As I've been working my way through my family cookbook, most of the recipes that I've found are pretty solidly steeped in 1970s culinary culture. Some, however, come from a much, much earlier time.
My Aunt Evie's "sponge candy" recipe, for example, is a traditional dish that is surprisingly very well-traveled (although it seems to be particularly popular in Buffalo, New York, which claims it as a local specialty).
Basically a mix of vinegar, dark corn syrup, sugar and baking soda, sponge candy gets its distinctive texture from the carbon dioxide bubbles trapped inside the sugar matrix.
It is insanely easy to make, a lot of fun to watch, and not that hard to clean up. The molasses richness of the dark corn syrup imparts a bizarrely addictive flavor and the foamy bubbles give it a really strange texture.
Best of all, Karo syrup is no longer using HFCS, which means that I don't need to deal with the devil's additive!
The recipe after the jump.
Sponge Candy1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp baking soda
Grease a 9-inch-by-9-inch metal pan. Set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar and vinegar. Cook over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring until it reaches 300° on a candy thermometer. Quickly remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Mix well while it foams up and quickly pour into buttered pan. It will spread itself. Let cool, then cut or break into pieces.
A few notes: When cleaning up, simply soak everything in water. All the ingredients are water-soluble, so a nice long soak should do most of the work for you. Also, it is vitally important to use a candy thermometer, as this won't work too well if it isn't sufficiently cooked. However, as soon as the temperature hits 300°, quickly pull the candy off the stove, as it can easily burn. Enjoy!