Sponge Toffee Recipe (2024)


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Originally Posted October 22, 2009. Updated 12/7/2020

Sponge Toffee Recipe (1)

Sponge Toffee is an easy candy to make - one of the first I learned to make, as a kid - tasty, and a lot of fun to make AND eat! Try it out!

Sponge Toffee was one of my favorite treats as a kid.

We used to get it at corner stores, farmer's markets, and gas stations... or make it at home. I loved the contrast between the appearance (bubbles!), and the crispy texture.

Whether I'd let it melt in my mouth slowly, or chomp through (and pick the sugar off my teeth for a long time afterwards!), it was just a fun food to enjoy.

As I got older, I realized that gas station sponge toffee is just *no* match for homemade.

This is really easy to make, and a lot of fun for kids to watch (From a distance! Hot sugar can be dangerous!).

Sponge Toffee Recipe (2)

What is Sponge Toffee?

Sponge toffee is an easy to make candy that’s usually sold in blocks or in chunks / nuggets.

The technique used to make the candy causes it to fizz up at the last minute, and it hardens full of holes. This gives it an airy, bubbly, almost flaky texture.

How to Make Sponge Toffee

Like all caramel or toffee based candy, this one starts off by boiling sugars together with water.

As the water boils off, temperature raises, the sugar caramelizes, and the whole mixture becomes something capable of hardening into a brittle candy.

At the last minute - as soon as the mixture reaches the appropriate temperature - you quickly mix some baking soda in, which causes it to VIOLENTLY bubble up.

Be very careful with this - sugar burns are no joke! Be sure to use a long handled spoon to mix the baking soda in, keeping your hands clear of the ... volcano.

As you stir the baking soda in, you’ll want to be sure it’s well incorporated, but you’ll also want to be mindful of how much you stir / beat it.

The less you beat it, the higher it will rise, and the bigger the holes will be.

The more you beat it, the smaller the holes will be, the less lift you’ll get, and the denser the final candy will be.

Once you’ve beat it as much as you’d like, quickly pour it into a prepared 9 x 13" pan.

If you’ve been judicious in your mixing, it will continue to foam a bit in the pan - it’s good to not beat the “life” out of it, in the pot.

Then, you let it cool.

If you’d like set sizes / shapes (blocks, bars), you can score the candy with a sharp knife. DO this several minutes after pouring it into the pan, so you don’t affect the rise.

As the candy cools, gently re-establish your score cuts, bit by bit. Once it’s 100% cooled, you can easily break it into the blocks or bars you’d like.

Sponge Toffee Recipe (3)

Sponge Toffee Around the World

Growing up, it was "sponge", but some older people (looking back, probably immigrants or 1st gen Canadians from England, where "Honeycomb" is the term for it) would call it honeycomb toffee.

I always liked that - it's a much cuter / more tasty sounding name than "sponge". Who wants to eat a sponge, anyway?

When I was in Minnesota, it was called "sponge candy" the few times I saw it. It definitely wasn't as commonly available there, as it had been my whole life in Canada.

Via friends, I learned that the same stuff was referred to as "foam candy" or "seafoam" in some other places in the US.

Sponge Toffee - or something very similar - exists around the world, in slightly different variations, and with a bunch of different names.

I love that New Zealanders call it "Hokey Pokey" and put it in ice cream!

As a kid, I enjoyed drizzling ice cream with a bit of corn syrup and topping with the crumbs left over from making a batch of this toffee.

Sponge Toffee Recipe (4)

Sponge Toffee Variations

Chocolate Dipped

The most common variation you’ll see to this recipe is to dip the final - cooled - candy into chocolate.

Here in Canada, we have a popular candy bar based on this idea, the Crunchie bar. (I have a recipe for Homemade Crunchie Bars!).

Sponge Toffee Recipe (5)

Other than that, you can break up the cooled candy and dip them - fully or partially - in the melted chocolate of your choice.
Personally, I prefer milk or dark chocolate for this. While I enjoy white chocolate in general, it doesn’t taste quite right with the toffee.

Ginger Molasses

While I wouldn’t call this a common variation - I came up with it myself, years ago - you can always swap out the corn syrup and add some ginger to make Ginger Molasses Sponge Toffee!

I designed that recipe to have the taste of a gingersnap cookie, only in candy form. I love the stuff!

Sponge Toffee Recipe (6)

More Candy Making Recipes

In the mood to melt some sugar, make some gummies, or play with chocolate? I've got you!

Bananas Foster Pralines
Banana Walnut Brittle
Candy Apples
Dill Pickle Gummy Worms
Festive Easy Fudge
Ginger Molasses Sponge Toffee
Homemade BCAA Gummies
Homemade Crunchie Bars
Homemade Jolly Rancher Candies
Hop Flavoured Beer Lollipops (LolliHOPS!)
How to Make Marshmallow Cones
Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle
Milk Chocolate Chai Truffles
Peppermint Patties Recipe
Pistachio Brittle
Ube White Chocolate Fudge
White Chocolate Almond Amaretto Truffles

Sponge Toffee Recipe (7)

Share the Love!

