A quest for gastro-liberation, an excuse to buy more cookbooks…

Crunchie nuggets

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So I know that every bloody food blog going runs a twee make you own edible Christmas gifts! style feature at this time of year. Whilst in principle I like the idea, between all the Christmas parties/quaffing of mulled things/mandatory viewing of Christmas films, who has time to churn out lovely thoughtful and artisanal looking hunks of chocolate bark for everyone? I did it last year and was up until 1am getting increasingly fretful about the way that crushed candy canes are a pisser to deal with (far too sticky).

Things like chutney and mincemeat are great because they’re easy to churn out in batches and dole out to people. But in my experience, chutney isn’t a universally loved thing and mincemeat is only a good gift for other baking nerds. Sweeties however, are pretty safe territory.

Cinder toffee. Honeycomb. Hokey pokey. Many names for what is basically sugar and golden syrup bubbled up into honeycomb with the aid of some bicarbonate of soda. Dip it in chocolate and you get what is essentially a homemade Crunchie. Apparently it is unacceptable to gift mass manufactured cheap confectionary for Christmas but make your own and most people will consider you a Wonka-like figure.

Crunchie nuggets
I made this in one large silicone cake mould but small silicone cupcake cases or mini loaf moulds would work well too. In any case, use silicone where possible as it makes life (i.e. the washing up situation) far far easier. (Pro tip: before washing up things that have contain hot syrup, let it soak in very hot water first. This will dissolve all the sugar and prevent any tantrums.)

200g sugar (caster or granulated)
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
400g dark chocolate

In a heavy bottomed pan, combine the sugar and golden syrup. Heat and stir until the mixture caramelises to a gingery colour (think Irn-Bru). Take off the heat as soon as it reaches this point and whisk in the bicarbonate of soda, at which point it should froth up like some sort of amateur Wiccan cauldron. Pour into your mould and leave to set for a few hours until firm.

Once it is set, cut up the honeycomb as best as you can (don’t try to go for uniformity, it is nigh on impossible). Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water and keep on a low heat whilst you dip and coat the nuggets in, leaving them to cool on a sheet of greaseproof paper. I used crumbs of honeycomb to decorate but sea salt flakes or gold leaf would be suitably in vogue as well.


Author: Hong-Anh

Climb aboard the Good Ship Gastrobabble as we voyage upon the unchartered waters of my neglected cookbook library (and muddle my metaphors faster than a KitchenAid on full-speed).

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