This is essentially toffee with bicarb soda added to make the flavour, froth and bubble that characterise honeycomb.
This recipe requires an eagle eye - you must take the toffee off the heat just as it begins to colour. Don't wait until it is honey-hued or you'll end up with an awful burnt mess. It colours in a flash once you add the bicarb. But, let's face it, it takes only 15 minutes to cook and costs next to nothing, so if you don't get it right the first time, don't be put off - try again.
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp corn syrup (available from health food shops and some supermarkets)
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted into a dessertspoon of water
� Melt sugar and syrup in a pan for about 5 minutes, stirring gently. Increase the heat to boiling as the thick, granular mixture becomes more liquid. Once the entire surface is boiling gently, cook without stirring for about 10 minutes. Get ready! As soon as the surface turns yellow, sprinkle dissolved bicarbonate of soda over as wide an area as possible and stir through as quickly but gently as you can - be sure to take only a few seconds, or you'll lose the volume. Don't worry if tiny specks of bicarb remain. The mixture will froth up spectacularly and the trick is to combine the bicarb while bursting the bubbles as little as possible.
� Pour into a non-stick, paper-lined 30 x 25cm rectangular lamington tin (cut paper a couple of centimetres too big on all sides then make a diagonal cut from each corner to the base side so it fits snugly, overlapping at corners) and leave to harden.
� Break into shards or rough squares and keep in airtight containers until ready to package into bags or cellophane.
A recipe that uses a confectionery thermometer for accuracy, although you can easily do without one. You can use either cocoa or chocolate but the colour and flavour are better with both.
4 tbsp water
3 cups castor sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
3/4 tin condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
2 tbsp cocoa, sifted
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
� Butter or line an 18cm square (or similar sized) tin with non-stick paper.
� Melt butter, water, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over gentle heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, without slopping the sides of the saucepan. Add condensed milk and bring to a gentle rolling boil, stirring continuously for 10 minutes. The mixture should be a pale caramel colour and either reach 118C or be at the "soft ball" stage.
� Add vanilla, cocoa and chocolate and stir through. Leave to cool slightly and wait for the bubbles to subside.
� Beat mixture with a wooden spoon or whisk until it is thick and creamy and leaves a trail as it falls from the spoon. Pour into prepared tin and allow to set. Cut into small cubes when solid. Store in an airtight container.
There are several additions, such as cream of tartar, vinegar or salt, that many makers swear are essential to the success of meringues and pavlovas but the basic combination is fresh egg whites and sugar. The quantities here are a rule of thumb, so multiply according to your needs. One egg white will make about 15 tiny meringues. Endlessly versatile, meringues can be piled in a stack glued with cream, buttercream or chocolate to make a spectacular cake. For children's parties you can add a drop of food colouring with the vanilla, or use a piping bag to make shapes or animals.
1 egg white
60g or 2 tbsp castor sugar
1 drop pure vanilla essence
� Preheat oven to 150C. Grease a baking tray or cut a sheet of non-stick baking paper to fit.
� Beat egg white until stiff, gradually beating in the sugar, then adding the vanilla towards the end of the beating. The mixture should be stiff and glossy.
� Using two teaspoons, drop tiny peaked balls (or whichever shape you prefer) on to the tray. Bake for about 40 minutes until crisp.
� Meringues will colour very quickly so if you want little golden peaks, turn the heat up slightly but watch closely or they'll be black in a moment! Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Buttered brazil nuts
A more adult interpretation of toffee, this combines buttery caramel and the unusual texture of brazil nuts. The texture of macadamias suits this old favourite too.
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tbsp corn syrup or liquid glucose syrup
2 tbsp dark rum or other alcohol such as Cointreau, Frangelico or brandy
300g whole shelled brazil and/or macadamia nuts
� Gently stir sugar into water and syrup, until dissolved, in a saucepan over gentle heat. Bring to the boil and cook steadily without stirring for about 10 minutes or until the temperature reaches 120C (or when a little thickened syrup dropped into cold water is at the "soft ball" stage, when moulded between your fingers).
