Homemade Honeycomb | gluten free

We’re in New Orleans at the moment experiencing all the delight of the bayou and Bourbon St. I left these with my sister when I left…I wonder if she’s saved me any…

Sweet crystals of honey delight! Make your own honeycomb at home with just a few simple ingredients and have fun decorating it just the way you want! Homemade Honeycomb | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI am not exaggerating when I say that chocolate coated honeycomb contributed to my good report cards in high school. Violet Crumble bars, strawberries, and almonds dipped in Nutella (try it, but don’t blame me…) were what fuelled my late night study of religion essays, math assignments, chemistry calculations, and Japanese vocab memorisations. Whenever end of term came round Mum knew to stock up on Violet Crumble and strawberries and make sure my little dog Tex stayed inside while I worked late into the night. Thanks Mum.Homemade Honeycomb | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI’ve always loved honeycomb. The way it shatters. The sticky, pure sugar sweetness. And most of all, the chocolate coating. Now, in Australia there is a division between Crunchie people and Violet Crumble people. I am a Violet Crumble girl myself. Unfortunately most chocolate-coated honeycomb bars include both wheat and gelatine. No bueno. Enter: my kitchen and a little bit of really awesome chemistry! See Mama, those late night sessions didn’t go to waste!Homemade Honeycomb | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeHoneycomb is essentially a heated sugar syrup with most of the moisture removed by boiling it for a long time to a high temperature. When you add the baking soda to the hot syrup it is forced to break down quickly and carbon dioxide molecules are released in bubbles. These bubbles become trapped in the sugar syrup that has formed long threads of crystals, hence the light, airy, bubbly texture of honeycomb. Sweet, sweet science. Making honeycomb at home is a great way to teach kids about science!

Now, let me issue my warning: this recipe involves heating sugar syrup to high temperatures and is therefore not suitable for small children to make on their own. Be very careful when you make this candy treat so that you can enjoy it at home, and not in the hospital. Homemade Honeycomb | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWith that warning out of the way. Let me say: making honeycomb at home is totally worth it. You only need a few inexpensive ingredients, a large pot, a massive baking tray, and a candy thermometer. I picked mine up at out local grocery store for under $10.

I had so much fun making and eating this favourite childhood treat and then I decided that the only way to up the ante was to decorate it with sprinkles! Because sprinkles make even the best treats even better! Try this for some homemade trick-or-treating fun or as gifts for friends! Just remember to brush your teeth afterwards 🙂Homemade Honeycomb | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Homemade Honeycomb

Gluten free | Makes: A LOT. Seriously, if you aren’t prepared to eat honeycomb for a ages, or give it away, then make a half batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 200 grams chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Sprinkles to decorate, optional

Method

  1. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet by lining it with baking paper. Spray with cooking oil or spray to make removal of the honeycomb easier. Make sure your baking sheet is at least 20 x 12 inches. Or prep two smaller baking sheets.
  2. Place white sugar, honey, water and golden syrup into a large saucepan. Warm over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted.
  3. Increase temperature to high and bring the sugar syrup to boiling point. The mixture will rise in the pan while it is boiling. Cook without stirring at all until the temperature reads 154C (309F) on your candy thermometer. This is hard crack stage. Be very careful around the syrup.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow the bubbles to reduce then add baking soda. Quickly stir the baking soda in. The mixture will begin to bubble immediately.
  5. Working quickly spread the honeycomb over your lined baking sheet. It will continue to bubble and foam so place it on some newspaper on your kitchen bench just in case.
  6. Allow the honeycomb to cool completely.
  7. Break honeycomb into large shards.
  8. Melt chocolate by placing it into a microwave-proof bowl and heating in 30 second blasts, stirring well in between with a metal spoon, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  9. Coat honeycomb shards using a spoon and decorate with sprinkles if using.

Homemade Honeycomb | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Sweets: m&m cookies

Sunday mornings are one of the most precious times of the week for me. I don’t sleep in particularly late. I don’t have a big breakfast. I don’t even sit in front of the television and watch cartoons. Sunday mornings are precious to me because every week my sister and I go for a wonderfully long walk. For nearly two hours this precious bundle of human energy is completely mine.

We stroll through the bush, and along the highway, up and over hills and down behind the retirement village. All the time talking about life in the past week. We talk about our life in ways that few other people can understand. I will miss her constant presence when her house is finally built and she moves out. Jess is all the things that I am not, and all the good things about me amplified and re-packaged in a smaller version. She is my living breathing conscience, my protector, the devil’s advocate when I need it, the one who accepts my crazy (even if she doesn’t like my dance moves – come on, the pelvic thrust, that’s still hip, right?). Jess was the one thing I ever really wished for in my life. All the stars aligned when she came into my life and my little sister is the best gift the universe (and my parents) has ever given me.

