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Chocolate Cinder Toffee – Chocolate Dipped Honeycomb

Indulge in the nostalgia of a traditional UK sweetie recipe with our homemade Chocolate Cinder Toffee recipe, also known as “hokey pokey.” A delightful treat make from simple ingredients that’s fun to make and irresistibly moreish.

An overhead view of Cinder Toffee in a rectangle baking tin. Surrounding the tin are random pieces of uncoated and chocolate coated honeycomb and some wooden hearts for decoration.

What Makes This Recipe Great!

  • Nostalgic Delight: Relive the sweet memories of your childhood with this homemade Chocolate Cinder Toffee, a classic UK candy bar.
  • Simple Pleasures: You only need a few basic ingredients and easy steps to create a treat that’s better than store-bought candy bars.
  • Perfect for Celebrations: Whether it’s Christmas or Bonfire Night, birthday parties or bake sales, this chocolate honeycomb adds a delightful touch to your special moments. It’s a hit with kids and adults alike.

About This Recipe – In More Detail

Whip up a batch of this homemade Chocolate Cinder Toffee, which are like Homemade Crunchie Bars and step into the world of sweet nostalgia. Whether you’re serving it as part of a home-made Christmas hamper, for Guy Fawkes Night or as a Halloween treat, this chocolate honeycomb is guaranteed to put smiles on faces.

Now there is a knack to making the perfect cinder toffee and it does take a little practice, but watching the honeycomb mixture bubble up and become a golden brown homemade confectionary in an instant is a fun kitchen project you can enjoy with friends and family members. 

My recipe replicates the Chocolate Crunchie bar, with its irresistible taste of honeycomb enveloped in velvety milk chocolate. The satisfying crunch followed by the luscious melt of chocolate is a combination that’s hard to resist. You can even use them in this Homemade Crunchie Tiffin.

Perhaps, you’re introducing your kids to a part of your own childhood, with a recipe like this one or teaming it up with some of our other nostalgic recipes like this Traditional Coconut Ice or Maltesers Tiffin. Maybe you want to make some copycat chocolate bars like these Homemade Twix Bars or you’re busy preparing a special treat for a family gathering on the 5th November, this is a quick recipe choice for sweet treats to make and prepare at home without complicated ingredients.

A close up front view of the cinder toffee in a line leading to a turned up tin with a pile of Cinder toffee pieces pouring out.

Equipment Needed

  • Square Tin (20cm): You’ll use this to set the toffee mixture. Ensure it’s well-greased to prevent sticking. A silicone tin is another option to use.
  • Heavy-Bottomed Saucepan: You’ll need a large pan that is essential for melting the sugar and syrup without burning.
  • Whisk: You’ll be giving the mixture a good whisk to quickly incorporate the bicarbonate of soda into the hot sugar mixture.
  • Microwave-Safe Bowl: You’ll need this for melting the milk chocolate for coating the toffee.
  • Baking Sheet: To lay out the chocolate-coated cinder toffee for setting.
  • Sheet of Greaseproof Paper/Baking Paper: To place the chocolate-coated toffee upon to set.
  • Sugar Thermometer (optional): If you like to be precise with the heating time, you can use a thermometer and allow the mixture to reach 150°C (300°F), the “hard crack” stage

Ingredients

A labelled ingredient list with everything you need to make cinder toffee.
  • Caster Sugar: The primary sweetener in your cinder toffee. When heated, it caramelizes, creating that wonderful toffee flavour. Stick with white sugar as it will help you to be able to see when the cinder toffee is ready by the colour, without needing to use a candy thermometer.
  • Golden Syrup: Along with sugar, it helps sweeten the toffee and gives it a glossy finish. It’s also crucial for binding the mixture. If you cannot find it in the supermarket, you can make your own with this Golden Syrup Substitute.
  • Bicarbonate of Soda: This is the magical ingredient also known as baking soda, makes the toffee expand into a light and airy structure when you whisk it in. It’s what gives cinder toffee its distinctive texture.
  • Milk Chocolate: Used for coating each piece of cinder toffee. It adds a luscious layer of chocolate that balances the sweetness of the toffee. Milk Chocolate is the most popular pairing, however, you can also use dark chocolate or White chocolate for a range of flavours.
  • Vegetable Oil: You’ll use this to grease the tin. It ensures that the cinder toffee doesn’t stick to the surface, making it easier to remove later. You can also use sunflower oil too.

What is Cinder Toffee and Where Does it Come From?

