My first experience with fairy food was at a Milwaukee vegan bake sale. It goes by other names like sponge candy and honeycomb candy, but it all tastes like the crisp exterior of a toasted marshmallow covered in chocolate and magic. The most notable part is that this recipe relies completely on chemistry; it’s basically a science fair volcano, and sugar went along for the ride. Yes, the recipe contains corn syrup. I don’t know about you, but if I’m making a conscious decision to eat sugar mixed with liquid sugar and a volcano, all covered in chocolate, I’m not going to be too particular about the syrup. I imagine agave or brown rice syrup would work similarly if you’d prefer to use that over corn syrup.
I won’t lie; this recipe takes some finesse. Timing is crucial when it comes time to transfer the mixture to a pan. When you stir in the baking soda, the mixture will foam up like crazy. It’s hard to see, but try to quickly dissolve the baking soda as much as possible before pouring it in the pan. Otherwise you’ll end up with hard, crunchy bits of sugar and pockets of baking soda in your fairy food…yuck. You do want the mixture to deflate a little as you whip it up so the mixture doesn’t continue to expand in the pan, which will create spillage over the edges, and large bubbles. We want nice, even foam that will solidify into toasty, crispy candy.
Makes an 8×8-inch tray
Choose a saucepan that’s small enough for the tip of the thermometer to be covered in the mixture so you get an accurate reading, but large enough for the mixture to bubble and expand at the very end (it will quite a bit).
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
12 ounces chocolate chips
2 teaspoons canola oil
Line an 8×8 pan with parchment
In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Bring to a boil, and heat to hard crack stage, 305-310 F (any less and the result will be chewy, weepy fairy food). This usually takes 15-20 minutes. Make sure the tip of the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan because this will skew your reading. I cranked up the heat partway through cooking to move it along. You should really be using a candy thermometer when working with high temperatures that need to be precise, but if you want to live on the edge, cook until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads. Do not stir once the mixture begins to boil.
While you wait for the mixture to reach hard crack stage, line your pan with parchment paper. Have your baking soda measured and ready to go, with no clumps (they will end up in your candy, which is unpleasant!). When the mixture reaches hard crack stage, remove from heat, and quickly stir in the baking soda with a whisk. Get that mixture into the pan, stat, then let cool. It won’t take too long to firm up, but avoid moving the pan so the candy doesn’t deflate while cooling. Cut into little pieces when cool.
Melt the chocolate chips and oil in a makeshift double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. Dip the candy in the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined sheet until set.