Sugar-dusted honey balls from the Outlander novel, Dragonfly in Amber, book 2 in the insanely popular series by Diana Gabaldon and now an award-winning TV series on STARZ! You only need 5 ingredients and a candy thermometer to create these fun hard candies!
Honey Balls from Outlander
I am obsessed with creating recipes from food themes (or even just small mentions) in any kind of pop culture - books, movies, and TV. This recipe for sugar-dusted honey balls was inspired by a passage in the second book in the Outlander series - Dragonfly in Amber. I'm also sharing this recipe in celebration for Season 6 of Outlander now airing on STARZ!
...my eye suddenly fell on the on the other small, yellowish lumps that Jamie had removed from his sporran.
'What on Earth are those things, Jamie?' I asked, letting go of him long enough to point.
'Och, those? They're honey balls, Sassenach.' He picked up one of the objects, dusting at it with his fingers. 'Mrs. Gibson in the village gave them to me. Verra good, though they got a bit dusty in my sporran, I'm afraid.' He held out his open hand to me, smiling. 'Want one?'Dragonfly in Amber, Outlander Book 2, Diana Gabaldon
A few years ago I created Scottish Bannocks, another Outlander recipe, so be sure to check that one out too!
Required Ingredients & Equipment
This is a simple recipe that, with a little care, isn't too fussy to put together.
- Sugar - Use plain ol' granulated white sugar when making this candy.
- Water - A bit of tap water to help dissolve the sugar as the candy mixture heats up.
- Lemon or Lime Juice - While I realize that in the Scottish Highlands of the 18th century, citrus very likely wasn't available (or if it was, it was likely a rare and expensive import), my 21st century take on this candy uses a bit of citrus for some extra tang.
- Honey - Use your favorite brand!
- Candy Thermometer - This is an essential piece of equipment for making this recipe. Use the style that clips onto the pot for constant monitoring of the temperature of the candy mixture. You want the candy to reach Hard Crack stage, or about 300F, before pulling it off the heat. Doing this will ensure that the candy is nice and crunchy when it cools off instead of tacky and gooey.
- Candy Mold - Silicone candy molds are ideal for making these honey balls. I used this one which has over 400 ½ inch cavities (you won't fill all of those up). There's all kinds of sizes and shapes of molds. Choose one with smaller cavities and have fun with the shapes!
While making honey balls is a simple and fairly straightforward process, there's a few places where care needs to be taken to ensure a fabulous result.
- Pan Size: As the candy mixture cooks it will start getting all excited and bubble and foam up in the pan. Make sure that you have plenty of vertical space above the liquid so you don't have any spillovers, otherwise you'll be left with one seriously sticky mess!
- Temperature: The most important part of making homemade candy is ensuring that it is cooked to the proper temperature. A candy or deep fry thermometer that clips onto the pot is vital to keeping a close watch on the temperature. The candy needs to reach hard crack stage, or about 300F. If the mixture is not cooked to this temperature, it will not be hard and crunchy when cooled. If it's cooked too hot, it will have a slightly burned, unpleasant flavor.
- Let It Cool... But Not Too Much: When the proper temperature is reached, the candy will still be bubbling and acting up. Pull the pan off of the heat and let it settle down for a minute or two while stirring. Don't let it cool too much or the candy will start setting up and it'll be a pain in the butt to transfer into your candy molds.
- Proper Storage: Humidity is a killer of homemade hard candy. Make sure, after dusting the candy with powdered sugar, it is kept in a fully airtight container in a cool place. You can even keep the container in the freezer (but not the fridge!)
What Kind of Candy Mold To Use?
I like silicone candy molds because they are flexible, which makes it easier to release the sticky lil' candy bits from the mold once the hot mixture has cooled down and set up.
Here's a few to consider:
468 Cavity Mini Round Silicone Candy Mold - This is the one I used to make the honey balls in the photos. They make tiny little half-inch candies that I found to be an ideal size. The mold is flexible and popping the candies out was easy.
255 Cavity Heart-Shaped Silicone Candy Mold - 255-cavity mold that creates similar-sized candies to the ones above, except these are heart shaped! Cute!
What Would You Like To See?
Are you a fellow lover of recipes inspired by pop culture? Or copycat recipes from your favorite restaurants? Please let me know - I'm always looking for new ideas!Print
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