� Add butter and rum, pick up the saucepan and gently swirl the syrup to combine but do not stir. Turn the heat down slightly, maintaining a gentle boil for another 15 minutes. The mixture will slowly colour and thicken as the bubbles become large and burst slowly.
� Add the nuts without stirring, swirl to cover them and set aside for a minute to cool.
� Remove nuts from syrup with a teaspoon and place on to non-stick paper or a greased oven tray.
� As the toffee hardens, spoon a tiny dob over any that do not have a good coating on top or a little pool of caramel around them. You'll need to work quickly but you can reheat the toffee very gently if it hardens too much before you finish.
� Store in an airtight container until ready to package.
5 cups icing sugar, sifted
3 cups desiccated coconut
400g tin sweetened condensed milk
1 egg white, slightly beatenred or pink food colouring
� Line a 20cm square baking pan (or similar) with non-stick baking paper or foil.
� Combine icing sugar, coconut, condensed milk and egg white in a large bowl. Work the liquids through evenly.
� Press half the mixture into the prepared pan.
� Add about a teaspoon of colouring (about 10 drops - you may need less or more depending on which food colouring you use) to the remainder, combine and press on top of white layer.
� Leave to set in fridge then cut with a knife dipped in hot water for a nice, clean edge.
� Store in the fridge.
Adopt an air of confidence when making toffee and it's easy. The key is to melt sugar and heat it to the point at which it caramelises and colours, without creating a smoking, molten disaster. Catch it at the right stage and you can do a lot with it. The easiest way is to pour portions into paper patty cups as soon as the mixture turns golden. Take it off the heat at that point and you can colour it with edible food dye to great effect. As it cools you can spoon pools onto non-stick paper and insert toothpicks or cut-down skewers to make lollipops. When cool, fold a small piece of cellophane over each to keep the stickiness factor to a minimum.
If you're feeling more daring, spread the lot on to non-stick baking paper. When cool enough to touch, cut quickly into narrow strips and twist. Set aside to harden.
Keep toffees of any shape cool but not refrigerated and eat as soon as possible as they will turn into a runny mess at any opportunity.
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
� Dissolve sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stirring gently to minimise liquid slopping on the side of the pan, as this will crystallise. When the sugar is no longer granular, raise the heat and bring to the boil, uncovered and without stirring, for about 15 minutes.
� Keep an eye on the mixture but don't be tempted to shake or stir. You'll notice the bubbles change as the liquid reduces. At first the consistency is watery and the bubbles small and frenetic, later it becomes syrupy and the bubbles become larger and seem to pop slowly. You're nearly there.
� Set out 12 paper patty cups (preferably in muffin or patty cake trays) and watch for the moment when the toffee begins to turn yellow then golden.
� As soon as the mixture is a mid-golden colour, remove from the heat. Set aside to allow the bubbles to subside, then pour into the pans. Cool slightly and, if you wish, decorate with sprinkles.
� Fill the saucepan with water and boil to remove the toffee.
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of cold water
1 tablespoon of white vinegar (this helps to spot colour change quicker)
* place all ingredients in a saucepan.
* stir over heat until sugar dissolves bring to the boil (do not stir)
* cook until golden brown, remove from heat and allow bubbles to settle.
* pour into small patty cake papers
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup glucose
1/4 cup warm water
1 pinch salt (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
* Stir sugar, water, glucose and salt in a 2ltr pyrex jug or bowl
* Microwave on high for 7mins or untill the mix is starting to turn a light golden colour
* Mix in the vanilla and butter, microwave on high for another 1 minute.
* Take out and stir in the peanuts and bicarb quickly
* Pour onto lightly greased baking tray and spread with the back of 2 spoons sprayed lightly with spray oil.
* Sit until cool and set . Break into pieces.
NB: Based on a 800w microwave, Store in an airtight cool dry place