The Irish Yellowman Candy is a close relative to the honeycomb toffee but unique in its own way. It’s a traditional sweet treat that has been found at the Ould Lammas Fair in Northern Ireland for centuries.
I am so excited to welcome you to the second month of the Eat the World challenge and this month we are going to Ireland since March is famous for Saint-Patrick’s Day. No Irish blood in you? Well, no worries! You know what they say, everyone’s Irish on St Patty’s day. Since I have quite a few Irish recipes already on my blog, I went in search of a rare gem, a piece fallen from the pot of gold you could say, and found the Yellowman Candy Toffee.
Hammers and Paper Cones
The Yellowman Candy is closely associated with the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, in Northen Ireland. Now I know what you are going to say: Ireland and Northen Ireland are not the same countries! Very true but the fair goes back to the 17th century, therefore making it Ireland’s oldest fair. And the Yelloman Toffee was sold at the fair prior to the separation. And Saint-Patrick is the patron Saint of both countries. Did I make a good argument?
The fair takes place on the last Monday and Tuesday of August, celebrating the end of the harvest season. You will also find a lot of cattle and local treats to try. The Irish Yellow man can be found as rock hard blocks. It is so hard, merchants will break off pieces with a hammer and serve the rubble to you in paper cones. And it is often accompanied by the famous dulse, a dried seaweed I actually found in New Brunswick a couple of years ago. There is even an old folk song that mentions this Irish toffee candy:
At the ould Lammas Fair boys were you ever there
Were you ever at the Fair In Ballycastle-O?
Did you treat your Mary Ann to some Dulse and Yellow Man
At the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O
In Flander’s fields afar while resting from the War
We drank Bon Sante to the Flemish lassies O
But the scene that haunts my memory is kissing Mary Ann
Her pouting lips all sticky from eating Yellow Man
As we passed the silver Margy and we strolled along the strand
From the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O
Traditional Irish Food
If you want to know more about traditional Irish food and get more info on the Yellowman and Dulse combo, check out this article on what to eat in Ireland from XYU and Beyond.
I was surprised to see how many Irish recipes I already have on the blog: a gluten-free Irish Bacon Cabbage Millet Soup, a crockpot Chicken and Stout Stew, eggs benedict served on a colcannon. I needed to find something different and came across the Yellaman candy. By the way, the name of that candy is due to the color and not a racial slur as one might first think.
Yellowman Tips for Success
The Yellowman Irish candy is similar to the traditional honeycomb sponge toffee, but the ingredients vary slightly and there is always a touch of vinegar in it. Also, the rind is much thicker. The candy is exceptionally hard and brittle as the sugars are heated to the hard-crack stage (149 °C/300 °F). Apparently, in the old days, the warm toffee was placed on a hook and pulled repeatedly which gave it a light golden color.
The recipe may seem complicated but it was really easy to make as long as you have a candy thermometer and you are quick at the last stage, the bubbling stage. The bubbles are created by the addition of vinegar first, then baking soda, which causes carbon dioxide. Use a tall pan for this as the volume can triple or quadruple. The trick is to quickly and vigorously mix in the baking soda and pour the toffee into a pan before it hardens.
Once it has hardened completely…get your hammer and towel to break it up into chunks. If you like you can dip the pieces in chocolate as well. Keep the dust to top desserts and ice cream.
I served this to my family that came over for a potluck and everyone raved about it. Two cousins playfully fought (sorta) over who could bring some leftovers home. The rest I brought to work and everyone in my department went back for third or fourth servings. So yeah, the Yellowman Candy was a sweet success!
Irish Yellowman Candy
- 450 g/16 oz golden syrup
- 400 g/14 oz light brown sugar
- 20 g/0.75 oz butter
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 heaping tbsp baking soda
- Line an 8 x 8 inch cake pan with a greased parchment paper.
- In a tall saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter and then stir in the brown sugar, followed by the golden syrup. Bring to a gentle boil,stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn the temperature up a bit and boil, stirring occasionally, until you reach the hard crack stage (149 °C/300 °F). Keep a close eye and the syrup will thicken and froth a lot, but you do not want it to burn.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Stir in the white vinegar (careful, it could spit), then quickly stir in the baking of soda. be quick and vigorous and expect the volume to triple in size.
