Hokey Pokey

I was going to say that this isn't as fun as it sounds, but then I reconsidered. Hokey pokey is the Cornish term for honeycomb, and is wonderful[ eaten in golden shards or crumbled into the best vanilla ice cream. I include it here as it is the perfect present to take to a dinner party. Better than flowers, as they need to be put into a vase, better than chocolate, which people tend to smile politely at, but put away in a drawer. I've found no one can resist a bit of hokey pokey. The quantities I've specified don't make an awful lot - enough to fill a little tin 12 cm diameter and 6 cm deep / 4 and a half inches diameter and 2 and a half inches deep -but any more and you'd be sued by your dentist.]

Total Time:
38 min
5 min
30 min
3 min

2 cups

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Put the sugar and syrup into a saucepan and stir together to mix. You can't stir once the pan's on the heat, though.

  • Place the pan on the heat and let the mixture first melt and then turn to goo and then a bubbling mass the color of maple syrup - this will take 3 minutes or so.

  • Off the heat, whisk in the baking soda and watch the syrup turn into a whooshing cloud of aerated pale gold. Turn this immediately onto a piece of baking parchment or greased foil.

  • Leave until set and then bash at it, so that it splinters into many glinting pieces.

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Cooking Tips
3.7 38
Incredibly informative. I'm heating up sugar to a goo with no suggestion as to temperature.  item not reviewed by moderator and published
i made this twice and it taste like honeycomb! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very tasty. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is slightly flawed, as it does not give a cooking temp or candy temp. I go med/med high for 6-8 minutes, then add the soda, whisk lightly and pour. I've noticed that if you over whisk it or take the whisk out and put it back in, it deflates the candy. This recipe has the perfect flavor, but Gale Gands' has the perfect texture. Hmmm.... item not reviewed by moderator and published
Took me three tries to get it right, first two it came out flat and taffy like, THEN i read the reviews and a very helpful person said the sugar mixture should reach the 'hardball' candy stage (will turn into a hard ball when dropped in ice water you'd think they would say that in the recipe. After it was on the pan i took it out in the garage since the heat and humidifier were on in the house, and let it harden there. maybe being in the fridge will have the same result for those who have a problem with humidity? It still came out rather flat, not sure why, but at least the texture was right item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thank you for sharing your recipe! I thought I would never get hokey pokey ice cream again without going to Australia again! This recipe turned out wonderful. I read all of the review first then changed the recipe a little. 1/2 C. sugar 1/2 C. brown sugar 8 T. light corn syrup, 295 degrees, 1 1/2 t. baking soda. Some have said it tastes burnt. Its supose to it is sugar, it is like brittle. item not reviewed by moderator and published
we can use it for another dessert as a garnesh item not reviewed by moderator and published
A very dear friend from U.K. Buys these!So simple to make And eat. Softer than you'd think. Try. Not like American types of 'brittle'. A melt in the mouth experience. Add flavours If you want it to be more flavourfull. But make the original before 'trying' licquors or other spiritsor extracts. item not reviewed by moderator and published
horrible item not reviewed by moderator and published
So this is my issue with this recipe: It's ALWAYS hit or miss! I've proably made this recipe over 10 times now, sometimes it's perfect and sometimes it's chewy like taffy! Can someone please advice as to how to make it consistently crunchy? It must be the humidity in my apt, but how do I manipulate this? I follow the recipe to the T and still I get the taffy consistency rather than the crunchy one. What do you guys think i'm doing wrong? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Quick and easy. Will try a little less baking soda next time and hope for a less humid day. The addition of a little vanilla might also do the trick otherwise very fun to eat. I will also try to get golden syrup. I used dark corn syrup. Love Nigella. Never had a disappointing recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I found this to be a delightful and easy recipe for candy. Instead of following the recipe to a "T" I decided to try a couple of twist. Baking soda can be an overwhelming ingredient in candy, so I knew I wanted to reduce the amount. I only used 1/2 teaspoon. I whisked it into the bubbling concoction after I took it off the heat. I also added the warmth of 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Everything is better with vanilla. live in a state with high humidity and the changes I made must of helped because I easily broke the hokey pokey into bite sized pieces. It was wonderful and I will joyfully make it during the holidays. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Remember this from childhood,was great to have a recipe. But the timing is a little tricky. And don`t even attempt on a humid day. My first attempt ,though good,left an aftertaste of Baking Soda,so i am sifting it into the candy . VIP...have "everything" ready,BEFORE making candy,as it goes fast and no time once you start. Yum!! Enjoy watching Nigella,as she seems to truly enjoy what she is doing!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Haven't made this, but others like it. Put the baking soda in a small strainer and shake it over the mixture. Yes, humidity is critical - lower the better. item not reviewed by moderator and published
