Growing up, my best friend lived a block away from me. We practically lived at each other’s houses; her mom and dad were my second parents and vice versa.
Back then, as pre-teens, we were allowed to come and go as we pleased as long as an adult knew where we were going. Only a few blocks from our neighborhood was a business district with small stores, a pizza parlor, and an ice cream/candy shop, both which had been there as long as our parents could remember.
Often, we’d take a break from our marathon Super Mario Bros. 3 playing, dress in our Paula Abdul outfits (bike shorts with lace, button down white blouse, and Keds) and walk downtown for lunch. We’d share garlic chips at the pizza place and then head to the ice cream shop for dessert.
It’s funny how memories stick with you; how the sound of a bell or the smell of a place can still be in your mind even so many years later. Preston’s was a place like that, and it still is today. When I take Jordan there it’s like visiting the past in so many ways.
Sometimes my BFF and I would get ice cream as our treat, but more often we would get Honeycomb. It’s a sweet and crumbly confection, basically pure sugar covered in chocolate. We’d each get a few squares and eat it on the way back to beat Bowser and his gang of thugs in our favorite video game.
I haven’t had Honeycomb very often since moving away from my childhood home, but whenever I do eat it, I think of my friend. So, when I saw this recipe in Food Network magazine a few months ago I knew I had to make it for her for Christmas.
I was surprised at how easy it was to make, given the need for a candy thermometer.
You just mix your sugar, water, and corn syrup and cook to 300 degrees.
Then you mix in baking soda, and something wonderful happens. If I had four arms, I would have taken a photo but since I only have a barely coordinated two, you’ll have to take my word for it. The clear sugar turns amber and bubbles up, so that when you pour it on your oiled cookie sheet, it looks like this:
Once it hardens, you break up the pieces and dip them in chocolate.
And that first bite? Takes you right back to your childhood; to pizza and Paula Abdul, to Mario, Luigi, and friendship.
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
Generously oil a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with vegetable oil. Set aside.
Add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a saucepan, stir to combine, and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and heat without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 300°, about 10-12 minutes.
Stir in baking soda (make sure there are no clumps in your tablespoon, and sprinkle it over the candy mixture, don’t just dump it in; you don’t want lumps in your finished product) and pour quickly onto the oiled baking sheet. (The candy will bubble up and become amber in color when you add the soda.) Let harden completely, then break into pieces.
Melt chocolate chips, adding a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil (or shortening) if needed. Dip the hardened honeycomb candy in the chocolate and place on waxed paper to set. Enjoy frivolously.