Chocolate-Covered Sponge Candy — A classic homemade Christmas candy that’s light and airy candy inside and chocolate-dipped on the outside. Easy to make! Great for cookie exchanges and hostess gifts because it keeps fresh for a long time!
What Is Sponge Candy?
I remember going to my grandma’s house over Christmas and raiding her enormous selection of homemade Christmas candy, cookies, and treats.
Both my mother and grandmother are people who love to bake anything and everything Christmas-related. They take their Christmas sweets very seriously!
If you’ve never had this classic Christmas candy recipe, the way I would describe sponge candy is that underneath the milk chocolate exterior, there’s a light, airy, delicate interior.
It almost disintegrates with you bite into it. The magic that happens when you heat sugar to 300 degrees F is definitely at work in this easy holiday candy recipe. Apart from being a very nostalgic recipe, as a bonus, this Christmas recipe is no-bake and gluten-free!
Other Names for Chocolate-Covered Sponge Candy
Growing up, my mom and grandma called this candy chocolate sponge candy.
However, it goes by a variety of names including: sponge toffee, honeycomb candy, honey candy, angel food candy, chocolate sponge Christmas candy.
I’m sure there are even more plays on the name, but they are all one-in-the-same holiday candy. That is, the light and airy dipped candy that almost just disintegrates when you bite into it.
Ingredients in Chocolate Sponge Candy
For everyone’s favorite chocolate Christmas candy, you’ll need the following basic pantry ingredients:
How to Make Sponge Candy
To make this easy holiday favorite candy, you’ll follow these straightforward steps:
Step 1: Line a pan with parchment paper and spray well with cooking spray.
Step 2: Combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey, and water in a stockpot and cook until the sugar dissolves
Step 3: Do not stir after it dissolves, and cook until the mixture reaches 300F.
Step 4: Add the baking soda and pour into the prepared pan to cool.
Step 5: Break it into pieces.
Step 6: Dip into melted chocolate and allow it to set up.
Recipe Variations to Try
I have seen this recipe made with vinegar in place of the 1 tablespoon of water. Both vinegar and water work.
However, with the vinegar a hint of tang is left behind and that’s not something I like in candy. Love vinegar, but not in this sweet holiday recipe.
Another festive way to jazz up your honey sponge candy is to decorate them with some sprinkles over the chocolate after you’ve dipped them, but before they set up. Anything red, green, or white would look so sharp!
Do I Need to Use a Candy Thermometer?
Yes, you do need a candy thermometer for this homemade honeycomb sponge candy.
Preferably, select a thermometer with a pot clip. You’re going to be boiling sugar and water to 300F degrees, exactly, and there is simply no way to guess.
Can the Corn Syrup Be Substituted?
No, if you are averse to using corn syrup, then this recipe isn’t for you because it is required, no way around it. Make sure to select dark-colored corn syrup rather than light.
Can the Honey Be Substituted?
No, it can’t be substituted whatsoever. Remember that this homemade Christmas candy is also called “honeycomb candy,” which refers both to its appearance and its delicate honey flavor.
As such, the honey is a must!
What’s the Best Dipping Chocolate?
I used milk chocolate as opposed to dark for this chocolate-dipped honey sponge candy because milk is more traditional.
My recommendation is to use chocolate melting wafers such as the Ghirardelli Chocolate Melting Wafers. They are round discs that are a cinch to melt and are intended for dipping projects.
They also stay melted for longer and don’t harden up too quickly.
Can I Use Chocolate Chips for the Chocolate Coating?
Melting actual milk chocolate chips isn’t my favorite way to go because chips are resistant to melting.
They have stabilizers in them which makes them great for putting into cookies so that the chocolate chips don’t melt everywhere all over the cookie dough.
However, when you want them to actually melt, they can be temperamental.
How to Store Sponge Candy
Simply keep your Christmas sponge candy in an airtight container or ziptop storage bag at room temperature. It doesn’t get any easier.
