Honeycomb was one of the first things I created that made me fall completely in love with baking. It’s got that magic – like meringue – where you can make something glorious out of a handful of very basic ingredients. It really comes down to science, but it’s still damn cool when you sprinkle bicarbonate of soda into a molten pot of caramel and it fizzes up like a heavenly volcano. (If there are volcanoes in heaven, I’m pretty sure they will ooze bubbly honeycomb…#justsaying)
There is not a South African alive that doesn’t have an affinity for, what we call, crunchies. As a kid, my memory of them is of Friday after-school drives home, eating crunchies while letting the chocolate melt on my fingers so I could lick it off. When I say ‘letting the chocolate melt’ I mean it was done purposely, because chocolate bars never have time to melt in my hands! We’d buy the crunchies from this glorious little factory shop in George that sold all Cadbury’s rejected chocolate bars. Rejected by them and welcomed by me!

I’ve covered my homemade version in dark chocolate because I love how the bitterness balances the sweetness of the honeycomb, but feel free to coat yours in milk or even white chocolate. A sprinkling of sea salt also gives these a deliciously grown-up twist!  My memory of them is not quite the perfectly formed crunchies most would be used to, but I urge you to embrace this because cutting honeycomb into perfect bars? Ain’t nobody got time for that!  What you will have time for though, is slowly letting the chocolate melt so you can lick it off your fingers!

Homemade Crunchie Bars

Makes 8

 

50ml water

190g Natura Golden Caster Sugar

50g Natura Light Demerara Sugar

140g glucose (available from pharmacies or baking shops)

60g honey

10g bicarbonate of soda

500g dark chocolate, melted (for coating)

 

Grease and line a 20cm-square baking tin with non-stick baking paper.

In a medium pot, over low heat, combine the water, sugars, glucose and honey until completely dissolved. Turn the heat up and simmer until the syrup reaches 144°C – if you don’t have a sugar thermometer, simply drop the syrup into a small cup of tap water. It is ready when it forms a hard ball almost immediately.

Remove from the heat and, working quickly, add the bicarbonate of soda all at once. Whisk until the honeycomb foams up then immediately pour it into the prepared baking tin.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once completely cold, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the honeycomb into bars.

Dip the bars in the chocolate (you can also use a pastry brush to paint the chocolate on) and allow to set on a sheet of baking paper.

It is very important to store honeycomb in an air-tight container to avoid it becoming sticky. If you have silica gel sachets saved from shoes or handbags, place one of them in the bottom of the container to help absorb humidity.

TIP It is very important to store honeycomb in an air-tight container to avoid it becoming sticky. If you have silica gel sachets saved from shoes or handbags, place one of them in the bottom of the container to help absorb humidity