As the days shorten and the autumn festivals approach cinder toffee is top of my ‘To Do’ list. It has all the drama needed at this time of year.
A madly bubbling pan of hot sugar followed by the over dramatic reaction between the sugar and the bicarbonate of soda as the whole lot expands and bubbles up volcanically! Perfect witchy magic!
Whether you call it Cinder Toffee or Honeycomb, it is delicious, easy and cheap to make. My kids love it and it is perfect for Bonfire Night and Halloween!
I remember my Dad coming home with paper bags full of broken honeycomb pieces in the 1970s, it was such a rare treat and just a nibble of it zooms me right back in time to childhood Bonfire Nights and Halloweens.
When I grew up and realised how easy it is to make at home I was over the moon.
Before we go any further, I make no apologies for the sugary ingredients in this sweet treat. While back in the 1970s sugar was, basically, one of our five-a-day, we now know better and cinder toffee is in no way an everyday nibble!
How To Make Cinder Toffee
Cinder toffee is very easy to make as long as you take some precautions, especially if you are making it with children. Here are a few tips and tricks to make it even easier:
- The sugar caramel gets VERY hot so it’s really important that an adult takes charge. I didn’t allow mine near the hot sputtering until they were tall enough to easily see into the pan and am guilty, even now they are mostly grown ups, of yelling “stand back!”
- Make sure the saucepan and cake tin you use are high sided, cinder toffee bubbles up far higher than you would imagine and you don’t want an overflowing volcano of hot sugar!
- Line your cake tin with baking parchment and grease it to make removal easy once the toffee has cooled.
- A sugar thermometer is a really useful thing and takes all the guess work out of making caramel. It’s great for jam making too!
- When you add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk it in the reaction is immediate so make sure you have everything to hand and pour the bubbling toffee into your prepared tin as quickly as you can.
- The toffee will sink quite a bit, this is normal, don’t worry!
- Once your honeycomb has completely cooled in the tin turn it out onto a chopping board and break or slice it into pieces.
Can you see the ghostly face in that piece of cinder toffee in the middle of this picture?!
What Else Can You Do With Honeycomb?
While I am quite content to nibble on a naked piece of cinder toffee you could also:
- Dip it in melted chocolate and leave it to set. Either just a half dip or a total covering to make homemade Crunchie!
- Use all the powdery bits stirred into buttercream and piped onto cupcakes or muffins.
- Stir it into ice-cream to make homemade honeycomb ice cream!
Looking for More Bonfire Night and Halloween Treats?
- Dark Chocolate Mango Candy by Stacey Homemaker
- 3 Ingredient Chocolate Fudge by Tinned Tomatoes
- Gingerbread Hot Chocolate by Tin and Thyme
- Pumpkin Muffins with Sweet Potato Frosting by Sneaky Veg
- 200 g caster sugar
- 100 g golden syrup
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Grease a 20cm square, deep cake tin and line with baking parchment. Grease the parchment.
- Put the sugar and golden syrup in a non stick saucepan.
- Heat gently until the sugar crystals dissolve. Don't stir but give the pan a little swirl every now and again.
- When the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up until you have a bubbling liquid and heat until it reaches 140c/300F on a sugar thermometer or until your caramel turns golden. This takes about 3 minutes.
- Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk quickly to incorporate, the toffee will bubble up volcanically, transfer it straight into your prepared tin and leave to cool completely.
- Break into chunks.
- Store in an airtight tin for up to 3 days.
This is an updated version of a post which I first wrote back in 2011