This beetroot honeycomb is a not just a pretty face. It’s loaded with earthy flavour, white chocolate and a pinch of pink salt to round off the sweetness.
Honeycomb was one of the first things I created that made me fall completely in love with baking. It’s got that magic – like meringue – where you can make something glorious out of a handful of very basic ingredients. It really comes down to science, but it’s still damn cool when you sprinkle bicarbonate of soda into a molten pot of caramel and it fizzes up like a heavenly volcano. And it seems the whole world has a thing for it too! Us South Africans call honeycomb coated in chocolate ‘crunchies’ (check out my recipe for them here), the rest of the world calls it cinder toffee (okay, America), or hokey pokey (because that’s what it’s all about, right Britain?).
It’s not often that you can create a recipe that no one else has thought of before. I often wake up in the middle of the night with what I think is the most brilliant idea ever for a cake or doughnut and think to myself ‘there’s no way anyone has thought of this!’ only for Google to tell me otherwise. This, is not one of those times. A quick google will tell you that beetroot honeycomb does not exist on the internet, until now! *happy dance*. Don’t be alarmed that I’m putting vegetables in sweets, this REALLY works. This beetroot honeycomb is still wonderfully sweet and crunchy but has a slight earthiness at the end. The white chocolate and sea salt do it a lot of favours too!
There are a few tricks to nailing this beetroot honeycomb so listen up:
- Never make honeycomb on a rainy or humid day. Sugar is hygroscopic (big Sciency word alert!) which means it absorbs any moisture from the air. That’s bad news if you’re making toffees, marshmallows etc as they usually end up sticky and dissolve into a puddle of syrup rather quickly.
- Use a sugar thermometer (there’s a list of my favourite baking gadgets over here)
- Whisk the bicarbonate of soda in thoroughly but not too much. If you don’t whisk it in thoroughly you end up with big air bubbles and risk biting into lumps of bicarb (yuck!). Whisk it too much and all the CO2 will be released and you’ll have no bubbles.
- Immediately put the honeycomb in the fridge or freezer. This is to quickly cool it down and set the structure before all the gas escapes. Once it’s set, remove it immediately (fridges/freezers have moisture too!)
- Silica sachets are your friend. You know those new shoes or that new handbag you’ve had your eye on? You definitely need to buy it so you can keep those silica sachets ;). Pop a few in the airtight container you’re storing the beetroot honeycomb in, and it will stay crisp and crunchy.
Or, you know, you can eat it all in one go and then you won’t have to worry about storage!
- BEETROOT HONEYCOMB
- 415g caster sugar or white sugar
- 150g glucose syrup
- 65g honey
- 70ml beetroot juice (you can swop this out for water, if you prefer)
- 18g bicarbonate of soda
- deep pink gel food colouring, as needed
- melted white chocolate and pink sea salt, to serve
- Line a deep 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
- Place the caster sugar, glucose syrup, honey and beetroot juice into a medium saucepan and place over low medium heat.
- Stir to dissolve the sugar completely then bring to the boil.
- Cook until mixture reaches 155 degrees Celsius on a sugar thermometer.
- Remove from heat, add the food colouring then carefully add bicarbonate of soda and whisk quickly to incorporate it well - about 1 minute.
- Quickly pour into prepared tray and place in the freezer to cool down as quickly as possible - about 20 minutes.
- Break into large chunks, dip into the melted white chocolate and sprinkle with pink sea salt.
- Allow to set completely then store in an airtight container.
- Honeycomb is best made on a dry day - wet rainy weather will cause the honeycomb to be wet and sticky.
- Save the silica sachets from new shoes and handbags and pop those into the airtight container with the honeycomb to keep it crisp and dry.