.
- Brush the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in cold water to dissolve the sugar crystals on the side of the pot. Do NOT stir the sugar syrup.
- When the sugar syrup comes to a boil and all the sugar has dissolved, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot.
- Heat the sugar mixture until it reaches 300°F. Swirl the pot as you heat the sugar to make sure the syrup is evenly heating (check several spots in the syrup with the candy thermometer to make sure it's evenly heating).
- Get the prepared pan, whisk, and spatula ready when the sugar syrup is close to 300°F. You can use an oven mitt for whisking the sugar base in the following steps, if you like.
- When the sugar syrup reaches 300°F, remove the pot from the heat and immediately add all of the baking soda.
- Whisk the baking soda well into the sugar syrup. Make sure to reach all the corners of the pot. The sugar syrup will expand into a foamy honeycomb mixture.
- As soon as the baking soda is thoroughly mixed in and the mixture has expanded, scrape the honeycomb mixture into the prepared pan.
- Allow the mixture to harden for a few hours.
- Once the candy is hardened, remove it from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Place it on a cutting board.
- Use the tip of a sharp knife to break the honeycomb into pieces. These will be uneven pieces.
For more dense, sponge toffee texture
- While the sugar syrup is cooking, bloom the gelatin in the water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Let it bloom for 10 minutes.
- Microwave the gelatin for just a few seconds to dissolve the gelatin. Do NOT let it boil.
- Add the dissolved warm gelatin mixture into the sugar syrup, followed by the baking soda. Whisk vigorously, and then transfer the mix into the prepared pan (as per instructions above).
To coat honeycomb with chocolate
- Temper the chocolate using this guide.
- Dip the honeycomb toffee in tempered chocolate (you can dip them either fully or partially). Alternatively, you can brush the chocolate on the toffees with a clean, dry pastry brush.
- Place them on a parchment paper lined tray. Sprinkle salt on top before the chocolate sets.
- Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature (do not put them in the fridge).
Storing the toffee
- Uncoated honeycomb toffee – Store these honeycomb pieces in an air-tight container at room temperature for about 1 week (or 2 weeks if it's not humid). Place parchment paper or wax paper between layers of the honeycomb to prevent them from sticking to each other.
- Chocolate coated honeycomb toffee – These can be stored at room temp for much longer (even up to a month) in an air-tight container.
- Do NOT store these in the fridge or freezer.