Like that, it will easily keep for 2 weeks, but actually more like a month is fair game. Sugar like this doesn’t tend to go bad but of course use common sense.
Can Sponge Candy Be Frozen?
No, I don’t recommend refrigerating or freezing honeycomb sponge candy because the delicate and light airy texture of the candy will change so room temp is best.
Gifting Honeycomb Sponge Candy During the Holidays
Being that you can store your homemade Christmas candy airtight for at least 2 weeks, it makes great gifts for teachers, coaches, friends, coworkers, or as hostess gifts.
Pack the candy up in cute reusable jars or a festive looking cellophane bags, and as you find yourself needing little gifts throughout the holiday season, you’ll have some already ready to go.
Your chocolate dipped sponge toffee candy is also great in cookie exchanges, because again, it stays fresh for a long time so you can make it in advance.
Tips for Making Homemade Christmas Candy
When you’re making this honey sponge candy recipe, make sure to heed the following suggestions:
Use a candy thermometer: When boiling the sugar mixture, you cannot undercook nor overcook it if you want the recipe to work. Again, this is why a candy thermometer with a pot clip is imperative.
Don’t stir the mixture: Just leave it alone as it makes its way up to 300F. Stirring can cause crystallization (bad) in candy making, and you’ll end up with a crystal-ey and weird textured result. Just don’t stir and let it be!
Use a sufficiently tall, high-sided stock pot: The mixture will expand and bubble up pretty dramatically as it boils so use a pot with ample room; bigger or taller than you probably think you need.
Do NOT use chocolate chips: Use Ghirardelli Chocolate Melting Wafers rather than chocolate chips for your dipping chocolate. It’s less prone to seizing, can be reheated, and stays dip-able longer than chocolate chips will.
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- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda, sifted
- 2 cups milk chocolate melting wafers (such as Ghirardelli)
- Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper, and spray it very well with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a high-sided medium stockpot* (See Notes), add the sugar, dark corn syrup, honey, water and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally to encourage the sugar to melt.
- After the sugar has melted, clip a candy thermometer to the side of your stockpot, and do not touch it. Don't stir, move the pot, just let it be and leave it alone, until the mixture reaches 300F exactly. Do not overcook! It will take about 20 minutes to come up to 300F, give or take. The mixture will start looking increasingly thick, opaque, and yellow; this is normal.
- Remove the pot from the heat, and immediately add the baking soda.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and allow it cool to set up, about 1 hour.
- After it has cooled, either break it into pieces or slice it with a knife. It's crumbly and won't slice evenly or perfectly so don't worry about that.
- To a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate melting wafers** (See Notes) according to the package directions.
- Dip the candy into the chocolate to coat it. I find this easiest by balancing the candy on a wide-tined fork and letting the excess chocolate run through.
- Place dipped candies on a large sheet of parchment paper and allow chocolate to set up, about 1 hours. Optionally, add festive-colored holiday sprinkles at this point before the chocolate sets up, if desired.
- Candy will keep airtight at room temp for at least 2 weeks (probably at least 1 month); I don't recommend refrigerating or freezing it because the texture will change.*** (See Notes)
*Use a sufficiently tall, high-sided stock pot. The mixture will expand and bubble up pretty dramatically as it boils so use a pot with ample room; bigger or taller than you probably think you need.
**Use Ghirardelli Chocolate Melting Wafers rather than chocolate chips for your dipping chocolate. It’s less prone to seizing, can be reheated, and stays dip-able longer than chocolate chips will.
***Being that you can store the candy airtight for at least 2 weeks, it makes great gifts for teachers, coaches, friends, coworkers, or as hostess gifts.Pack the candy up in cute reusable jars or a festive looking cellophane bags, and as you find yourself needing little gifts throughout the holiday season, you’ll have some already ready to go.
****Serving size is 1 piece of approximately 24 pieces the batch makes, you can make them smaller or larger if desired. Nutritional info is provided as a courtesy and is an approximation only.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 158mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 1g
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