“It is a lovely place, my house,” said the Queen. “I am sure you would like it. There are whole rooms full of Turkish Delight.”
– The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
This year, we have a new feature on Advent Tuesdays!
“Treats the Kids Have Never Tried Before”
The kids are no strangers to candy science. So, we thought we’d begin our foray into old-school treats with something of a science experiment, creating “bubbles” in candy by incorporating baking soda. Hence, the honeycomb! We’ll follow that up with a gelatin-free recipe for Turkish Delight. You can easily make these recipes vegan by substituting the honey for golden or light syrup.
2.5 c sugar
.25 c honey
.5 c golden syrup or light corn syrup
.3 c water
1 tbs and 2 tsp baking soda
1 tbs vanilla
Optional: A few ounces of chocolate for melting and dipping or coating
Grease, line bottom and sides with parchment, and re-grease a 9 or 10 in springform pan [round or square] or, for a thinner toffee, line a 9×13 rectangular baking tray with a silpat. [We also hear that those oven-safe rubberized baking pans work like a dream!]
Measure out baking soda into a small bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan mix sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla with a spatula or whisk over medium heat until combined.
Attach candy thermometer and, without any more stirring, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
Just when the temperature of the candy reaches 300F/148C (about 12-14 mins), remove thermometer and remove from heat!
Whisk in the baking soda for about 5-8 seconds.
[There trick here is to neither be too shy nor too aggressive. You must make sure that all of the baking soda gets incorporated, or you will have both pockets full of soda on the top and hard candy patches on the bottom of your toffee. Still, you want to encourage the puffing up as much as possible!]
Just watch! The mixture will puff up and triple before your eyes.
Without further disturbing the bubbles, pour the puffy mixture into your prepared pan.
Let cool completely.
Crack with a knife, a hammer, or strong hands.
Optional: Dip or coat pieces in melted chocolate.
[Fully coated pieces may store longer than plain honeycomb]
Cool in a ridiculously airtight container or just eat it all before it deflates.
with Hazelnuts & Cognac*
*The nuts and alcohol are optional. See Alternative Flavour Profiles below.
3 c sugar
3 c water
1.25 c cornstarch
1.25 c coarse chopped, just-roasted hazelnuts [optional]
1.75 c icing sugar
.5 c honey
1 tbs vanilla
1 tbs cognac [optional]
1.125 tsp cream of tartar
Dab the bottom and all four edges of a 9×13-in or 9×9-in cake pan with oil.
Line completely with two sheets of parchment, in an x.
Coat entirely with oil or baking spray.
Combine the 3 c sugar, .5 honey, .125 tsp tartar and .5 c water in a saucepan with a spatula.
Insert a candy thermometer and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook without stirring until it reaches 260F/127C.
This will take about 14 -16 mins, in which time you will also prepare a second pot of thick white paste, just below.
In a separate, slightly larger saucepan, mix 1 c cornstarch, 1 c icing sugar, 2.5 c water, 1 tsp tartar.
Place this second pot with cornstarch over medium heat and whisk for 2-3 minutes as it thickens.
Remove from heat.
When the first mixture reaches 260F/127C, remove from the heat.
Slowly pour the smaller pot [the sweet, first mixture] into the second pot [the thick cornstarch paste].
Whisk heroically to combine.
Bring this pot of combined ingredients into a low boil over medium heat. [This takes maybe 30 seconds.]
Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
Stirring and scraping the pot constantly, simmer until thick and gluey and golden, 32-42 minutes.
[It will become more difficult to stir the candy as it thickens.]
Remove the pot from the heat.
Add the vanilla, cognac, and nuts with a spatula.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Allow the turkish delight o cool and set completely, about half a day,
Refrigerate if you want to speed up the process.
Mix your final .75 c icing sugar and .25 c cornstarch in a bowl.
Remove the turkish delight by lifting the parchment from the pan.
Slice the turkish delight into small cubes.
Dredge the cubes in the sugar and cornstarch mixture.
Enjoy! Extras may be stored in an airtight container in sticky piles, or in neat rows between layers of waxed paper or parchment.
Alternative Flavour Profiles for Turkish Delight
1.24 c add-in : 1 tbs liquid
Peanuts : Bourbon or Lemon Juice
Pistachios : Tequila or Lime Juice
Coconut : Rose Water [reduce to 1 tsp] or Pomegranate Juice
Cashews : Rum or Orange Juice
Chopped Dates : Cinnamon Whiskey or Elderflower Syrup
Almonds : Almond Extract [reduce to 1 tsp]
Many thanks to the friends and family who have offered their old-fashioned recipes this Advent!