Old-fashioned Sponge Candy is light and crumbly, with a sweet and salty toffee flavor! Made with sugar, dark corn syrup, and real honey, this holiday favorite is addictively delicious, especially when dipped in a coating of pure melted chocolate.
The Easiest Christmas Candy Ever!
Have you ever tried sponge candy? It’s an old-fashioned sweet candy that’s airy, light, and very crisp, kind of like a Butterfinger candy bar! Sponge candy is made with a trio of corn syrup, white sugar, and honey, which are heated up to make a golden, toffee-like syrup.
From there, baking soda is added, which takes the toffee syrup to new heights—literally! The baking soda fills the thick candy syrup with air, making it foamy and light. Once the foamed candy hardens, it has an unbelievable airy texture. When dipped in chocolate, this is a truly special treat, one that’s great for the holidays (or anytime!).
Is Sponge Candy the Same as Fairy Food?
Yes! In fact, sponge candy is known by a lot of names: fairy food, sea foam, angel food candy, and sponge toffee, to name just a few. Depending on where you live, this light, toffee-style candy probably has a unique regional name!
What You’ll Need
To make this candy, you’ll need just a few simple ingredients. It’s really easy! And you won’t need any special equipment other than a candy thermometer, ideally with a clip for attaching it to your saucepan.
- Sugar: You’ll need regular granulated sugar for the base of the candy.
- Corn Syrup: In this case, don’t use regular light corn syrup: go for dark corn syrup instead.
- Honey: Honey adds unique flavor complexity to this recipe, especially if you use an all-natural honey with floral notes.
- Vinegar: Just a bit of vingegar is needed to react with the baking soda, and make the candy puff up.
- Baking Soda: Sift the baking soda before adding it so there are no lumps.
- Chocolate: I use Ghirardelli wafers for melting and coating the candy. Dark or light are fine. You can also use chocolate chips, or whatever baking chocolate you like.
How to Make Sponge Candy
So just how do you make this? Let’s dig into the actual steps for creating sponge candy. It’s very easy to do, and the only special equipment you need is a candy thermometer, ideally with a clip for attaching it to your saucepan.
- Prep the Pan. You’ll want to pour the candy out into a prepared pan as soon as it’s ready, so make sure the pan is ready first. Line a 113×9 inch baking pan with parchment, and for good measure, give it a spray with nonstick cooking spray. (You can also grease the pan with butter and skip the parchment, but it may be harder to remove from the pan.) Set the pan aside.
- Heat the Candy Ingredients, Except Baking Soda. Set a clean, medium-sized saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer over medium heat. Pour in the sugar, corn syrup, honey, and vinegar, stirring well the whole time. Whisking the mixture constantly, just until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, stop stirring.
- Bring the Mixture to Temperature. Let the candy continue heating, undisturbed, until the thermometer registers 300°F. Immediately remove the candy from the heat—don’t allow it to overheat!
- Add the Baking Soda. Whisk the baking soda into the candy right away, stirring quickly to combine.
- Pour, Cool, and Break. Pour the candy into your prepared baking pan. It will expand and be very light. Allow it to cool for an hour or so, until fully cooled. Once the candy is cool, use a large knife (and possibly a kitchen mallet) to break the candy into bite-sized pieces.
- Melt the Chocolate. Place the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir the chocolate pieces well, microwaving in very short bursts as needed to fully melt them. Don’t burn the chocolate!
- Dip the Sponge Candy. Quickly dip the broken candy pieces into the melted chocolate, and then place them on a baking tray or plate lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Let them set until the chocolate hardens. (To speed this up, you can pop the tray into the refrigerator.)
Tips and Hacks for Great Candy
Making sponge candy is very simple, with just a handful of easy steps. But there are still some helpful hints you should know! Here are my top tips for making the best, no-fail sponge candy that is crisp and light.
- Large Pan: Make sure to use a nice large pan, so that you get thinner candy pieces that are easy to break and eat. Using a square cake pan will result in thick, tall candy pieces that may be difficult to use.
- Don’t Overmix: If you stir the candy too much after adding the baking soda, it will cause the candy to deflate. Stir just enough to incorporate the baking soda, and then stop.
- Avoid Humidity: If you live in a humid area, wait until you have a relatively dry day before making this candy, or it won’t set properly. Make sure to store the candy in the freezer if the weather turns humid, so that it doesn’t absorb moisture and become sticky. (More on candy storage in a moment!)
This classic candy is perfect as-is, but if you’d like to change things up, try one (or more) of these easy variations! It’s so fun to be able to tweak a recipe and make it a little different.
- No Chocolate: This airy toffee is equally good without the chocolate coating, so feel free to skip it if you prefer.
- Butter: You can add a stick of butter to this candy as it cooks (before adding the baking soda) for a rich, butter-toffee flavor.
- Extracts: A little vanilla or rum extract goes beautifully with toffee:
- Sea Salt: Try drizzling the finished candy pieces with melted chocolate or white chocolate, and sprinkling with sea salt!
How to Store Extras
If it is not humid in your area, you can store this candy in zip-top bags, airtight containers, or a tin lined with wax paper at room temperature. It will stay fresh for up to two weeks. If it is humid OR you want to store the candy longer place it in the freezer.
Does Sponge Candy Freeze Well?
Yes, it does! If stored in a deep freezer, it will last almost indefinitely. In a normal freezer, I recommend using it within 6 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
Sponge Candy (Angel Food Candy)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark corn syrup
- ½ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda, sifted
- 10 ounces Ghirardelli chocolate wafers, milk or dark
- Line a 113×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey, and vinegar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
- Do not stir after the sugar has dissolved. Allow the candy to continue cooking until the candy thermometer reaches 300°F. Do not overcook.
- Remove the pan from the heat immediately, and add the baking soda, stirring quickly to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and allow to cool for about 1 hour, or until fully cooled.
- Break the cooled candy into pieces. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for one minute, stirring until smooth.
- Quickly dip the candy pieces into the melted chocolate, and then place the candy on a new piece of parchment paper until the chocolate hardens. To speed this up, you can pop the candy into the refrigerator to harden the chocolate quicker.
More Old-Fashioned Candy Recipes
- Almond Joy Truffles
- Butterscotch Haystacks
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark
- Pecan Pie Truffles
- Cinnamon Sugar Toffee
- Peppermint Oreo Truffle Balls
- Peanut Butter Pretzel Crockpot Candy
- Pecan Caramel Bars
- Pecan Christmas Crack
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