Cinder toffee (also called honeycomb) is a light-as-air sweet treat. You may know it as the candy that is in a Crunchie bar. It's easy and cheap to make and makes a perfect gift.
Cinder toffee is easy and fun to make. Imagine a bubbling pan of sugar and honey that erupts volcanically as you add in the bicarb of soda (baking soda). Like caramel molten lava that cools into the best caramel.
You end up with a golden caramel candy that is light and crunchy. It tastes like caramel, molasses and honey all rolled into one candy! Dipped in chocolate it is the ultimate homemade Crunchie bar and makes such a luxurious gift to give. Cinder toffee is also great for adding to other baking like brownies, blondies, and even chocolate banana bread.
The ingredients are cheap and you probably already have them on hand.
- caster sugar
- honey or golden syrup- you can use golden syrup to make this vegan
- bicarb of soda (baking soda in North America)
See the recipe card for quantities.
Cinder toffee or honeycomb as it's also called is very easy and straightforward to make, but there are a few key tips that you need to be very aware of.
*If you're making this with children please use extra caution. This mixture gets very hot and it bubbles a lot. But because of this, it's really fun to make with kids- they love it!
Start by lining your baking tin with greaseproof baking paper and giving that a very light greasing with some vegetable oil. Set it aside while you make the cinder toffee.
Step 1 & 2- Melting the sugar and honey
- Use a high sided pan because the mix bubbles up a lot, more than you think it will.
- Gently melt the sugar and honey over medium-low heat.
Step 3 & 4- Caramelising the sugar
- Once the mixture is melted turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil whisking continuously so the caramel doesn't burn.
- You will see the mixture turning from a pale honey colour to a deep golden and the bubbles will start to get bigger as the sugar gets hotter.
Step 5 & 6- Adding the bicarb (baking soda)
- Add in the bicarb of soda and very quickly and gently mix it in making sure it's completely incorporated. This will bubble up like a volcano, so be careful.
- Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and leave to cool and set completely. Once you've placed the cinder toffee mixture in the tin be sure to not move the tin at all otherwise the air will get knocked out and you'll end up with a flat piece of honeycomb rather than the airy type that we're going for!
Hint: Let me just repeat some of the really key points-
- Use a high sided pan.
- Line the tray with greaseproof before your begin the cooking process.
- Use a thermometer or a Themapen to ensure you reach the right temperature.
Substitutions and Variations
Cinder toffee is only 3 ingredients so there aren't many substitutions that can be made here.
- Honey- use golden syrup if you're vegan.
- Caster sugar- you can use golden caster here, if you have it on hand
- Chocolate- to really dress up this recipe you can dip half of each piece of cinder toffee in melted chocoalte and let that set.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. With cinder toffee, no special equipment is required and you certainly don't need much of it. But here's what I've used-
Moisture is the absolute enemy of cinder toffee! Keep it in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Leave in a dark cupboard and avoid steam, heat and any moisture.
If you're giving this as a gift, place the cinder toffee in a plastic foodie gift bag and tie it tightly with some string or ribbon.
You can make this cinder toffee without a thermometer and go on visual cues alone, but a thermometer will make the job much easier.
You can use a sugar thermometer, but I prefer my Thermapen. It's instant-read, so you know as soon as your caramel has reached the ideal temperature.
They are! The two names are used interchangeably.
Boiling sugar goes through many different temperature changes that result in different setting points. If your cinder toffee has turned out soft it's probably because it didn't reach a hot enough temperature. This is where a thermometer comes in handy.
As mentioned in the above question, if it's too soft then the sugar didn't get hot enough. If it turns out too hard, then the sugar probably got too hot.
Cinder toffee should be poured very quickly into the prepared baking tin and left on the work surface at room temperature for at least an hour to set. It gets stored in an airtight container at room temperature also.
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Easy 3 Ingredient Cinder Toffee
- 300 g caster sugar
- 150 g honey or golden syrup
- 3 teaspoons bicarb of soda
- 50 g dark chocolate melted
- Line a 22cm (9 inches) square baking tin with greaseproof non-stick baking paper.
- Place the caster sugar and honey or golden syrup into a saucepan with high sides and heat over low heat. The sugar will start to dissolve.
- Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and whisk until the mixture reaches a temperature of 140c/300f.
- Quickly whisk the bicarb into the mixture to combine and pour into the pan and leave to cool. Once the mixture is in the pan don’t move it or touch it. This will knock the air out of it.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave and use a fork to dip the cider toffee chunks. Lay them on a cooling rack to set the chocolate.
- Break into chunks and store in an airtight container for about 3 days.
- Use a thermometer to the best accuracy.
- Moisture is the enemy of cinder toffee. Be sure to store it in a dry airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Be sure that the cinder toffee is completely set before breaking apart.
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove