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Sponge Candy

I've always wondered how this unique and old fashioned treat was made. My grandmother introduced it to me when I was pretty young and it was always one of her favorite sweets. I usually try and grab some for her birthday each year but it can be hard to find and is only located at random shops and candy stores every now and again. I was crushed last year when it was discontinued at Trader Joe's. I had no other places to buy it so I figured I would attempt it at home. I was pleasantly surprised with how closely it resembled the store-bought stuff and it tasted just as delicious too! My grandmother finished the entire bag in two days so I'm pretty sure she approved. If you don't already have a candy thermometer I would highly recommend getting one for this recipe. I used a meat thermometer that didn't clip onto the pan and lets just say it turned out to be an incredibly (hot) sticky mess. I burnt my fingers on the steam holding it over the pan for so long and then eventually dropped it all the way in the candy. You live and you learn! On the bright side, the candy was so tasty I made it again (with the proper thermometer) and boy did it make a difference.

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 TB distilled white vinegar

1 TB baking soda

*candy thermometer

1. Line a 9 inch square pan with foil, extending up and over sides. Generously spray pan with cooking oil.

2. Combine sugars, corn syrup, vanilla and vinegar in a large deep saucepan. Cook on medium heat, continuously stirring until the sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes).

3. Continue cooking on medium heat WITHOUT STIRRING until the clip on candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees (about 20 minutes).

4. Once the thermometer reaches 300 degrees, remove pan from heat. Remove the thermometer. Immediately add the baking soda and stir well - it will begin to foam and rise rapidly.

5. Pour mixture into prepared pan and cool completely about 2 hours. Do not press down or smooth out candy while pouring, it will reduce the air pockets needed for the "sponge" effect.

6. Lift the candy out of pan and remove all foil. Break candy into large pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Cover in chocolate if desired.

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