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Sponge candy facts




Photo by Josh Flanigan

 

In Korea, the honeycomb interior is known as dalgona or ppopgi. It’s sold as street food in the form of brittle lollipops, cooked into whimsical shapes for customers on the spot.

 

On January 25, 1895, the Fort Wayne News advertises “Something new and delicious - Pepsin Sponge Candy” for an Indiana retailer called Batchelder’s.

 

Mrs. Dan Johnson’s recipe for sponge candy—which includes “one cup of table sirup (sic)”—is featured in the March 7, 1909, edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune.

 

Sponge is highly sensitive to humidity. For chocolatiers committed to making sponge from scratch, sponge candy production completely shuts down during WNY’s humid summer months.

 

Törökméz is the Hungarian name for the crunchy caramel-colored candy sans chocolate exterior.

 

The slogan for Australia’s Violet Crumble bar is “It’s the way it shatters that matters.”

 

The sponge for Cadbury’s Crunchie bar is cut with a highly focused “jet of oil,” which negates the odd sizes and fragmentation smaller confectioner’s have to deal with when it comes to cutting sponge.

 

Yellowman is an Irish candy, neon yellow in color and not dissimilar to sponge.

 

Baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda) is one of the key ingredients to making sponge. It wasn’t commercially available until 1843 when a British chemist created it to help his wife with her baking.

 

Sponge can be made of cane sugar, molasses, or corn syrup. While many of its ingredients can vary slightly, recipes always include vinegar and baking soda, which work together to create the chemical reaction that puffs the hot sugar.

 

Sponge is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water molecules from the surrounding environment at room temperature.

 

Psst … even national mega-chain Trader Joe’s sells its own sponge candy these days.

 

Today the honeycomb used inside sponge candy can be purchased online easily. Because of its finicky nature, many chocolate shops have chosen to use premade sponge rather than making it from scratch.

 

Cinder toffee is a traditional part of Britain’s annual Guy Fawkes Day celebration on November 5.

 

For more on sponge candy including a list of the best in WNY, click here.

 

Christa Glennie Seychew is a freelance writer who worked as food editor of Spree for many years.

 

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