This is not a love story.  Well not in the classic sense.  Instead, this is a story of boy meets girl, over the bunsen burners, in the school Chemistry Lab.  Well actually, boy and girl had met a few years earlier but this was probably the moment that somewhere deep down, as she was admiring his ingenuity and cheekiness, that girl was somehow hooked (though she'd never have admitted it!).  

My husband and I met in high school and while we were far from 'sweethearts', we were certainly good friends long before we were romantically linked.  We bonded, along with a couple of other friends over Science - he had vague notions of becoming a veterinarian like his Dad, me a doctor, so we ended up sharing many of the same classes.  So in 3rd Form (8th Grade) Science class, everyone does this great experiment with sugar, baking soda and golden syrup. The resulting combination of ingredients - or 'elements' if we're being purely scientific - make a delicious sweet treat, we in New Zealand call 'hokey pokey' [sometimes referred to as honeycomb]. Of course, the experiment is designed to show the chemical reaction between bicarbonate soda and refined sugar, but as 13 year olds, you're much more interested in the candy by-product!
Picture
Him - Trying for the 'Miami Vice' look. Me - Check out those shoulder pads...well it was the 80's!
Fast forward a few years to our last year of High School, again in Science class.  This time however, we were meant to be responsible-18-year-olds-about-to-leave-school and our Chemistry Teacher had to leave the room for 'a while' to run an urgent errand.  While the rest of the class were quietly reading, my husband, who had found a 3rd Form textbook, looked up and questioned, 'time to make hokey pokey?'.  And with that, we were racing off to the Home Economics teacher for sugar and golden syrup...'for a science experiment for Mr H' - we already had the bicarb in the Chemistry cupboard.  Ingredients assembled, and bunsen burners lit, we were mid-way through this unethical 'experiment' when Mr H returned to class right in the middle of the shenanigans...

A lunchtime detention resulted for the main offenders - in this case my husband, my best friend and I - but it was worth it!  And now as I look back some 20 odd years later, I am not uncertain that there is something magical about this national sweet.  In New Zealand, our leading ice cream flavour would have to be Hokey Pokey - vanilla icecream with small pieces of the sweet throughout.  A top confectioner in NZ and Britain has taken hokey pokey one step further, and covered it in milk chocolate...thus the 'Crunchie Bar' was born.

So as today is Waitangi Day, a National holiday in New Zealand, (to celebrate the signing of our founding treaty/document) a bit like 4th of July, though with not as much fanfare, or balloons, or cards, or special cakes, or printed napkins... I thought it fitting to make Hokey Pokey - and my version of The Crunchie, with a dark chocolate coating!

Chocolate Hokey Pokey

Pantry Must Haves
10 Tbspns white sugar
4 Tbspns Golden Syrup*
2 tspn baking soda
about 1 cup melted chocolate (dark or milk)


[NOTE: for the foreigners Golden Syrup is a thick, amber-colored form of inverted sugar syrup.  In the US, you can find it in the British section of good supermarkets eg Kings].   
Method
Mix sugar and golden syrup 
IN A SAUCEPAN
Heat gently until sugar dissolves and turns golden (be careful not to burn). 
Boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add baking soda.  
Stir quickly until mixture froths.
Pour into a buttered baking tin.
Break into pieces when cold.
Melt chocolate and dip each piece of hokey pokey to cover.
Place on sheet of baking paper or foil to set.