I realize I have an insatiable thirst for learning new things, but my brain seems to like to spread it around.

This weekend I made Honeycomb Candy for the first time.  It's also called sponge toffee, or 'Hokey Pokey' in some corners of the world.  It's a really simple recipe, made possible with ease due to a candy thermometer.  Before they existed, (and likely still now by seasoned veterans), folks would test the stage of candy by dropping a bit of it into cold water.  Kind of a unit test to see the outcome.

The thing about sugar, is that it's easy to fly past the zone you're looking for with temperature.  

I learned that as you heat the mixture, it may stall in it's temperature climb as it hits certain points.  One such point was the boiling point of the mixture itself.  I guess it makes sense, since a great deal of the heat would be releasing in gassing water from the mixture.

Eventually there's much less steam and it still bubbles until it climbs to where I needed it at 300 degrees fahrenheit.

The ingredients are simple.  Water, granulated sugar, baking soda, and corn syrup.  I used honey instead of corn syrup.  What I can't find anywhere is why corn syrup is necessary.  It's essentially liquid sugar.  Corn syrup itself isn't really distinct in taste or sweetness.  It has to serve some sort of purpose, I'd think.  Ultimately the sugar and water forms a sugar syrup anyhow, so in my head I imagine it's about one of these:

  • Heat distribution
  • Some kind of chemistry thing?  Or change of state thing?

I can't find online the reason why for corn syrup in this recipe at all.  I used honey for flavour, but barring that, wouldn't I be able to create this with just sugar and water?

I want to find out.  So I guess I'll experiment again sometime.  It really only takes about 10 minutes to make, so I'm blessed with a quick testability time.

What I want to try:

  1. Just honey and a little water.
  2. Just sugar and water.

I guess I'll report back when it happens.

I was thinking that I don't give myself enough credit for embracing the Jack of all Trades kind of mantle.  Because I do have a couple of focuses (Writing and programming), the rest of what I'm learning often slips by unnoticed by my conscious acceptance of what I'm doing.  So I figure I'll start keeping track of things I'm learning.  That way at the end of the year I can make a list of things I've done for the first time, things I've learned, etc.


TIL: How to make sponge toffee.