Cinder toffee has a sweet history that goes back to the 18th and 19th centuries in the United Kingdom. It gained popularity at fairs, carnivals, and seaside resorts. The name “cinder” comes from its appearance, resembling tiny cinders or ash, thanks to its unique candy-making process.

cinder toffee goes by different names in different places. In some parts of the United Kingdom, it’s referred to as “honeycomb toffee.” Meanwhile, in New Zealand and parts of Australia, it’s known as “hokey pokey.” Despite these regional names, the core recipe remains quite similar, with minor flavour variations.

Cinder toffee is especially cherished during Halloween and Bonfire Night on the 5th November in the UK, you’ll often find it at various fairs, festivals, and celebrations. Sometimes, just like this recipe, it’s even coated completely in chocolate, resulting in a sweet treat known as “Crunchie” in the UK, featuring a honeycomb centre covered in a milk chocolate coat.


Step-By-Step Guide – How To Make Chocolate Coated Cinder Toffee

Step 1: Prepare the Tin and Ingredients

  • Grease a 20cm square tin with vegetable oil. Place it in a slightly warm oven to heat a little.
  • Measure out the bicarbonate of soda and set it aside.

Step 2: Create the Sugar and Syrup Mixture

  • Place the sugar and syrup into a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan.
  • Melt the sugar into the syrup over gentle heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat to medium. Let it bubble without stirring until it turns slightly golden (usually just a couple of minutes).
  • If you wish to be precise, check the temperature of the liquid sugar mixture with a sugar thermometer. It should reach 150°C (300°F).
A hand is tipping golden syrup into a saucepan that contains caster sugar.
A hand is using a sugar thermometer to measure the temperature of the sugar mixture.

Step 3: Add Bicarbonate of Soda

  • Immediately take the pan off the heat and quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda into the sugar syrup. It will bubble up, so whisk for just a few seconds – no longer.
A hand is preparing to pour the bicarbonate of soda into the ready boiled sugar mixture.
A hand is using a whisk to briefly whisk the ingredients together as it bubbles up.
The cinder toffee mixture bubbled up and ready to transfer into a tin.

Step 4: Set the Cinder Toffee

  • Carefully pour the mixture into the suitably prepared tin. Allow it to spread on its own without touching it. Let it cool and harden.
A hand is using a whisk to transfer the mixture to a lined baking tin.
The poured cinder toffee spreading out and cooling in a tin.

Step 5: Cut and Coat

  • Once the cinder toffee has hardened, remove it from the tin and cut it into small pieces or large chunks, whichever your preference.
  • Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it in the microwave in 10-second increments, stirring in between. Ensure it’s completely melted.
  • Line and grease a flat baking sheet and stand a wire rack over the top.
  • Coat each piece of cinder toffee in the melted chocolate. Lay them on the wire rack with space in between each piece. Allow them to set completely.
A hand is using a knife to chop the cooled and set cinder toffee slab into pieces on a chopping board.
A hand is using a fork to transfer the chocolate coated pieces onto a wire rack.

Do I need To Use A Sugar Thermometer To Make Cinder Toffee?

While a kitchen thermometer can be a helpful tool for making homemade cinder toffee, it’s not absolutely necessary. To get a little technical, Cinder toffee is typically made by heating sugar and syrup to the “hard crack” stage, which is around 150°C (300°F). Using a candy thermometer can help you accurately monitor the temperature if you like to be precise, avoid failure and ensure that the sugar mixture reaches the desired stage, which is essential for the candy to set properly.

An overhead view of Cinder toffee pieces, some coated in chocolate piled up in a tin.

FAQ

How do I ensure my cinder toffee is light and airy?

Whisk the bicarbonate of soda into the toffee mixture quickly, and don’t overdo it. This helps trap air bubbles and gives the toffee its signature texture.

What’s the best way to cut the cinder toffee into pieces after coating with chocolate?

Once the chocolate coating has set, use a sharp knife to cut the cinder toffee into pieces. Warming the knife can make this easier.

Is it necessary to grease the baking sheet before placing the coated toffee?

Greasing the baking sheet makes it easier to remove the coated toffee pieces once they’ve set.


