I've always wanted to try making honeycomb. On a weekend escape to Brighton, I popped into the excellent Steamer Trading kitchen shop in the Lanes and picked up a sugar thermometer for under a fiver. The ingredients for honeycomb are simple enough (basically, sugar), but the key is getting it to the right temperature.
For such a simple sweet, there are an awful lot of recipes out there. Some use honey, others liquid glucose, and the old Gary Rhodes recipe I chose from More Rhodes Around Britain uses a knob of butter.
I should start by telling you all how quick it is to make. Once the sugars (225g caster, 225g demerara, 50g golden syrup) have melted with 2 tbsp water, it's just a matter of popping in the thermometer and patiently watching the mercury rise. Once the bubbling caramel reaches 138-140 degrees centigrade, you stir in the tbsp bicarbonate of soda, let it fizz and rise, and pour the mixture into a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper to cool. Simple. It took 20 minutes at the most.
Adding a knob (10-15g) of butter is unusual, but the result was delicious. It was softer than standard honeycomb, but still crunchy and crumbly, with a spicy rich flavour.
A cheap, quick treat, and a lovely homemade gift for Christmas stockings and hampers. Pop a sugar thermometer in the stocking and hamper too, with the recipe written out on the gift label, and they can have a go at making it themselves. (Remember to store the honeycomb in an airtight container so it doesn't lose its crunch.)