Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey, that is what I love to call this honeycomb candy. It’s a witchy, Halloween kind of name that honours the season. I guess it comes from the fact that it appears to be made up of poked out holes! It is perfect for Halloween and Bonfire Night too. I will be making a batch for a firework party this weekend as well.

It is so much fun to make, just three simple ingredients and a bit of scientific trickery! Sugar and golden syrup is melted together into a caramel then suddenly aerated with a whoosh of bicarbonate of soda, the bicarb creates hundreds of tiny air pockets in the liquid sugar which, once left to cool and set, leaves a honeycomb texture. The three ingredients, plus the fact that there is no baking involved, means that this is perfect camper van fare.

With one day left until All Hallow’s Eve, we found ourselves half way up Cairn Gorm Mountain on a wet, cold October morning. After a busy couple of weeks hanging around Dundee, we decided to drive up to the Cairngorms for the week. And it is spectacular. The entire landscape has turned golden with the coming of autumn. The forests are a ablaze with colour, in contrast to the mountains above which have a chilly dusting of snow. We have never been up here at this time of year before, it usually looks so green, either that or covered in snow.

The day we arrived, we took a walk around Lock Morlich, which lies at the foot of Cairn Gorm. As the afternoon drew on, the sun got lower and the light was just beautiful, painting the forest on the edge of the loch with warm, golden colour. The air is so clean up here too, every breath feels healthy and reviving.

The clouds rolled in overnight however and we woke up to rain and white clouds. Donning waterproofs, we had a short walk around some small lochans after the Hokey Pokey was set and safely stored. But the rain continued so the rest of the day was mostly spent cosied up in the van, which is all decked out for Halloween. I’ve stretched ‘spider webs’ across the roof {which are driving Chris mad, as he is a bit taller than me and the webs keep attaching to his woolly hat!} and strung up some lights across one of the windows. It gets us in the mood! Not sure if we’ll get any Trick or Treaters but I’ll be prepared with some home-made Hokey Pokey!

Hokey Pokey {recipe by Nigella Lawson, How to be a Domestic Goddess}

a well greased baking sheet, or ideally a silicon mat

  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda

Put the sugar and golden syrup in a large saucepan {do not use a non-stick one however as this effects how the sugar crystallizes}. Give it a good stir to combine then remove your spoon. Place over a medium to low flame and gently melt the two together, bring it carefully to the boil, it will bubble rapidly for a bit then calm down as the caramel darkens. Keep your eye firmly on it.

It needs to get to a rich deep orange colour, it should take around 5 minutes or more from the boiling stage. As a guide, you don’t want it to go as dark as maple syrup.

As soon as it reaches this colour, take it off the heat and immediately add the bicarbonate of soda. Rapidly beat it into the caramel, before your eyes it will quadruple in size, quickly tip it out onto the baking sheet or silicon mat. That’s it!

Leave it to completely cool and set. It will harden and should feel dry to the touch.

I have rushed the caramel process before and it left the honeycomb feeling tacky, so take your time and let that caramel get dark enough before adding the bicarb.

Once hard, you can break the hokey pokey up into pieces which you can then cover in melted chocolate if you wish. I used Dairy Milk, for that homemade ‘Crunchie’ experience!

By the way, my silicon mat, as I have mentioned before in a previous post, is one of my absolute favourite kitchen items. It was given to me as a gift and I have found it so useful for so many baking jobs. It is particularly good for making chocolates on, rather than letting them drip set on a wire rack, they can set directly on the silicon and will simply peel off, and have a neat pattern on the bottom too!

21 Responses

  1. offmotorway says:

    Well, I’m totally getting a silicon mat, and then I’m going to make some of these!

  2. Sophie33 says:

    A while ago, We travelled & stayed in Dundee a few days, while my husband’s sister studied there as an exchange student for 1 year. We walked in the Cairngorm mountains too & loved the scenery too! I love hoenycumb too! Yummy!

  3. NickkiT says:

    I actually just this minute made some hokey pokey for a bake sale tomorrow…and I was thinking of covering it in chocolate! Spooky or what? I absolutely love the stuff, being a Scottish lass my favourite sweetie when I was little was Ross’s Puff Candy! Hence why I have to make it and give most of it away…I’d just eat it all myself! 🙂

    • wow, so spooky! I love making it and sharing it. I never came across Ross’s Puff Candy growing up in England, plus growing up near Birmingham we were very much reared on Cadbury’s. I’ve never seen it since living up here though, I’m going to ask all my friends!

  4. westendmaw says:

    I used to eat (and love) something similar as a kid – Ross’s Puff Candy, funnily enough I think it may be a particularly Scottish confection?
    I also just bought a silicon baking mat, glad to hear a baking expert like yourself saying it’ll come in handy!

    • I have never come across this particular Scottish confection, is it still around? As an {almost} Brummie lass, we devoured mainly Cadbury’s stuff as kids. I was rather partial to Tunnocks Caramel Wafers though!
      You are going to love that mat. It is one of the most awesome inventions ever!

  5. Jorie says:

    Now, if only I could have my honeycomb setting while I look out to that gorgeous mountain view…. 😉 another great recipe!

  6. Beautiful pictures and great presentation! What a fun life you live.

  7. davegct says:

    Looks delicious! And surprisingly easy to make. Your photos are really gorgeous, love those landscapes with clouds hanging over the mountains in the distance. Makes me want to be there! How is Juan doing these days? Hope you had an easy time getting up to the mountains from Dundee…

    • Cheers Dave, Juan ran like a hero up there and back. But a bit to cold as I forgot the heater! We are definitely looking to upgrade quite soon, for something a bit roomier and insulated.

  8. i thought i knew how to be a domestic goddess inside and out, but i don’t recall ever noticing these…i’m so glad you’ve shared them! i guess i need to have another flip through the book 🙂

    • I think because it’s doesn’t have many pictures it is easy to miss stuff in there! I remember my glee when I first found this recipe hidden among the Childrens food section xx

  9. sweetaddict says:

    I want to eat those now! Yum!

  10. bakearama says:

    Wow I didn’t realise it was so easy! Bumped to the top of my “things to try” list 🙂

    Silicon mat sounds like a great idea. I have a reusable silicon-esque baking sheet which is amazing for things not sticking when they bake, but it sounds like I need this in my life for all those other sticky encounters!