YELLOWMAN! How great is that? Yellowman? I love it. The quirky Irish decriptor for Honeycomb, or what the ‘merican folks call cinder toffee. Such fun to make, a joy to eat (for all except your fillings who will retreat to the back of your mouth for safety), and a really ace little Xmas present for those you love from your kitchen.
But, wait! It’s not all fun and games. Making yellowman has it’s downsides. The first is the intense temperature, you need to heat the sugar & golden syrup to 150C to reach hard-crack stage, and you may burn yourself. Of course most of you won’t, but I did, and I have a nice cascade of blisters on my arm. The other, less described danger, is that you may find yourself wandering around your kitchen waving a jam thermometer with melted sugar spindles dripping off it, singing YELLOWMAN to the Elton John’s Rocket Man at the top of your voice.
It was all worth it. Even the burn.
It’s such fun to make. Once the sugar and golden syrup are ready, adding the bicarbonate of soda causes it to foam to about four times the original size like a rush of golden lava. And then it relaxes and you can pour it into your waiting tin and admire the bubbles, and the golden sheen, and wait until you can crack it, and devour it yourself. Plus, it’s ridiculously cheap to make, so take that recession, we can still have Christmas despite your grizzly presence.
What can you do with yellowman? Eat it, give it to friends, cover it in chocolate for delicious odd shaped infinitely better homemade crunchies, put it in some chocolate mousse, have it with chocolate cake. Endless chewy possibilities await.
I have a jam thermometer as I am that kind of kitchen geek, but don’t worry if you don’t. To test whether the concotion is at hard crack stage, wait until it is bubbling and turning a caramel brown, then put a spoonful on a plate and if it solidifies and cracks when you tap it, well you’re done.
My recipe doesn’t include butter as it really doesn’t need it. I also like it dairy free as that way everyone can enjoy it, including lactose intolerants like myself! I also add vinegar as this reacts with the bicarb to create lots of bubbles and you don’t taste it at all. Some recipes add water, I do too as it means the temperature increase is a little gentler and there is a smaller risk of burning it.
This recipe will fill a large tray, use whatever you have, just make sure it’s deep. Also use a deep pot, otherwise you will have honeycomb all over your stove pot!
A Recipe for Yellowman (aka Honeycomb, Cinder Toffee)
300g White Sugar (caster or granulated)
200g Golden Syrup
1 tbsp Cider or White Wine Vinegar
2 heaped tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Prepare your tin/dish by lining with lightly oiled baking parchment.
Heat the sugar, golden syrup, water and vinegar until it starts to turn amber and reaches 150C/the hard crack stage (explanation above).
Add the bicarb and stir thoroughly, then pour into your lined tin. Leave to cool to room temperature.
If you want it to be cut into ordered shapes, cut with an oiled knife when it’s nearly it room temperature. I like it to look a little rough and tumble so cut it when it’s cool.
Store in an air tight container or gift to friends in small transparent bags or jars. It is delicious covered in chocolate or with chocolate mousse.