I’ve discovered recently that there is no ambivalence regarding sponge toffee*. Either you love it or you hate it. There’s no in-between. Well, I love it. And so does Mags. So I decided to include it in my holiday candy-making endeavours.
While it’s a little terrifying to make (as is anything involving melted sugar), it’s actually pretty quick and easy to do (though you should read about Joy the Baker’s emotional journey through candy making, for a laugh). Just make sure everything is just so and ready to go before you start.
First, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Put that near your sink.
Then, grab a whisk and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda and put that next to your sink as well, but closer than the baking sheet. Squash the baking soda around to make sure there are no lumps.
Fill your sink with a couple inches of cold water.
Plop a large, thick-bottomed pot on your stove. Stir in 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 6 tablespoons water, 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1 teaspoon cider vinegar. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and heat that on medium until it starts to boil. You don’t really need to stir it, but I like to give it a whirl every once in a while, to feel like I’m doing something. You want the foamy stuff to reach 300°F. I found that mine kind of stopped when it hit 225°F, so I slowly increased the heat and kept an eye on it.
When the temperature of your sugar reaches 300°F, take the pot off the heat and gently place it in your sink full of cold water. The pot will likely yell. You will likely yell as your pot makes weird noises.
Add the baking soda and start whisking like crazy. SCIENCE WILL HAPPEN. IT MAY BE SLIGHTLY TERRIFYING. Keep whisking like a maniac.
When the mixture turns slightly golden, quickly spread the stuff into your baking sheet. It’s going to set before it spreads too far, don’t fret.
I didn’t work fast enough, so there was a lot of sugar that set in my pot, but that goes away with good soak in hot water.
The candy will cool and set within 20 minutes.
Break that stuff up into smaller pieces that you won’t feel terrible eating many of and plop them on some waxed paper.
Here are some wee pieces I deemed too small to do anything with.
Grab some chocolate (your choice as to the amount and type) and plop it in a double boiler to melt.
Drizzle over the pieces (or dip them in the chocolate, I don’t care) and sprinkle with sea salt. Allow the chocolate to harden, and then go to town eating them.
Or exercise self-restraint and give them away. It is your choice to make.
*AKA sea foam, honeycomb candy, Crunchie, hokey pokey, etc.