Thursday, April 12, 2012

Honeycomb – a Schoolgirl Crush that has Lasted and Lasted !

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I think many of my schoolmates will remember one of our science teachers – Mr Divine (uh huh!). Although he seemed ancient at the time, he was barely out of school himself and maybe that’s why he was among the few that were able to connect with a class of unruly 12 year-olds.
He set up experiments that interested us – distilling Poitín for instance, or manufacturing lipstick.  My favourite experiment seemed like alchemy to me – he combined a few simple ingredients, added heat, and made a huge bubbling mass of honeycomb. I think more than a few of us fell in love with Mr Divine that particular day.

While my schoolgirl crush on Mr Divine has long since disappeared, my love for this sweet treat has lasted and lasted.
For a sweet treat practically conjured out of thin air you will need...
200g caster sugar
100g honey
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon fine table salt
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda 

1                  Line a 21cm (8”) square tin with non-stick parchment paper.
2                  Weigh the sugar and honey directly into a saucepan large enough for the mixture to expand up to 5 times its original volume. Add the water, vinegar and salt and heat gently until all the ingredients have melted together.
3                  Now, turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble without stirring (stirring can recrystalise sugar (although, feel free to give the saucepan the odd swirl if you like.) If you have a sugar thermometer it should reach ‘hard-crack’ (149° - 154°C or 300°F  - 310°F. If you are working by eye, let the mixture bubble until it is a dark golden honey colour. Do not go to answer the door. Do not pick up the phone. This stuff is hot and will burn the instant you take your eyes off it.

Do not pick up the phone! Do not answer the door! This stuff WILL burn.

4                  Have a whisk ready for the next step: Remove the saucepan from the heat, and quickly add the bicarbonate of soda. Give the mixture a quick stir to disperse the bicarbonate – it will foam up impressively. Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Resist the urge to spread it out as you’ll only pop the bubbles. It is self-leveling.
5                  Allow to cool – when nearly cool you can score it with a knife if you want to break it into regular shapes or simply break it into pieces when cold.  Store in an airtight container and use within 24 - 48 hours, particularly if the weather is humid.

Here's to the little guy who made it all possible!

While this honeycomb is rather good just as is, here are two more ways to enjoy it.
Melt 150 dark chocolate and give the cooled honeycomb a bath. Allow excess chocolate to drip off before letting the chocolately pieces set on non-stick parchment paper.
Take a tub of good vanilla ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften before stirring in a handful of finely chopped honeycomb and returning to the freezer to firm up.
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21 comments:

Jill Colonna said...

Hester, this is too much. Not only have you brought back that fleeting image of deliciously devine honeycomb that Granny made but you had yours made by Mr. Divine himself. My chemistry teacher was called Mr. Bins. What can I say?

Biana | TastyGalaxy.com said...

Wow, this sounds great! And then there is chocolate and ice cream too? Fabulous.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Looks and sounds delicious. Reminds me a bit of the process we used to make peanut brittle in middle school.

Rosemary said...

Very intriguing--or should I say divine!!

ping said...

My chemistry classes were never this exciting. Now if they had made stuff like this, I'd pay attention more often :)

firefoodie said...

This is just lush. We made this as kids, don't remember burning any 'though! A.

Cucina49 said...

That looks SO good. I can only imaging how it would taste with dark chocolate. It would also taste brilliant crumbled on top of the honey gelato I made a few weeks ago.

gobakeyourself said...

Mr Divine does sound exactly that! Honeycomb made in science? Genius :D
Your recipe has me drooling - honeycomb is one of my serious weaknesses :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Hi Hester! I've never made or had this before. I should make this with my kids! ^_^

Magic of Spice said...

Oh my goodness...I have not had this in years, what a delightful treat :)

Tiffany said...

This sounds amazing! And the chocolate/ice cream versions sound superb too! I can’t get enough honey in my life!

Pauline said...

I'm with Jill ,you are far too lucky, Mr Divine and honeycomb, I knew I had a deprived childhood :-) love this in ice cream .

Koci said...

What a cute story! I wish we got to make lipstick in my chemistry classes. And that honeycomb looks beautiful!

Tina said...

Ha-I tried to make this once without the candy thermometer, not a good idea. It was a disaster. I will need to try again since I got a thermometer. I love honeycomb with a lot of things, so this is a delicious reminder. Great post!

The Harried Cook said...

I remember the first time I made honeycomb! I loved it so much that I made it 4 times in the first week :) Haven't made it since! And now I really want to! Love the idea of putting it in ice cream! Thanks for sharing :) Fabulous post... Mr. Divine would be proud! :)

Pola M said...

This looks great!

Parsley Sage said...

Never had it! Want to have it! Ohmigoodness that looks awesome. None of my teachers ever did anything so cool as this :(

Your bumble bee is gadorable, by the way

Lizzy said...

What an excellent teacher! And I'll take mine dipped in chocolate, please :)

Little Housewife said...

Ah I use to have a really strict chemistry teacher that use to scream at us like crazy. But I think if she would bribe me with this amazing treat I would like her a bit more at the time. I really enjoyed the read. Wishing you all the best! Sending hugs :)

Anna @ the shady pine said...

I would be in love with Mr Divine too if he made me honecomb! Although he'd be swiftly pushed aside so I could go about the task of devouring it!

Food Jaunts said...

Love this! Although I may be way too tempted to go overboard and do the chocolate AND ice cream. I've never heard of this before but definitely want to make it soon!