Pro Tips and Troubleshooting

  • Burning the Sugar Mixture: Overcooking the sugar and syrup mixture can lead to a burnt or bitter taste. It’s essential to monitor the mixture closely and remove it from the heat as soon as it reaches the desired colour or “hard crack” stage, typically around 150°C (300°F). Using a candy thermometer or the cold water test can help prevent overcooking.
  • Incomplete Dissolution: Ensure that the sugar and syrup fully dissolve when heating. Any undissolved sugar crystals can lead to a gritty or uneven texture in the finished cinder toffee.
  • Not Using a Large Enough Pot: When the baking soda is added, the mixture expands rapidly, so it’s crucial to use a large pot to prevent overflow and spills. Using a pot with too little capacity can be a messy mistake.
  • Be Cautious with Bubbles: The mixture will bubble when you add the bicarbonate of soda, so be prepared. Don’t whisk for more than a few seconds.
  • Inadequate Stirring: Vigorous and continuous stirring is necessary when adding the baking soda, as this step is what creates the airy texture. Not stirring enough can result in a cinder toffee that is dense rather than light and crunchy. However, over-whisking can deflate the bubbles, making your cinder toffee less airy.
  • Pouring into a Cold Pan: Once the cinder toffee mixture is ready, it needs to be poured into a warm, greased pan to set. Pouring it into a cold pan can cause it to harden too quickly and become difficult to spread evenly.
  • Allow It to Set: After pouring the mixture into the tin, leave it to cool and harden naturally. Avoid touching or spreading it; this lets the bubbles form.
  • Rushing the Cooling Process: Cinder toffee needs time to cool and set properly. Rushing the process by trying to break or cut it too soon can result in a messy and uneven outcome. Leave it to set completely at room temperature before you coat it with melted chocolate. 
  • Using Old Baking Soda: A common mistake for recipe failure is using old or expired baking soda. This may hinder the expansion and texture of the cinder toffee. Make sure your baking soda is fresh and active.
  • Moisture and Humidity: Cinder toffee can absorb moisture from the air, which may cause it to become sticky or lose its crunchiness. Store it in an airtight container in a dry place to preserve its texture.
A stack of cinder toffee, some coated in chocolate and others left bare.

Storage

Storage:

  • Place your chocolate cinder toffee pieces in an airtight box or container. Ensure they are fully cooled and the chocolate coating has set. Store at room temperature in a cool, dry place. It’s best to consume them within two weeks. Storing them longer may lead to changes in texture and flavour.

Freezing:

  • Freezing chocolate cinder toffee is not recommended. The toffee’s texture can change when frozen.

Check Out These Nostalgic Sweet Recipes

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An overhead view of Cinder Toffee piled into a rectangle tin surrounded by more pieces.

Chocolate Cinder Toffee – Chocolate Dipped Honeycomb

5 from 7 votes
Discover a UK classic: Chocolate Cinder Toffee, a nostalgic treat with the perfect balance of crunch and sweetness. Ideal for homemade gifts or celebrating special occasions like Bonfire Night and Christmas.
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Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 229kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 150 g Caster Sugar
  • 75 g Golden Syrup
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 200 g Milk Chocolate, for coating
  • vegetable oil, for greasing

Instructions

  • Grease a 20cm (8 inch) square tin with vegetable oil and place it into a warm oven to heat up a little but not too much. This helps the mixture to spread more evenly later on.
  • Measure out the bicarbonate of soda and set it aside.
  • Place the sugar and syrup into a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan.
  • Let the sugar melt into the syrup over gentle heat, stirring only occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat to medium and leave it to bubble without stirring until the mixture turns slightly more golden, which shouldn't take longer than a couple of minutes.
  • If you wish to be precise, check the temperature of the liquid sugar mixture with a sugar thermometer. It should reach 150°C (300°F).
  • Once it's golden, remove the pan from the heat immediately and quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda; it will bubble up at this point. Do not whisk for more than a few seconds, or you will collapse the bubbles.
  • Carefully and gently pour the mixture into the middle of the oiled tin. Allow the mixture to spread by itself without touching it, and let it cool and harden.
  • Once the cinder toffee has hardened, lift it from the tin and cut it into small pieces.
  • Break the chocolate up and place it in a microwave-proof bowl. Melt it in the microwave in 10-second increments, checking and stirring until it has melted completely.
  • Line and grease a flat baking sheet.
  • Coat each piece of cinder toffee in the melted chocolate, then place them on the baking sheet with space in between each piece and allow them to set completely.

Recipe Notes

 
  • Overcooking the Sugar Mixture: Overcooking can lead to burnt or bitter flavours. It’s important to monitor the mixture closely.
  • Incomplete Dissolution: Ensure that the sugar and syrup fully dissolve to prevent a gritty texture.
  • Not Using a Large Enough Pot: Using a pot with too little capacity can lead to spills.
  • Inadequate Stirring: Vigorous and continuous stirring is necessary when adding the baking soda for a light texture.
  • Pouring into a Cold Pan: It’s important to pour the mixture into a warm, greased pan for even spreading.
  • Rushing the Cooling Process: Allow the cinder toffee to cool and set properly to avoid uneven results.
  • Using Old Baking Soda: Fresh baking soda is essential for the desired texture.
  • Moisture and Humidity: Store cinder toffee in an airtight container in a dry place to maintain its crunchiness.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 278mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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