Honeycomb toffee

Honeycomb toffee, honeycomb candy, sponge toffee, cinder toffee, seafoam, or hokey pokey is a sugary toffee with a light, rigid, sponge-like texture. Its main ingredients are typically brown sugar (or corn syrup, molasses or golden syrup) and baking soda, sometimes with an acid such as vinegar. The baking soda and acid react to form carbon dioxide which is trapped in the highly viscous mixture. When acid is not used, thermal decomposition of the baking soda releases carbon dioxide. The sponge-like structure is formed while the sugar is liquid, then the toffee sets hard. The candy goes by a variety of names and regional variants.

Honeycomb toffee
Alternative namesSponge candy, honeycomb candy, sponge toffee, cinder toffee, seafoam, golden crunchers, hokey pokey
Main ingredientsBrown sugar, corn syrup (or molasses or golden syrup), baking soda

Owing to its relatively simple recipe and quick preparation time, in some regions it is often made at home, and is a popular recipe for children. It is also made commercially and sold in small blocks, or covered in chocolate, a popular example being the Crunchie bar of Britain or the Violet Crumble of Australia.

Regional names

Honeycomb toffee is known by a wide variety of names including:

In various cultures


In China, it is called fēngwōtáng (蜂窩糖; "honeycomb candy"). It is said to be a popular type of confectionery enjoyed during childhood of the post-80s.


In Hungary, it is known as törökméz (Turkish honey) and is commonly sold at town fairs.


The same confection is a traditional sweet in Japan known as karumeyaki (カルメ焼き), a portmanteau of the Portuguese word caramelo (caramel) and the Japanese word yaki (to bake), and thus can be roughly translated into English as 'baked caramel' or 'grilled caramel'. It is typically hand-made, and often sold by street vendors.

In Japan, raw egg whites are mixed with the baking soda to make the final product have a puffed up, dome shape.

South Korea

Dalgona (달고나) is a Korean candy made with melted sugar and baking soda.[12][13] It was a popular street snack in the 1970s and 1980s, and is still eaten as a retro food.[14]

New Zealand

Honeycomb toffee is known as hokey pokey (especially in the Kiwi classic Hokey Pokey ice cream) in New Zealand. A very popular ice-cream flavour consisting of plain vanilla ice cream with small, solid lumps of honeycomb toffee is also known as hokey pokey. It is also used to make hokey pokey biscuits.


In Taiwan, it is called swollen sugar (膨糖, péngtáng or 椪糖, pèngtáng).

See also


  1. Connelly, Andy (2010-09-24). "The science and magic of cinder toffee | Andy Connelly | Science | guardian.co.uk". Guardian. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  2. "Two local chocolate makers battle over use of 'fairy food'". JSOnline.com. December 22, 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  3. "Papers Past — Evening Post — 19 December 1927 — THE TRUANT STAR". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 1927-12-19. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  4. Chelsea's team of cooks, added 25 May 2011 (2011-05-25). "Chelsea Sugar - Hokey Pokey". Chelsea.co.nz. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  5. "Hokey Pokey - New Zealand Kids Recipe at KiwiWise". Kiwiwise.co.nz. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  6. "Popular Kiwi recipes – pavlova, anzac biscuits, roast lamb, pikelets etc". Kiwianatown.co.nz. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  7. "Food - Honeycomb recipes". BBC. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  8. "Hill Top Candy". hilltop candy.com. 2015. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  9. S.W.R.I. (1977). S.W.R.I. Jubilee Cookery Book. Edinburgh: Scottish Women's Rural Institutes; Reprint of 8th Edition (1968), p179
  10. "Sponge Candy: Chocolate, With a Center of Honeycomb". BuffaloChow.com. January 1, 2008. Archived from the original on December 31, 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  11. "Sponge Toffee Recipe". CanadianLiving.com. Fall 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  12. AsiaToday (31 January 2017). "Korean Cuisine Introduced at JNU International Food Festival". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  13. Cho, Chung-un (24 February 2017). "[Eye Plus] Forgotten past relived at Tongin Market". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  14. Seoul Metropolitan Government (2010). Seoul Guide Book. Seoul: Gil-Job-E Media. p. 150.
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