Before you chow down, be sure to take some pics of your handiwork! If you Instagram it, be sure to tag me - @CelebrationGenerationCA - or post it to My Facebook Page - so I can cheer you on!

Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense.

Well, the published nonsense, anyway!


Sponge Toffee Recipe (8)

Sponge Toffee Recipe (9)

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4.85 from 13 votes

Sponge Toffee

Sponge Toffee is an easy candy to make - one of the first I learned to make, as a kid - and it’s also one of the first recipes I blogged. Give it a try!

Prep Time5 minutes mins

Cook Time20 minutes mins

Cooling time1 hour hr

Total Time1 hour hr 25 minutes mins

Course: Dessert, Snack

Cuisine: British

Servings: 20 - 1 9x13 pan of toffee

Calories: 130kcal

Author: Marie Porter


  • 9 x 13 Baking Dish

  • Candy Thermometer


  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • cup corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla


  • Prepare a 9″ x 13″ cake pan with nonstick spray, or a light coating of vegetable oil or shortening. Set aside.

  • In a large saucepan, stir together sugar, corn syrup, and water. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure that it does not touch the bottom of the pan.

  • Bring mixture to a boil, and allow to cook until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (hard crack stage). From the time mixture starts boiling to the time it reaches 300F, do not stir.

  • Once mixture reaches 300F, remove from heat.

  • Add vanilla and baking soda, beating to incorporate. The mixture will start foaming quite a bit when you add the baking soda (chemical reaction!), so using a LONG wooden spoon is a good idea. The sugar will be very hot, and will burn if you get any on your hand as you stir. Be very careful and work FAST.

  • Dump foaming mixture into greased cake pan, spreading it out as evenly as possible. Allow it to cool completely.

  • Once toffee is cooled all the way through, remove from pan and snap into chunks / nuggets and serve.


  • Be sure to store toffee in an airtight container – the sugar will attract water from the air, and the toffee can go soggy.
  • While you definitely want the baking soda to be fully mixed in, know that how much you beat it affects the final texture. If you beat it a lot, the air bubbles will be smaller than if you don't.
  • If you like big, airy toffee, beat it the minimum possible, and GENTLY pour it into the pan. DO NOT disturb it - it will keep rising and developing big bubbles.


Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 336mg | Sugar: 34g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

Sponge Toffee Recipe (10)

More Recipes that Remind me of Gramma

Since originally writing this post, my gramma has sadly passed... but her memory lives on.

Here are a few recipes that remind me of her, whether as something she taught me to make, a replica of a retail treat we used to enjoy together, or one of my own recipes that she would request whenever I’d visit, as an adult.

Gramma's Perogies Recipe
Homemade Marshmallow Cones
Homemade Clodhoppers Candy
Puffed Wheat Squares
Honey Dill Dipping Sauce
Paska - Ukrainian Easter Bread
Baking Powder Biscuits
Grandma's Potato Salad
Easy Butterfly Cupcakes
Breakfast of Champions
French Canadian Pea Soup
Beep Drink Recipe

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Reader Interactions


  1. Andrea

    Hello, how long would the toffee be good for in an air right container at room temperature?
    Thank you.


    • Marie Porter

      Probably a few weeks? We've never had it last long enough to really have an idea of longevity.


      • Linda

        This sounds a lot like Irish candy called Crunchies. I love it but after it’s cooled it’s dipped in chocolate. So yummy!!


  2. melissa

    What type of corn syrup is used light dark etc
    I’m assuming light ?


    • Marie Porter

      I use light, but dark works as well.


  3. Sherrie

    I'm from Minnesota and had this stuff growing up as well plain or covered in chocolate and we call it angel food candy! So good, can't wait to try your recipe. I love how it melts in your mouth! 😋😛


  4. Jimmy

    Would it work with Maple Syrup?


    • Marie Porter

      Probably, but I haven't tried it!


  5. Kay

    Sponge Toffee Recipe (19)
    Growing up in England this is called Cinder Toffee and yes, as someone else mentioned,dipped in chocolate is a Crunchie bar. We also use golden syrup.. Yum


  6. Debra Maure

    Other recipes call for vinegar. Will it work without it?


    • Marie Porter

      I've never even heard of making it with vinegar. I've been making it with the recipe since I was a kid, and I'm assuming my grandma was making it much longer.


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Sponge Toffee Recipe (2024)


Why is my sponge toffee chewy? ›

Chewy honeycomb happens when the mixture hasn't been cooked for long enough. This is most common when you don't use a sugar thermometer. If you don't heat the mixture to 149°C the sugar won't achieve the brittleness required for that crumbly, crunchy texture.

