Cadbury’s gets the credit for spreading this crunchy sponge candy around the world in the early 1900’s.
Also known as seafoam candy, and cinder toffee, it is still very popular today.
It has had many incarnations over the years, and it is surprisingly easy to make at home.
It is very crowd-pleasing, and will make you many fast friends!
I make this sponge candy specifically at the holidays and it’s hard to keep enough of it around.
It seems to disappear as quickly as I can get it made, but then that’s what candy is for!
What is Sponge Candy?
Sponge candy is a delicate, light toffee candy that is often covered with a layer of chocolate.
It has the feel and look of a cross between honeycomb and sea foam.
It tastes a bit like toasted molasses, and sweetness itself.
The texture is sort of like peanut brittle, but a little less crunchy and more light and airy.
It gets its light and airy characteristic because of the baking soda used to make it.
Crunchy and extra sweet, when combined with dark chocolate it can be hard to resist!
You can also grind the candy up and use it as a wonderful topping on ice cream.
Just a friendly warning that if you make this sponge candy, don’t expect it to sit in your house for long.
Our batch proved very popular with our visiting friends and family, and was gone in a couple of days.
What is Sponge Candy Made Of?
Sponge candy is an incredibly basic yet rewarding dessert to make.
This homemade candy recipe is made up of 4 simple ingredients:
- Corn Syrup
- Baking Soda
I also like to dip and coat the candy in creamy milk or dark chocolate.
You can also experiment with different variations on the coating.
Try using different flavored chocolates that you can easily buy from any candy store.
Alternatively, you can flavor with your own chocolate coating mixture.
Try putting chopped nuts into the chocolate before coating the candy.
Or you can create a toffee, caramel coating before you dip it into chocolate for a sponge toffee candy.
One combination that I like is milk chocolate with salted caramel and sea salt flakes.
Where Did Sponge Candy Originate?
Sponge candy is a proud creation from the city of Buffalo, NY.
Although the history is slightly murky on how it was created, there is a generally recognised theory.
It most likely was discovered by accident, as most of the greatest inventions are.
Baking soda was inadvertently added to the other ingredients that had been heated and a masterpiece was born.
There are many varieties of this candy that are eaten right around the world, such as the following:
- Honeycomb (Australia)
- Cinder Toffee (UK)
- Sea Foam (Pacific Northwest)
- Fairy Food (Chicago)
- Molasses Puff (St Louis)
How to Make Sponge Candy
Making sponge candy is a very simple process, and one that you can have fun with, especially with a young helper.
Kids are fascinated with the foaming process the candy goes through.
You end up producing a candy that looks like it would be complex; only be made by professionals.
After making this you will see just how straightforward it actually is, and you will become the professional.
It takes just four simple ingredients: vinegar, sugar, corn syrup and baking soda.
Prepare a pan and line with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Combine the sugar, dark corn syrup and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir, making sure all of the ingredients have combined and the sugar is dissolved.
Cooking without stirring and using a candy thermometer, heat the mixture to 300ºF (150ºC), then remove from heat.
Now for the fun exciting part!
Immediately add the baking soda and stir well.
Now you will see that the mixture will begin to bubble and look very much like a witch’s cauldron.
Pour the mixture into the lined pan, and leave it to cool down completely.
It can be very sticky so just use cold water to clean up any messes.
Don’t panic if your mixture starts expanding bigger than your pan.
Scrape off any additional candy batter into another pan
Is It Gluten-Free?
Excitingly for people who don’t eat gluten, sponge candy is totally gluten-free!
It’s always thrilling to find a really delicious, sweet dessert that doesn’t contain gluten.
Sponge Candy Recipe
- 1½ cups Sugar
- 1½ cups Dark Corn Syrup
- 1½ tbsp White Vinegar
- 1½ tbsp Baking Soda
- Prepare a 9x13 pan by putting parchment paper on the bottom. Line the pan with foil. Allow the foil to come up the side of the pan to act as handles once the candy has cooled.
- Mix sugar, corn syrup, and white vinegar in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Without stirring continue to heat until temperature reaches 300ºF (150ºC) on a candy thermometer.
- Remove from the heat. Immediately add the baking soda and stir well.
- Pour into prepared pan. Cool completely.
- Once cool, lift candy out using the foil.
- Break candy into pieces. Cover with dark chocolate (optional). Milk chocolate is also an option.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.