How to make Honeycomb

Honeycomb is a well known candy in Australia and in the UK. For many people it’s synonymous with a Crunchie or Violet Crumble chocolate bar. It’s not that popular here in the United States and most people don’t really know what it is or what it tastes like. It has a distinct almost burnt caramel flavor with a dry crunchy texture. Why do I like it? It’s an essential ingredient in the creation of Bills Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter. “Those hotcakes sound amazing.”, I hear you saying. Don’t worry, a blog post about those delicious hotcakes and said butter will arrive shortly. When I do get the urge for these hotcakes the inevitable question is “Where will I get the honeycomb from?” There are two options, each with  pros and cons.

Option 1 – Buy a bunch of crunchie bars from the nearby supermarket or specialty grocery store and “extract” the honeycomb by shaving off the chocolate with a knife. Side note: Just wanted to give a shout out to my local deli/cafe/food store called Depanneur  who stock crunchies. I’ve seen crunchies in lots of corner stores and supermarkets in New York these days. If you’re in NYC I’m confident that you can find it. Here are some photos of my handywork with Crunchie bars in the past.

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  • PROS – Low risk and can be a time saver.
  • CONS – Waste of money plus these are chocolate bars so there’s a bit of effort involved in scraping off the outer chocolate layer to get what you’re after. Hmm, what would you do with all that delicious “unnecessary” chocolate I wonder? Now Bills recipe (for example) says that for a decadent treat why not use the crunchie bars as is but honestly it’s just too rich. Also, I want to re-create Bills dish. I don’t want chocolate honeycomb butter, I want honeycomb cutter.

Option 2 – Make it from scratch which is what this post is all about.

  • PROS – You have the satisfaction of knowing that you created all components of your dish from scratch and you have lots of spare honeycomb candy lying around.
  • CONS – High risk and multiple attempts may be necessary. Also, be careful when making your honeycomb. The sugar will get incredibly hot and will burn if not handled properly. Oh and your dentist is gonna hate you.

Ok. Let’s get cracking and make us some honeycomb.

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Nigella Pasta

For so many years having pasta for dinner meant penne with a tomato based sauce. This is the kind of pasta I grew up eating and what I made for myself and my husband when we first moved in together. Don’t get me wrong, I still make this kind of pasta all the time. I even spruce it up a little with a sprinkling of basil, pinenuts and even a bit of feta cheese but that’s not what Nigella Pasta is all about.

One of the things I do (and I’m sure it’s not just me) as soon as I buy a new cookbook is read (at least skim) through the thing from cover to cover looking at things I might like to make. When I do this, I’m also applying the vegetarian filter. That’s not to say that the meat dishes don’t get attention, they eventually do! Finding something vegetarian that looks suitable as a main dish for dinner, isn’t too complicated and looks tasty isn’t always so easy. When I do find something that I think will work it’s a case of “ding ding ding! Let’s get cooking!” That’s what happened with Nigella Pasta. Five years have gone by and this pasta dish still makes a regular appearance at our dinner table. The mushrooms, lemon, thyme, garlic and parmesan give this dish plenty of flavor without the need for any cream although I guess the olive oil and salt help out in that department too!

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