After finally buying dark corn syrup, I made the Hokey Pokey. It was okay but I was not overwhelmed. However, knowing the little piggies at work, I packaged it up for them. It was a major hit. One VP said it was in the top three of the goodies I've taken in and there have been a lot of them. Did I miss something when I typed the recipe into my cookbook? I didn't see anything about the temperature it should reach. I don't know if I should get out my candy thermometer or just go with the color like I did the first time. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Does humidity affect the result - I live in a sub-tropical climate? Can anyone advise? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Great recipe for honeycomb, made even better by a bath in chocolate. Very important for this or any candy making to use a heavy bottom pan like La Creuset or to keep the heat very low. Sugar will burn easily otherwise. Makes a nice Christmas present. Thanks, Nigella! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just watched the show on which this was made, and decided to give it a try. Contrary to the recipe, I made sure to use Golden Syrup, like Nigella did on the show. I'm not sure if the dark corn syrup that is listed is the same thing, and who knows? perhaps it is more difficult to work with but I had no trouble whatsoever. I made sure to swirl the pan (quite often) as the mixture was cooking (not stir!), and as soon as it hit 300 degrees, I removed it from the heat and mixed in the baking soda - my only error was that I did not stir the mixture quite enough, and ended up with a few pockets of baking soda. The end result was lovely, golden and delicious. As a bit of a experiment I placed squares of milk chocolate on the top as it was cooling. When it melted, I spread the chocolate over top in a thin layer. This section I placed in the refrigerator to cool the chocolate - the end result? Homemade Crunchie bars.. yum. I will definitely make this again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this, and the candy turned out perfect the first time, but I didn't grease the parchment, and it stuck. So the second attempt turned out great as well! I put it in a cheap, clear plastic jar which had lime green tissue paper as a liner, and a golden ribbon, which matched the candy around it. It looked great, and sparked a new idea for giving the candy as gifts. Everyone who tried it loved it and wanted more! Many says it tastes like peanut-less peanut brittle. So I may add peanuts for my peanut brittle loving family! Oh yes, I took the suggestion from on of the reviewers, and allowed it to heat to 300 degree F. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I took the advice of other reviewers and cooked my sugar/corn syrup to 300F. I also cut down on the baking soda to 1tsp. Mine did turn out a little burned tasting- probably should take my sugar/corn syrup mix off a little earlier (maybe 285-290F- to compensate for the carry over cooking heat). Also, I'd suggest sifting your baking soda (I failed to, and found my candy had some clumps of baking soda in it when breaking it apart- not so tasty) before adding it to your hot mix. One last thing I'd like to point out- it took a LOT LONGER than 3 minutes to boil my sugar to ~300F! Otherwise, not such a bad first try! item not reviewed by moderator and published
First two tries came out flat, then I doubled the recipe. Third try the sugar was smoking when the candy thermometer was still too low but I trusted my nose instead and poared it. It was mushy-sticky. Fourth try I stuck to my guns and waited as long as I could with the smoking sugar, poaring it at about 285 degrees. The result tastes burned. How do you folks get to this heat without stirring and not burn the sugar to the bottom of the pan? Let alone at "high heat" or "medium-high heat". I've been working on this for a pot-luck and it has been quite a disappointment. And a rating of EASY! Just crazy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It took me 3 times to get it right. It would have taken only one if I had read the reviews first! This recipe is not written very well. I work with the mentally challanged, and I test the recipes before I send it out to the staff and group homes. They have to be easy and simply direct, but not leave out important things! Will make the following adjustments to it before I send it out. Melt at MEDIUM HIGH until it reaches 300 degrees F. If you do not have a candy thermometer, drop a teaspoon of boiling candy into a glass of ice water to test for the "hard crack" candy stage. It should harden into a little ball when dropped into the glass of water. It came out beautiful and looked fluffy like Nigella's when I poured it out the third time. Delicious! Our guys are going to have fun making it and eating it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have tried to make this recipe twice. The first time it did not harden. Instead, it solidified into more of a "taffy" consistency. However, at least it tasted okay the first time. I was so determined to get it right that I bought a candy thermometer to ensure I reached the correct temperature. Then when I added the baking soda, the entire mixture nearly exploded into an unruly foam that almost burnt my hand!!! Luckily I was wearing The 'Ove' Glove (c) and I had my parchment paper right next to the stove ready-to-go. I didn't even get a chance to mix most of the baking soda in before it exploded. It smelled and tasted like a burnt marshmallow. Even worse, the baking soda had an aftertaste that made my mouth tingle for the next 20 min. It was disgusting and tasted like PURE CARBON! Believe me, I am very forgiving with new recipes but this was really, really bad. Btw, if anyone has children that like to help out in the kitchen, DO NOT COOK THIS RECIPE WITH THEM. IT COULD BE DANGEROUS!!! But don't worry, Food Network, I still love to watch Nigella Express. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just made a batch of this and it's so good! I read all the reviews and cooked the syrup to 300 degrees. It set up so light and airy. I didn't really detect the metallic taste that some mentioned, though I did drizzle a little dark chocolate over the top. It's just like the sponge candy we buy at Christmastime around here, only better and cheaper. Next time I'm gonna try granulated brown sugar and white corn syrup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I watched this show from my Tivo many many times. I tried this recipe 3 times and it did not turn out. Neither of the honeycomb recipes from food tv worked for me. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I treat myself to this candy at the holidays, when I go to the candy store. Who knew it was so easy to make! I followed the advise of the others and used a candy thermometer to bring it to 300 degrees. I doubled the recipe and used 1/2c white and 1/2c brown sugar. Turned out better than the candy store. It is humid here now and I noticed that after about 1/2 hour, the candy started to break down. I put it in and air tight container and it was fine for the 2 whole days it lasted. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Candy did not become crunchy and tasted strange. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I remember this from when I was a little girl in Manchester England. I can't wait to make it again. I love all of Nigella's recipes and her TV show is fabulous. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I really like watching Nigella, I think she has some really good ideas... I tried this recipe and it was really wasy to make, but I think the baking soda gave it an off salty-metallic after taste. I should maybe try using 1 tsp, instead of 1 and 1/2? item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is truly delicious. This reminds me of a Korean street food candy, a delicious treat, called BOKI. Make sure you cook it long enough, or else it is a mess, and your dentist will be quite angered. Otherwise, simply yummy! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I took the advice of the other reviewers and used a candy thermometer. I doubled the recipe, otherwise, there wouldn't have been enough volume for the thermometer to read accurately. I almost gave this 4 stars because there was a strong baking soda after taste. However, after I coated the pieces in melted milk chocolate and chilled in the fridge, thus making my own "Crunchie" bars, the aftertaste disappeared. Crunchie has always been my favorite candy bar, and they are so hard to find in the states - and when you do, they are stupid expensive! I can't wait to surprise my Crunchie-loving friends! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've seen reviews all over the map about this recipe (on a bunch of different boards). Part of the problem is that the amount of time and the exact stove setting aren't clear, which can lead to disappointing and chewy candy. Cook it at medium-high for 5 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, it'll be at hard crack (300dg) then. Remove it from the heat and then whisk in your bicarb. You can then wait till it cools on the whisk to snap off little snacks :) And if you didn't use a non-stick pot, you can chisel out the stuff that stuck to the walls. Yummy! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I found this worked very well indeed, I do think my idea of maple syrup would be a little on the dark side but it set up just lovely and I was laughing away at the strangeness of it all! It tasted delicious and I didnt detect the bicarb. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried this recipe, but there is no way of knowing how ling to cook it. I ended up under-cooking it, and though it tasted yummy, it was very difficult to eat, because it all stuck together. I gave it three stars instead of two because I will try this again and I am hopeful. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is exactly like the center of a candy bar I used to get in England all the time! (Crunchie) You just have to be sure to boil the mixture for a full 3 minutes otherwise it won't harden. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this recipe with my 12 year-old son, who is a budding chef. He enjoyed the 'science' aspect of the recipe, as well as hammering the honeycomb into bite-sized pieces. It tastes wonderful - like the insides of a Violet Crumble candy. This will be my new holiday gift-giving staple! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I don't know why this didn't turn out. I followed the recipe exactly and it looked (during the cooking process) just like Nigella's. However, when I put it on the parchment, it spread extremely thin and was so terribly sticky. Even 24 hours after letting it set, it was bendable and nearly pulled out my teeth when I tried to chew it. I think the flavor would have been good had it been solid and crispy, as I think its supposed to be, however, mine just turned into an inedible ridiculously sticky toffee-like substance. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried two versions of this recipe - one with brown sugar and corn syrup, and the second with white sugar and honey. The brown sugar version is really yummy - very good and something I would give away to friends. The honey version is still setting up, so I will have to let you all know how it tastes. It is more puffy and has a beautiful, almost golden amber color to it. I've always loved honeycomb candy and never knew how to make it. Thanks Nigella! item not reviewed by moderator and published