During our walks we talkabout the everyday things: the house she and her husband are building, my university assignments, the exciting projects she has been allocated at work, recipes we can’t wait to try. Our conversations soar into the sky sometimes and we talk about the ‘someday’ topics: children, more travel, what on earth I am going to do after I finish university, caring for our parents. We revisit childhood memories, re-argue old topics, heal wounds that remain from 22 years of sisterhood. We strengthen each other’s souls with chats about body image and acceptance, our shared eating philosophies, and a mutual love of all things butter, sugar, and vanilla. She is the other half to my whole. My friend. My little sister. On Sunday mornings she is all mine.

These are her creation. Go for a walk with someone you love, talk about the big things, and the little things, and then make them a batch of these. Love is guaranteed.

Jess’s m&m Cookies

Every couple of weeks Jess makes these for her husband Trent. She lets me eat the m&ms that don’t make it into the bowl. This recipe is adapted from an old family cookie recipe.

Yield: about 30 cookies, and about 1/2 a cookie of dough for the chef to test before they get baked.

Ingredients:

  • 170 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • 1 whole egg, and 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 250 grams plain m&ms

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line 4 cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until well blended and smooth. Inhale buttery, vanilla scent and be thankful for your olfactory senses…
  3. Add egg and egg yolks, beat into creamed butter very well.
  4. Sift in flour and baking powder, mix into butter and egg mix until no pockets of flour remain.
  5. Stir in m&ms (yes, you can sneak a few before you mix them in completely).
  6. Using an ice-cream scoop, or a tablespoon, scoop out balls of mixture onto the lined baking sheets. Leave about 4 centimetres between the balls of dough as the cookies will spread out as they bake.
  7. Slide sheets into oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, swapping trays around halfway through baking.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on trays for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet Sunday: Sugary Chocolate Fudge

The scent of cocoa and boiling sugar wafting from my stove summons memories from my childhood so vivid that I can almost feel myself shrinking back to six-year-old size with long brown pigtails and a Minnie Mouse printed t-shirt sticking to my back in the summer heat. My Mum is standing at the stove stirring a batch of sweet, sugary fudge that will become a Christmas present for my teacher. She talks me carefully through the process, telling me that I am too small to make the fudge at the moment but one day I can do this for myself. I wait for her to pour the batch into the lined loaf tin, and then she hands me the spoon to lick. A sticky film of fudge clings to the curves of our special spoon. Mum waits for the saucepan to cool a little before she scrapes off the fudge that didn’t make it to the setting pan and we pick at the shards of sugar crystals while the larger batch cools and sets.

Sugary Chocolate Fudge | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This tradition was repeated at many Christmas times, and other moments in between. This fudge to me has always summoned a feeling of comfort from my Mum, an echo from childhood, and also a feeling of competition with Dad – his sweet tooth knows no bounds and you have to be quick to secure your piece before all the rest ‘mysteriously disappears’.

One of my favourite memories of this fudge is when I had my wisdom teeth out. Apart from the aesthetic suffering of looking like a chipmunk who had been in a bar fight (oh, this pasty white face bruises really easily apparently), I was unable to eat as I couldn’t open my mouth very far and chewing sounded like an instrument of torture. Mum had made a batch of this fudge, and in my desperate state, I found that I could slice it very thinly and push pieces into my mouth where they could melt and pool in cocoa and sugar goodness. Not that I told my orthodontist that I was living on fudge for two weeks when I went back to have my stitches pulled out….

Sugary Chocolate Fudge | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

So we came to this Friday evening, our inaugural winter M*A*S*H* marathon, and what better sweet treat to have by our sides than a batch of this fudge. Make it now, or save the recipe for the night when only the sweetest of treats will do.

Sugary Chocolate Fudge | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Sugary Chocolate Fudge

Gluten Free | Makes 24-36 pieces

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, cocoa powder and milk in a saucepan and set over medium heat.
  3. Bring mixture to the boil for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add butter. Beat until sugary, which should take about 4 -5 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla essence and stir, then pour mixture into prepared tin and allow to cool.
  6. Once fudge has set cut into small squares.

Sadly, there was no fudge left in our house after morning tea on Saturday. Only sticky sweet memories remain…

Sugary Chocolate Fudge | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life