Since our first big honey harvest, I’ve been looking at ways to use our pure, raw honey. My daughter-in-law, Jess Kowalski, requested honey spoons. Honey spoons are spoons covered with hardened honey candy. They are used to stir honey into your hot tea and are more portable because the honey is hardened. Due to the high-intensity heat used when making candy, not to mention the sugar, it’s not exactly a healthy way to use organic honey, but it’s fun to be able to share.
Heats Effect on Raw Honey
Raw honey is well known for its health benefits. To harden honey, the candy mixture needs to be heated to very high heat. The hard-crack stage of candy making is achieved at 300 to 310 degrees. Minimally heating honey does not affect the nutrient value of raw honey. As a rule, a beehive has an internal temperature of around 95 degrees. When honey is heated over even 98 degrees the benefits of using raw honey are beginning to be compromised. Heating to 310 degrees certainly negates any health benefits. Read more here on the effects of heating honey.
Candy Making Stages
When making candy, recipes often refer to the stage of cooking. There are a total of 6 stages in candy making. A candy thermometer reads the temperature but also indicates the cooking stage. Therefore the cooking stage describes the end results of the candy.
As the candy boils, moisture is cooked out of the mixture, and so this increases the sugar concentration. Honey Spoons are cooked to the hard crack stage. The hard crack stage is 300 to 310 degrees which raises the sugar concentration of the mixture to 99%. The correct stage can be tested by dropping a small amount into a glass of cold water. At the hard crack stage, the candy will be hard and will crack when bent. Toffee and lollipops are examples of hard crack stage candies.
In my video, I skimmed the foam from the top of my mixture at the softball stage. The softball stage is at a temperature of 235 to 240 degrees. When placed in cold water, the candy will form a soft ball of candy that will be flexible. It doesn’t hold its shape when removed from the water, it will flatten and spread. The sugar concentration will be at 85%. So as not to waste the candy I collected at soft ball stage, I rolled it into wrappers and enjoyed these sweet treats. Fudge and fondant are examples of softball candies.
I’d like to try this recipe and heat it to the hardball stage of candy making. hard ball stage is heated to 250 to 265 degrees. Hardball candies are similar to nougat. gummies and divinity. I think this would make a really great honey candy option. I’m going to put it on my list to try with the next batch.
White Vinegar in Candy?
Vinegar in the candy recipe may seem quite out of place, but it’s actually there for a pretty scientific reason. Not only does the white vinegar add some tartness to the sweet concoction. The acid level of the vinegar helps prevent the crystallization of the sugars. The end result of the candy should be smooth, clear, solid hard candy. The crystallization of the sugars would make the candy gritty. Some recipes use lemon juice rather than vinegar. The acid has the same effect on the sugars and creates honey-lemon spoons.
To create my honey spoons, I used plastic spoons to dip the honey mixture into the bowl of the spoon and allowed it to harden. The intense heat of the mixture can melt the plastic spoons. If you are concerned with using plastic spoons for this recipe, there are a few alternative ideas.
Honey spoons can be made using real spoons. Inexpensive real spoons can be found in a thrift store or yard sales. The unique handles of the spoons can add to the charm of giving this homemade gift.
Honey spoons can also be made in lollipop molds. I have searched for a spoon-shaped mold to no avail! However, round lollipop molds are abundant and affordably priced. Lollipop molds have a slot to add the lollipop sticks so that they can be perfectly submerged into the honey mixture to make perfect homemade honey lollipops every time. If you prefer, you can make simple hard candies, with no stick at all.
Cook with Me
Tips for Making Honey Spoons
When cooking the honey mixture in a small saucepan, it’s important to cook at medium heat. Cooking the mixture at a higher temperature only burns the sugars. My batch had a slightly bitter taste to it, which I attribute to my impatience to cook the honey mixture at the proper temperature. Cooking at a gentle simmer will also prevent the mixture from boiling over.
Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture. The high heat of the candy mixture will melt your plastic spoons and rubber spatulas. Wooden spoons can handle the high heat of making homemade lollipops.
Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper to make cleanup a breeze. You can spray the parchment paper with a non-stick spray, but I didn’t find it to be a necessity.
Once the honey spoons are hardened, small cellophane treat bags make packaging the treats quick and easy. Creative labels are a nice twist when using honey spoons as gifts. If you are looking for something a bit more simple that doesn’t incur any extra expense, honey spoons can easily be wrapped in plastic wrap.
Honey spoons can be made in a variety of flavors, some cooks add essential oils to add a different flavor. Experiment with your favorite flavors to make extra special gifts. Other natural ingredients can also be added like lemon, ginger, and cinnamon for slight variations in flavor. Homemade honey-lemon sore throat drops can easily be made with just a few simple tweaks.
Candy Making Fun
Even though the Honey Spoons are simply candy, they are a nice treat and a sweet way to enjoy your tea. I enjoyed making them for the family as a honey gift I could share for the Christmas holiday.
- 1 cup honey
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- Pour the honey, sugar, vinegar and water into the saucepan. Stir the ingredients to combine them.
- Heat the mixture on high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, bring the mixture to a boil. (A wooden spoon will not melt as the temperature increase.)
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, insert a candy thermometer into the mixture. The tip of the thermometer should be fully submerged in the mixture, but not touching the pan.
- Notes: The original recipe was rather vague about stirring once the heat is reduced to a simmer., I don't think it is necessary, though I did stir it most of the time. Even at a simmer, the mixture will maintain its boil. The moisture needs to evaporate out of the mixture to raise the temperature and sugar content.
- Cook the mixture until it reaches hard crack stage, 300 to 310 degrees. To test the mixture, drop a small amount into cold water. The candy will harden instantly and will be brittle when cracked.
- Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature put the pan into an ice bath to stop the cooking process for 10 to 15 seconds. I used a larger cast iron skillet that I had filled with water and ice. Spray a baking sheet or lollipop molds with cooking oil. Dip the spoons into the honey mixture, fully coating the bowl of the spoon and filling it with honey. I had to elevate the handle of the spoons to prevent the honey from pouring out.
- You can sprinkle with lemon rind or mint leaves before they harden to add some extra flare. Once hardened, package in cellophane wrappers and decorate with a colorful ribbon.
For your convenience, I have created a printable recipe card, however, I would like to credit the original source of the recipe here.
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About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.