Sunday, December 27, 2009

I See Sea Foam By The Sea Shore - Sea Foam Candy

'Tis the season for homemade candy gifts for loved ones. The question, however, is whether the weather is cooperating and remains dry. And yes, today the east wind is howling out of the Columbia River Gorge and things have become very VERY dry indeed... Which is awesome for candy making! Woo Hoo!

My Auntie Patsy LOVES Sea Foam candy (for those living on the west coast of the U.S. of A). Sea Foam has many, many names though. It is known as Fairy Food or Angel Food Candy in Wisconsin and Sponge Candy in New York, Pennsylvania and Canada. Other parts of the globe refer to it as Cinder Toffee, Sponge Toffee, Honey Comb, Puff Candy, Hokey Pokey or Yellow Man. It is even sold commercially under the names of "Violet Crumble" in Australia (Though it doesn't contain violets in any way shape or form) and "Crunchie" in Britain.

Ingredients vary slightly from place to place. Most use Brown Sugar, Corn Syrup (Whether light or Dark) and Baking Soda... Those are the basic ingredients. Sometimes it's made with Honey; other times vinegar or Molasses are added to increase the acidity. Me, I use a combination of Granulated Sugar, Brown Sugar and light Corn Syrup with a little vanilla and the "ever present in order for this to work", Baking Soda. It ain't too pretty, but it sure is tasty.

Sea Foam Candy

1 cup (200 g) Granulated sugar
3/4 cup (146 g) Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup (8 TB) Corn syrup
1/4 cup (4 TB) Water
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 TB Baking Soda.

Line a 9x9 baking pan with aluminum foil, then lightly butter the foil and set aside.

In a LARGE (and I DO mean large) saucepan, cook the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium flame till the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.

Insert a thermometer, reduce heat to Medium-Low and continue cooking, without stirring, until it reaches hard crack stage. (300 F, 149 C) Be a little careful, cause it can scorch... Low and slow is the key to cooking the syrup to the proper temperature without burning it.
If crystals begin building up on around the rim, simply brush the crystals down with a pastry brush dipped in warm water.
Once the syrup reaches 300 degrees, remove from the flame, stand back a little (cause it will sputter a little) and add the vanilla, then the Baking Soda (This is when the fun begins, so pay close attention)

The mixture will foam up FAST so stir it only briefly (5 seconds - to distribute the Soda as thoroughly as possible) with a spatula and pour into the prepared baking pan. (making it IMPOSSIBLE to take a picture in the middle of this)

Let it sit for two hours to allow it continue to puff and harden.
After it has cooled, you can break it into chunks and dip in melted chocolate if you like, to help make it look a little "prettier".

I am not doing that, cause it's all about the Sea Foam, not about the chocolate...

That delicious brown sugary molasses toffee flavor with a delicately crispy texture is what it's ALL about baby!!



Heather S-G said...

SHANE!!! You do not know how long I've been searching for a good sea foam recipe!! It's always been a family favorite. Growing up in Grand Rapids (MI), there was a little candy shop (oh, they made the best sweets and malts) called Sweetland's that we always road our bikes to and my dad would always make me bring him home some sea foam! Oh wow, I haven't had it in so long, but it's bringing back memories and I can't wait to make some :D

DutchBakerGirl said...

I was thinking about this candy just the other day. I've never made it, but my best friend's mother used to when I was growing up. I love it! I grew up in Wisconsin and I think I've heard it called Angel Food candy or Seafoam. Good stuff...thanks for some good memories. Next year, I may even try making it!

Dajana said...

I don't think I've ever seen or eaten it, but you definitely got me on "caramel".
Wonder, however, if it's in any way similar to a candy I used to eat in Bosnia. I'll have to investigate

Patti T. said...

I vaguely remember hearing about this candy. I have never had it and don't remember even seeing it. I will have to test his out sometime, sounds like fun to make and I bet it is delicious.

Bob said...

I've never heard of this stuff before. I've been missing out, haven't I? It looks wicked good!

Unknown said...

yum!! and it looks so easy. I've never heard of this candy before. I must have a taste

Lisa Floor said...

Hello Shane. Im just wondering what courses and master you take to make such a very wonderful recipe like this. If I could rate you 1-10 then I'll give you 100! It was more than I expected so you deserve a score more than expected!