We’ve teamed up with our friends at All-Clad to bring you Pans With a Plan—a series sharing smart techniques, tasty recipe ideas, and all sorts of handy tips for cooking novices and seasoned pros alike. Here, food stylist and recipe developer Max Rappaport shares a crunchy, chocolatey homemade treat just in time for Halloween using All-Clad’s D3® Stainless 3-Quart Sauce Pan (a candy-making must-have).
As a wide-eyed, sweet-toothed kid, no holiday sparked more joy than Halloween. I loved to dress up in costume, of course (most famously as an adorable red M&M in elementary school), but more importantly, I had a ferocious appetite for candy. After a successful night of trick or treating, my friends and I would dump our pillow cases of candy on the dining table, admire our mountain of sweet satisfaction, and begin sorting them according to our favorites. I won’t bore you with the full rankings, but I will tell you that my top candies were always the perfect combination of chocolatey and crunchy.
While I consider myself something of a candy aficionado, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered some of the best chocolate bars were produced in the United Kingdom. The best of the best, after many taste tests: Cadbury’s Crunchie bar, featuring an airy, crunchy honeycomb toffee candy enrobed in silky-smooth milk chocolate. These legendary candy bars aren’t always easy to find here in the States, and since Halloween is right around the corner, I decided to try and recreate the taste and texture with a homemade version.
Luckily, it’s actually fairly simple to pull off with a few of the right tools and techniques—here’s what you’ll need…
The Right Equipment for Candy Making
Boiling sugar for honeycomb candy can be tricky business, so having the right equipment is essential. Most importantly, you’ll want to use a sturdy pan, like All-Clad’s D3® Stainless Sauce Pan. These pans are the benchmark for home cooks and professionals alike, built with layers of aluminum and stainless steel sandwiched together to spread heat evenly and hold a steady temperature. They’ve been a personal favorite of mine for years, and while an investment, are guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Another must-have tool: a candy thermometer or a digital instant-read thermometer. Honeycomb candy cooks until it reaches 300°F, and the only way to know when it reaches that temperature is to check. If your honeycomb is cooked to the right temp, your candy will be crispy, crunchy, and delicious—if not, it could turn out sticky and chewy.
The Magic of Honeycomb Candy
There’s something otherworldly about the ethereal, feathery texture of honeycomb candy. When baking soda hits the hot sugar syrup, carbon dioxide is released and trapped in the sticky mixture. The texture is initially crunchy and toffee-like, and then starts to melt in your mouth like a delicious caramel.
The key to successful honeycomb candy is in the preparation. While this recipe is fairly straightforward, working with boiling sugar is always a little bit difficult. Be careful not to spill any candy on yourself and please (please!) do not try to taste the hot sugar mixture. Before boiling your candy, prepare your sheet pan with parchment in advance, have your baking soda measured, and a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula ready to transfer the bubbling candy.
Once the honeycomb candy cools completely, it can be artfully shattered into bite-size shards by breaking it apart with your hands, dropping it on a flat surface, or smashing with a rolling pin. If you’re hoping to recreate the rectangular appearance of a candy bar, use a serrated knife to gently saw through the hardened candy; it may not look absolutely perfect, but it will taste great.
Don’t Forget the Chocolate & Toppings
Honeycomb candy can be enjoyed on its own, but it’s infinitely better dipped in chocolate. While you can melt your chocolate gently over a double boiler, my go-to method for melting chocolate is in the microwave. Simply add finely chopped chocolate to a glass bowl and microwave in 10-second increments on medium power, stirring between each round in the microwave. This gentle method produces surprisingly amazing results and is much easier than the stove-top alternative.
With your honeycomb candy shards or bars all ready, you can dunk each piece in chocolate and top with a few optional extras. Here are a few topping ideas if you want to get fancy with it:
- Flaky sea salt, like Maldon
- Chopped dried or candied fruit (think: oranges, cherries, or apricots)
- Crushed nuts, like pistachios, peanuts, or hazelnuts
- Rainbow sprinkles (or even better, Halloween-themed sprinkles)
What’s your all-time favorite Halloween candy? Tell us in the comments below
In partnership with All-Clad we’re bringing you tips, techniques, and lots of delicious recipe ideas for every piece of cookware in your kitchen—from sauté pans to stockpots. Need to stock up on some new cooking equipment, or upgrade your current collection? All-Clad’s D3® Stainless collection has all the essentials you need to turn out a variety of dishes.
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