What is sponge toffee made from? ›

Honeycomb toffee, honeycomb candy, sponge toffee, cinder toffee, seafoam, or hokey pokey is a sugary toffee with a light, rigid, sponge-like texture. Its main ingredients are typically brown sugar (or corn syrup, molasses or golden syrup) and baking soda, sometimes with an acid such as vinegar.

Why does my sponge toffee taste burnt? ›

The trick is to avoid any clumps or pockets of soda, so stir more than you think you should - a whisk works well. It's the areas with too much soda that get the big bubbles and the burnt taste. The warmed oven really helps with keeping the loft in the candy.

Why is my toffee chewy and not crunchy? ›

Low and slow

Simmering the syrup for English toffee to the requisite 300°F temperature can (and should) be a slow process — up to 20 minutes or so. Don't hurry this gradual transformation; syrup that doesn't reach 300°F, or close to it, will make candy with timid flavor and chewy (not crunchy) texture.

Why is my toffee not set and why is it's texture grainy and not smooth? ›

As the toffee cools and the molten sugar crystals become solid again, they are attracted to the 'seed' forming new lumps of tiny crystals – hence the grainy texture. This can also happen if the toffee is stirred, or agitated, after it has begun to boil or on cooling (as happened with this pink-tinted toffee).

Why do bubbles form in sponge toffee? ›

The candies are in the toffee family. Both honeycomb and sponge candy are made by boiling sugar and a golden syrup of some kind. To get the iconic texture of either, baking soda is added. This common baking ingredient responds to the compounds in the mixture creating air bubbles of varying sizes.

Why do you not stir toffee? ›

Mel's Dumbed Down Version: patience, moderate heat and heavy-bottoms (see saucepan note above) make the best toffee. What is this? It's important while the toffee cooks to only stir it occasionally. Constant stirring can cause the toffee to crystallize and separate.

Why do you put baking soda in toffee? ›

Brittles and toffees accumulate small amounts of acid from the browning reactions that occur during cooking. This is one reason why the baking soda is added at the end of cooking. The soda reacts with the acid to make bubbles, and the syrup foams.

How do you fix a chewy honeycomb? ›

If your sugar syrup isn't hot enough, it will make your honeycomb very chewy. The best way to make sure your sugar is at the right temperature is to use a sugar thermometer. The mixture should be at the 'hard ball' stage, which is normally between 121-130 degrees Celsius.

Why is sponge candy so expensive? ›

The Sponge Candy recipe while not complicated does require some specific and expensive equipment to make it and many candy shops around the US do not make their own candy but buy and resell mass produced candy. Lastly the number of people sharing and passing on this Buffalo specific recipe is declining.

How do you know if toffee is bad? ›

According to Blakeslee, if a candy appears extremely sticky or has a grainy texture, then it has most likely expired due to temperature abuse and the crystallization of sugar. As a result, she said, it may develop an off flavor, have a change in color or turn moldy if it contains fruits or nuts.

What happens when you overcook toffee? ›

Undercooked toffee won't be anything more than a caramel sauce. But overcooked toffee will be just slightly crunchier (almost unrecognizably). So, always err on the side of over-cooking!

Why does my butter and sugar separate when making toffee? ›

The butter, sugar and syrup are melted together and should form a smooth sauce. When the sauce cools it should remain amalgamated. If the butterfat separates out then usually this is due to the mixture being either heated or cooled too quickly, which "shocks" the mixture and causes the fat to separate out.

What is the difference between English toffee and regular toffee? ›

English Toffee is a nationwide favorite that is easily made with only a few ingredients. The difference between regular toffee and English Toffee is one important ingredient – butter! I make English Toffee throughout the year for special occasions and it's always a big hit.

What is the difference between English toffee and butter toffee? ›

The English toffee eaten with regularity in America is also called buttercrunch. What's the difference? Primarily, the difference rests in the ingredients. Toffee in Britain is made with brown sugar, whereas buttercrunch is made with white granulated sugar.

Why did my sponge cake turn out rubbery? ›

If you mix incorrect measurements of sugar, butter, and eggs, the cake will become rubbery. You will notice that you have overmixed, the batter when the dough produces a smooth or watery texture. When the dough is overmixed, the air bubbles trapped in the mixture will be lost.

Why did my hard candy turn out chewy? ›

The simple answer is that there is too much moisture in your candy.

Why is my sponge cake gummy? ›

Why does my cake have a gummy streak in the center? Developing too much of the flour's gluten can make the cake rise beautifully in the oven, but sink as soon as you pull it out. The sinking part is what makes the dense and gluey streaks. This can be result of over-creaming the eggs, butter and sugar.

Why is my honeycomb soft and chewy? ›

If your sugar syrup isn't hot enough, it will make your honeycomb very chewy. The best way to make sure your sugar is at the right temperature is to use a sugar thermometer. The mixture should be at the 'hard ball' stage, which is normally between 121-130 degrees Celsius.

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