In The New Sugar & Spice, Samantha Seneviratne gives peppercorn and savory spices the spotlight when making desserts.
I’ve been in the candy business a long time. When my brother and I were small, we used the money he earned on his paper route to buy candy in bulk and sell it to the neighborhood kids. We’d stroll down the street, our green wheelbarrow laden with Nerds and Pop Rocks, singing “Candy for sale!” and the kids would flock to us. Funny little entrepreneurs.
These days, I prefer to make candy rather than to sell it. Honeycomb candy, with its feathery crunch, is one of the simplest to make. The process couldn’t be easier, but it moves very quickly. The key is to have all your ingredients and tools lined up and at the ready. Covering the pieces in chocolate is not only tasty, but the chocolate also acts as a barrier to moisture and keeps the candy fresher longer.
1 pound candy
- Butter an 8-inch square pan and line with aluminum foil with a 1-inch overhang on two sides. Butter the foil and any exposed sides of the pan. Grab a small whisk, a heat-safe spatula, a small plate, and an oven mitt, and set them by the stove.
- In a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar, honey, vinegar, cayenne, salt, and water. The mixture will swell up to about four times the volume in the next step so make sure the pot is big enough. In a small bowl, set aside the baking soda.
- Heat the sugar mixture over medium-high heat to 300°F without stirring. In order to get an accurate reading, make sure the bulb of the candy thermometer is submerged in the sugar mixture. You may have to hold the pot tipped to the side while the sugar cooks. Use the oven mitt to protect your hand and arm from steam while you hold the pot. Remove the pot from the heat, quickly remove the thermometer and place it on the plate, and immediately whisk in the baking soda. Take care to disperse the baking soda evenly, but don’t mix for longer than a second or two or you’ll deflate the bubbles. Quickly scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Don’t touch it once it goes in the pan so as not to disturb the bubbles. The mixture will swell up and then deflate. Let it stand until completely cool and hard, about 30 minutes.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Alternatively, you could melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 15-second bursts, stirring in between each one.
- Lift the candy from the pan and pull off the foil. Break the candy into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Transfer the chocolate to a deep, narrow dish, like a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Using a fork to lift the candy, dip each piece into the chocolate and toss it to cover it completely. Pick the coated candy up and tap it on the edge of the dish to knock off any excess chocolate. Set the candy on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces. Pop the sheets in the fridge for a few minutes to set the chocolate.
- Store the candy in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week (if it’s not too hot) or in the fridge for up to a month.
Reprinted with permission from The New Sugar and Spice, by Samantha Seneviratne, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.