|Alternative names||Sponge candy, honeycomb candy, sponge toffee, cinder toffee, seafoam, golden crunchers, hokey pokey|
|Main ingredients||Brown sugar, corn syrup (or molasses or golden syrup), baking soda|
Honeycomb toffee, honeycomb candy, sponge toffee, cinder toffee, seafoam, or hokey pokey is a sugary toffee with a light, rigid, sponge-like texture. Its main ingredients are typically brown sugar (or corn syrup, molasses or golden syrup) and baking soda, sometimes with an acid such as vinegar. The baking soda and acid react to form carbon dioxide which is trapped in the highly viscous mixture. When acid is not used, thermal decomposition of the baking soda releases carbon dioxide. The sponge-like structure is formed while the sugar is liquid, then the toffee sets hard. The candy goes by a variety of names and regional variants.
Owing to its relatively simple recipe and quick preparation time, in some regions it is often made at home, and is a popular recipe for children. It is also made commercially and sold in small blocks, or covered in chocolate, a popular example being the Crunchie bar of Britain or the Violet Crumble of Australia.
Honeycomb toffee is known by a wide variety of names including:
- cinder toffee in Britain
- fairy food candy or angel food candy in Wisconsin, United States
- hokey pokey in New Zealand
- honeycomb in South Africa, Australia, Britain, Ireland, Philippines, and Ohio, United States
- old fashioned puff in Massachusetts
- puff candy in Scotland
- sponge candy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, St. Paul, Minnesota, Western New York, and Northwest Pennsylvania, United States
- sponge toffee ("tire éponge") in Canada
In various cultures
In China, it is called honeycomb sugar (蜂窩糖;fēngwōtáng). It is said to be a popular type of confectionery among the post-80s in their childhood.
In Hungary, it is known as törökméz (Turkish honey) and is commonly sold at town fairs.
The same confection is a traditional sweet in Japan known as karumeyaki (カルメ焼き), a portmanteau of the Portuguese word caramelo (caramel) and the Japanese word yaki (to bake), and thus can be roughly translated into English as 'baked caramel' or 'grilled caramel'. It is typically hand-made, and often sold by street vendors.
In Japan, raw egg whites are mixed with the baking soda to make the final product have a puffed up, dome shape.
Honeycomb toffee is known as hokey pokey (especially in the Kiwi classic Hokey Pokey ice cream) in New Zealand. A very popular ice-cream flavour consisting of plain vanilla ice cream with small, solid lumps of honeycomb toffee is also known as hokey pokey. It is also used to make hokey pokey biscuits.
In Taiwan, it is called swollen sugar (膨糖, péngtáng or 椪糖, pèngtáng).
A street seller in Asakusa Tokyo offering hand-made karumeyaki
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