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BellaOnline's American Regional Cuisine Editor

Sponge Candy Recipe

Chocolate on the outside with a sponge-looking, yellow, crunchy candy on the inside is known as “Sponge Candy”, and is a specialty of Buffalo, New York.

This type of candy is known by other names around the world. In some locations they call it puff candy; other places refer to it as sponge toffee. Depending on the way is it made it may also be referred to as Molasses Puff Candy, Honeycomb Toffee or Fairydust Candy. When I was growing up we called it Seafoam Sponge.

The recipe ingredients and directions are as varied as the recipe names; so depending on which part of the country you are from you will call it something different and make it slightly differently.

Basically it is a hard candy or toffee made with boiled sugar and corn syrup. After removing from the heat source, stir in some baking soda and some vinegar and it foams up and when it cools the insides resemble a sponge!

Let me tell you, that once you have tried this you will make it repeatedly.

Count the calories and count the cavities!

Sponge Candy

• 2 cups (1 pound) granulated sugar
• 4 tablespoons white vinegar
• 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
• 2 cups water
• 1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
• 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
• 1 (1-ounce square) unsweetened baking chocolate

Generously butter or oil an 8-inch square pan and then set it aside until needed.

1. In a large heavy saucepan, over medium-high heat, place sugar, vinegar, golden syrup, and water.
2. Be sure to use a large pan, because even though it looks like you won’t need one, you will when the sugar gets bubbling.
3. Gently heat the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has melted.
4. Now, bring it to a boil, cover it and boil for approximately 3 minutes, and then uncover and boil until temperature reaches 285 degrees F. on a candy thermometer and the mixture turns a light amber color.
5. FYI (285 degrees is hard-crack)

Remove pan from the heat source and stir in the baking soda, mixing it well to allow the bubbles to subside a little.

Don’t be alarmed- but when you add the baking soda the mixture will bubble up quite a bit. Like I said before - Make sure your pot is big enough, or the mess when it bubbles over the sides will deter you from trying this recipe again- and that would be a shame, because you will love it.

The trick is to combine the soda without bursting the bubbles as little as possible. The baking soda is what gives it its light airy texture.
Quickly pour it into the prepared 8” pan (so that mixture stops cooking and doesn't burn – but DO NOT try to spread it around, as this will make all the bubbles disappear) and leave until it sets- it will harden as it cools.

After candy has cooled, cut or break into pieces. Sponge candy can be eaten plain, or you can dip it in chocolate (my personal favorite).

Directions for dipping in chocolate :

1. In a large micro-proof bowl, combine chocolate chips, vegetable shortening, and baking chocolate.
2. Microwave on HIGH 2 minutes. Using wooden spoon, stir until melted; remove from heat.

• Dip the sponge pieces into the melted chocolate, covering each piece completely.
• Place on waxed paper to cool.
• When cool, wrap each candy individually in wax paper, twisting the ends together, and store in an airtight container.

NOTE: I am serious about the airtight container. This candy draws moisture from the air and will become a sticky mess if you let it sit out too long.

Make this once and you will be addicted; it’s great fun, and the taste and texture is amazing!

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