New Zealanders love hokey pokey. We know it primarily as a version of vanilla ice-cream with golden honeycomb chunks. The infatuation began before 1896 when a confectioner called William Hatton from Dunedin patented an ice-cream flavour called hokey pokey and then eventually through company divergence that product became the hugely popular Tip Top ice-cream flavour we know today. “Hokey pokey” was a slang term for ice-cream in general in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the etymology of which is not known but is thought to have been derived from Italian phrases used when selling gelato on the streets of London and New York.
Honeycomb or cinder toffee has references dating back to 1825 and the early days of sugar and toffee production in the Cornish countryside. The distinctive sponge-looking structure comes from the carbon dioxide trapped in the caramelised sugar mixture.
To make honey comb (courtesy of Edmonds cookery book 5th edition)
Place 4 tablespoons sugar in a pot with 2 tablespoons golden syrup and bring to a boil, slowly stirring all the time. Boil for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). Stir in quickly until it froths and pour at once into a greased tin. Break up when cold. Store in airtight container.
Hokey pokey truffles
Break off chunks of hokey pokey and dip into chocolate, or alternately smash to make a crumb and use fingers to combine to make a small ball. Dip each ball into chocolate ganache and using two teaspoons shape into a ball. Lastly roll in Dutch cocoa, for after-dinner chocolate truffles.
Quick honeycomb semifreddo
Fold chunks of honeycomb and frozen raspberries into chilled mascarpone. Spoon into a loaf tin lined with baking paper. Freeze overnight. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw slightly before slicing into pieces and serve with extra crumbled hokey pokey for garnish.
Mix together chunks of hokey pokey with dried fruits such as cranberries, blueberries or even dehydrated kiwifruit, plus toasted almonds or pistachios. Melt some good-quality dark chocolate and fold through the dried fruits and honeycomb. Spread in a slice tin lined with baking paper. When nearly set, cut into pieces.
Honeycomb, almond and banana milkshake
In a blender or Vitamix, place blanched almonds, almond milk, banana and Greek yoghurt. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and sprinkle over small chunks of honeycomb and finely grated dark chocolate. Serve immediately.