What is Sponge Candy? Either you are from Buffalo and you exclaim, “How can you not know what this amazing confection is?” or you’re from almost anywhere outside of Buffalo and you have never heard of it. But the real question is, how is sponge candy made? Sponge Candy is a light and crunchy but delicate toffee made from sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda. The recipe is very simple but produces a very unique flavor reminiscent of toasted molasses. It is sometimes call honeycomb in Australia, cinder toffee in the UK, sea foam in the Pacific Northwest, fairy food in Chicago, or molasses puffs in St. Louis to name a few but none of these versions are the same as the Buffalo version and not nearly as good.
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Unlike the Buffalo Chicken Wing that can be found at almost any restaurant around the country, we wonder why can’t we find sponge candy in other parts of the country? Good question. There are a few possible reasons. Sponge Candy is very sensitive to heat and humidity and does not keep or travel well in warm weather, so this eliminates a large part of the country from getting their hands on the Buffalo version of Sponge Candy. The Sponge Candy recipe while not complicated does require some specific and expensive equipment to make it and many candy shops around the US do not make their own candy but buy and resell mass produced candy. Lastly the number of people sharing and passing on this Buffalo specific recipe is declining.
While the precise origin of sponge candy remains unknown, Fowler’s, as one of the earliest chocolate makers in Buffalo NY, claims to be the Original and Authentic maker’s of Buffalo Best Sponge Candy. The story of Fowler's Chocolate Shoppe, Inc. began in 1901 with a young entrepreneur by the name of Joseph A. Fowler. After living in England and Canada, Joseph traveled to Buffalo, NY to attend the Pan American Exposition. At the exposition, he created and sold a small variety of chocolate confections and sweets. The instant acceptance of his products, along with great encouragement from his patrons, inspired Joseph to pursue candy making as a career. With his brother, Claude, Joseph opened a small candy store in Buffalo. Now more then 100 years later Fowler's is owned by Ted Marks and Fowler's now makes 35,000 pounds of sponge candy per year and produce it year round to sell in their seven retail locations and online at www.fowlerschocolates.com
Fowler's Sponge Candy has also been featured in the New York Times http://nyti.ms/2dcmEQd