There is an episode of cooking with Nigella Lawson where she makes a box of honeycombs to take to a dinner. Just the presentation where she grabs a bunch of shards in her hand and stuffs it into a tissue lined box, the honeycombs glistening from inside, made it so appealing, and ever since I’ve wanted to make them. In reality, I can’t even look at a honeycomb as I have the worst case of trypophobia and looking at the shape gives me the heebie-jeebies. The ones I made at home, however, sent a different kind of shiver down my spine. These honeycombs were golden, airy, crunchy, and crumbled into a golden dust under the touch.
It took me forever to get it there, though. To make a honeycomb, you have to heat sugar and syrup and make it foam by adding baking powder. I know, it sounds super simple right? And I swear it is, but the truth is, that there are a hundred recipes out there and sometimes not all of them work. In my case, it was about seven recipes that didn’t work. I was making this for the graduate school cupcake competition and the first three or four times, I was just left with a big sugar goo that stuck to everything. That was hell to clean. Another time, it foamed just like it’s supposed to and I, impatiently, waited for it to harden, so sure that it had worked. Boy, was I sorely disappointed when it turned out to be nothing more than a hard sugar slab with no bubbles.
I’d already started to bargain with myself that I was doing the fondant bees with my lemon honey cupcakes, and that maybe I could do away with the honeycombs. I was making a pretty convincing argument about wasting resources, but my ego kept pushing for one more time. I refused to be beat by something that requires just three steps! So, the morning of the competition, I tried, again. This time adding to the recipe, a pinch of cream of tartar and it did the trick! As I poured that bubbling foam onto the silicone sheet, I knew that I’d gotten it right. It shattered into perfect shards when I brought down the mallet in glee.
Honeycombs are not just a delicious snack, it’s super fun to make too! Try it out, it really is the best gift to take to a dinner.
You can find the complete recipe here.