Recipe By Chef John
Published Oct 10th
Prep 10m Cook 10m Additional 30m Ready In 50m
Servings 8 servings Calories 70.9

This very fun and simple-to-make candy goes by many names; cinder toffee, sponge candy, and my personal favorite, ‘hokey pokey,’ but no matter what you call it, this eye-catching confection is a proven crowd pleaser. Thousands of bubbles, trapped in the cooling sugar syrup, give this the most interesting melt-in-your-mouth texture. As long as you’re very careful and heat the syrup up to the correct temp, there’s not a lot that can go wrong.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons water

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Line a baking dish with parchment paper, measure out baking soda in a small bowl, and have a heat-proof spatula ready before starting.
  2. 2 Whisk sugar, corn syrup, honey, and water together in a saucepan with a candy thermometer attached. Heat over medium heat until mixture is thinner but still cloudy. Let bubble until mixture is clear and thermometer registers 300 degrees F (149 degrees C).
  3. 3 Remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda until just incorporated. Switch to a spatula and very carefully pour into the lined dish. Do not spread it out with your spatula or compress mixture at all, or the bubbles will deflate. Let cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
  4. 4 Remove candy from the pan by lifting out the parchment paper. Rap against the counter and use your fingers to break it into individual pieces.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 70.9
  • Carbohydrate 18.6 g
  • Sodium 160.7 mg
  • Sugar 16 g

Chef's Notes

For bigger bubbles, use up to 2 teaspoons baking soda, keeping in mind there might be an aftertaste. Do not use baking powder!; Substitute golden syrup for the corn syrup if desired; You can also check with a probe thermometer. Some folks say you can simply go by appearance, and when the syrup goes from clear to slightly golden, it's done, but that requires a certain amount of experience. Another method to gauge the temperature is by dropping a little bit of the molten syrup in water to see if it instantly turns into rock candy. That will work, but since thermometers aren't expensive, and every kitchen should have one, that really is the way to go.


  1. Came out great
  2. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! So ridiculously easy, it's silly! Especially during Covid, when I get a craving for something sweet, this is my go-to so I don't ever have to run out to the store. I live at a high altitude, and for me, I don't use a thermometer as it usually burns long - Read more ...
  3. I think I had a hard time whith the after tast
  4. I just made it with Morena sugar and substituted more honey for the syrup. Delicious! Next time I will make a double batch.
  5. Simple recipe clearly put. I used golden syrup (as per recipe suggestion) and farmer's market honey the kinda stuff that comes in a twist-top Ball jar you get when going apple picking. I used a scant teaspoon of baking soda I'd wager it came out to 1.25tsp? The flavor for me was spot on: a - Read more ...
  6. Easy-good recipe
  7. I didn't have a candy thermometer so I eyeballed it using the video provided! So grateful for this recipe
  8. I've made this several times. It comes out airy and crunchy. The only negative is that once you get past the initial crunchiness, it sticks to your teeth - didn't work out so great when I took it to an event with a lot of older folks without their own teeth.
  9. I followed the recipe exactly as written. I found the video very helpful as I didn't quite know the stages of this candy. A candy thermometer is important as it took some time to reach 300F from a medium heat. This turned out just like John's photo. Quite attractive and very airy. It tastes good - Read more ...
  10. I did a test batch of this (since the ingredients are very common and inexpensive) in anticipation of doing baked goodie tins for Christmas and it turned out well. I ran out of honey while mixing up an earlier recipe so I was forced to add 2 tbsp extra of corn syrup to substitute but - Read more ...

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