Tomorrow we celebrate Australia Day, the official National Day of Australia. The 26th of January, in fact, marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales. Nowadays, the celebrations reflect our diverse society and are marked by community and family events. It is a public holiday, but to me it’s always a bitter sweet one as it also marks the end of our summer holidays! School starts again and it’s going to be back to “normal” in our house. So, to cheer everyone up, I thought of making honeycomb. I had never heard of this candy before moving to Australia, so if you don’t know it… it is a sugary toffee with a light, rigid, sponge-like texture that reminds of a… honeycomb. It’s well known in English speaking countries and it is very popular here in Australia. I love it covered in chocolate or crumbled over ice cream. The recipe is pretty straight forward, but I must confess I had a hard time to get it right. I tried a few different recipes and I finally found the “right” one. I also found that Australian golden syrup is much darker in colour than the British one… go figure… Anyhow, strongly advise you to use a candy thermometre, as you do want to get your caramel to the hard crack stage before adding the bicorbonate of soda. Once you do… enjoy the magic and see how the bubbly mixture hardens and transforms itself into pretty and delicious honeycomb!
- Grease an 18cm x 28cm (7x11 inch) rectangular slice pan. Line the base and sides with baking paper, extending the paper 2cm – 1 inch above the edges of the pan.
- Place the sugar, honey, golden syrup and cold water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved (do not boil).
- Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, until the temperature reaches the hard crack stage on a candy thermometer (146°C to 150°C – 300°F to 310°F). Remove from the heat. Stand for 1 minute to allow the bubbles to subside.
- Working quickly and carefully, sift the bicarbonate of soda over the mixture and stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture evenly into the prepared pan, spreading quickly with a spatula to level it (the mixture will begin to set quickly).
- Set aside for 3 hours or until firm.
- Turn out the honeycomb onto a board and cut into pieces. Serve.