it’s like taking candy from a baby: sponge toffee

My vegan friend has pretty much given up eating candy bars. It’s not that she’s taken up the healthy route and has forsaken all manners of ‘bad for you’ treats…but it’s that so many chocolate and candy bars are pumped full of dairy. It’s her birthday this week and I decided that a little vegan-friendly candy making session would totally keep things sweet. So after searching for a few ideas, I stumbled upon the honeycomb recipe on the Seattle-ist (via NotMartha). Ohhh, the honeycomb in the Seattle-ist seemed like the sponge candy treats of my childhood (and the very tooth-decaying stuff found inside of a Crunchie Bar). Unfortunately, honey doesn’t classify as vegan, so I kept searching until I found a vegan recipe that looked easy enough to make on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

The last time I made candy, I remember being totally terrified of the chemistry going on in the pot when I was making the caramels, but I had no reason to fear as the results were stunning. Once again, this candy-making experience was a cinch. Making candy is fun, simple and hey, with this recipe you don’t even need a candy thermometer to get incredible results! Plus, there is fun and adventure in the making here. A lumpy mass of sugar and syrup dissolve into a bubbling liquid and then with the addition of the baking soda, turns into a whole ‘nother beast. When the mixture goes into the pan it hardens quickly yet it still looks wet and shiny and the candy that results is light, airy and melts on your tongue. Who knew making candy was so freakin’ exciting?!

16 comments to “it’s like taking candy from a baby: sponge toffee”

  1. 1
    The Overworked Barista   February 18, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Ah…Chemistry…this sounds like a great thing to make with kids. UNDER SERIOUS SUPERVISION of course.

  2. 2
    Joanne   February 18, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    Nice to hear you have some leisurely time to re-visit the art of candy-making…and what incredible results – I must say!

    I once watched a cooking show where the host made this exact sponge candy but there was no dark chocolate smothered on top, which I think is ‘a must.’

    Malt balls and Crunchie bars are some my childhood favourites…which would also explain the presence of nickel and silver fillings in my mouth.

    p.s. I’ve also had to stop eating candy bars when I recently became quite ill after eating an Oh Henry!

  3. 3
    Rachel   February 19, 2007 at 10:12 am

    pretty-like violet crumble!

  4. 4
    Dawna   February 19, 2007 at 8:54 am

    This looks beautiful! It even makes me wish, just a little bit, that I still ate such sugary things, but alas! my tolerance for sweets is way down. Good on you for taking on the task, though – I’m sure your vegan friend appreciated it greatly.

  5. 5
    Sara   February 19, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    The picture is lovely Kickpleat! Honeycomb and chocolate – yum!

  6. 6
    Caty   February 20, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    That looks delicious. Your friend is mega lucky!

  7. 7
    Kristel   February 21, 2007 at 10:26 am

    You are my freaking hero.

    Though not vegan, I am allergic to milk. I have spent my entire life candy bar free. 🙁

    But, these look fab! I can’t wait to make them and actually be able to enjoy a candy bar.

    You rock!

  8. 8
    kickpleat   February 21, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    overworked, it really would be awesome with kids…but yes, serious supervision required 😉

    joanne, this candy is too sweet for me, but my friend loved it!

    dawna, i’m with you on the candy but my friend was in candy heaven.

    rachel, i’ve never had violet crumble! we’ve got our very own crunchie here in canada so there is no need for imported bars…even though the name is so pretty!

    thanks sara, i love how the photo turned out. i’m thankful for sunny days!

    thanks caty! she’s super stoked about how easy it was to make.

    kristel, good luck with the candy making! it really is yummy (tho too sweet to have everyday!)

    aria, yup honey is off limits for most vegans. but this vegan treat sure does look as pretty as honeycomb.

  9. 9
    nosheteria   February 21, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Yay! This looks like Crunchie, a candy bar that is sadly only imported from the UK. I will definitely give this a try.

  10. 10
    aria   February 21, 2007 at 10:57 am

    thats beautiful 😉 it really does look like honeycomb.

    ha, i neer thought about honey not being vegan. interesting…

  11. 11
    The Casual Baker   December 12, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I made this once, with a similar recipe as far as I can recall. Mine turned out looking good and tasting good…until the last few chews, where there was always a distinct salty/baking soda flavour.

    Did you have this problem? Maybe I should give your recipe a go…

  12. 12
    kickpleat   December 12, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    casual baker, It's been ages since I made this, but as I recall that is the joy of sponge toffee. As a kid I would buy a square of it for 25 cents and it would always have a salty-ish aftertaste.

  13. 13
    Sarah   April 12, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I’m with Kristel. I love that this is a great recipe for people with allergies! I’ll have to try it out since we don’t get the Crunchie bar down in Texas!

  14. 14
    Lizzy M   November 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I’ve tried this recipe twice, because it looks yummy and is gluten free, but still cant get it. Last night I think the sugar mix wasn’t yellow enough yet but today I thought I had it at the right color and when I added the baking soda/water mix it did not expand (same thing as yesterday). Do you have any additional tips?

  15. 15
    kickpleat   November 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Lizzy, is your baking soda old? If you mix it with vinegar it should bubble up. That’s the only reason why I think it might not be working.

  16. 16
    Jessica   November 30, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I had disastrous results with this recipe, and I really wanted it to be that easy, but after googling sponge toffee, I found a similar (but different) recipe that worked like a charm.

    I’d offer up two points for the previous posters who were looking for more tips: cook until 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. They are available quite affordably at the dollar store, and worth the trouble, IMO. Secondly, I saw where one recipe suggested quickly *whisking* in the dry soda before pouring out onto pan. I get your point, you don’t want to overmix, but the whisk cuts the stirring time in half, for sure. Mine turned out amazing and I’ve got 9 cute holiday cello bags filled with the yummy stuff ready to mail out in parcels. 🙂

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