- Pour the yellow frothy toffee into the greased pan and allow to harden for 1h to 1.5h, before breaking into pieces.
Eat the World Recipe Challenge
Check out all the wonderful Irish dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Amy: Cheesy Potato Soup with Irish Ale
Nicoletta and Loreto: Irish Chocolate Stout Cake
Wendy: Instant Pot Irish Stew with White Cheddar Crust
Camilla: Shamrock Salad-Topped Irish Boxty
Tara: Irish Baked Eggs with Spinach
Karen: Irish Potato Cakes
Sarah: Irish Parsnip Soup
Margaret: Dublin Coddle (an Irish Stew)
Bernice: Potato Cabbage and Rutabaga Colcannon
PIN IT FOR LATER! https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/266275396703091093
How long, generally, after you pour it in the pan before it is ready to break/eat?
Great question, about 1h to 1h30m.
Hi Evelyne I was just wondering what the measurements would be in cups, I’m having a bit of trouble trying to convert them?
Try these measurements. Just keep in mind this is very approximate because each ingredient has a different weight.
450 g/16 oz golden syrup 1 1/4 cups
400 g/14 oz light brown sugar 2 cups
20 g/0.75 oz butter 1.5 Tbsp
Let me know if it works 🙂
Thank you so much and I will!
Can u use raw honey instead if the golden syrup?
Good question. I have never tried but a quick look online says honey is the same hard crack stage temperature. Let me know if you give it a try.
It looks good but not quite right. Yours looks more like honeycomb. Traditional yellaman, is bright bright yellow, and has next to no bubbles in it cause the rind is so tight! This looks delicious though, but won’t quite do it for me. The yellow reminds me too much of my granda buying it at Ould Lamma’s fair and cutting it up for us in the kitchen as a child! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowman_(candy) it looks just like this. But I may still try making this one, to feel even a little bit close to those memories! <3
I can imagine the taste of this! I love toffee I bet this would be good as an ice cream flavour
Oh yes would be a great ice cream, or top ice cream with the ‘dust’of the toffee after hammering it lol.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!! Have never heard of yellowman candy since is surprising since I’m a huge toffee fan. I love the way it works and the green chocolate is so much fun!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day MJ!!!! Lots of people in Ireland don’t even know about it, it is unique to that fair for the most part. Hope you try it 🙂
I would suck the SHIT out of this. Dare I say, suck it like a very ENTHUSIASTIC woman?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! If only. ONLYYYY it were GiGi Approved!
You would SUCK IT ALL THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL alas, it’s like 99.5% sugar. But it would be worth it 😀
I’ve never heard of this! LOVE discovering new things. Looks really good. And who doesn’t like a dessert they can hammer? 🙂
It was totally new to me too! And yes, first time I ever used a hammer to serve something lol. Well except for coconuts.
What a lovely treat, Irish blood or not this candy is a must. Love it.
Absolutely, everybody is Irish this week 🙂
Oh man, wish I’d seen this a couple days ago, I would have added it to my Irish celebration dinner!!!
Wel, you will have to host a second party lol 😀
Such a delightful treat which I haven’t tried until now, Evelyne! I love such easy and appetizing recipes which I can make even when being pressed for time!
A little cheat treat for you lol. I really is fats to make and a couple of hours to set.
That looks really good! I had never heard of this before but I’ve never been to Ireland! Hopefully one day I will 🙂
Same here, a bucket list destination!
So fun to have a true blue Irish candy recipe to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! The texture looks like some peanut brittle I’ve made—and I bet it’s darn tasty!
I am surprised I even found this, not a lot of info online considering lol. Very tasty and did a second batch yesterday – looked the same but a bit more toffee like.
So cool! Thank you. I’m going to make Yellowman this week with the little girl I teach cooking to – I know she’ll have a blast with the foaming up. Looks like a fun (and delicious) project. Thanks for the background story, too!
Oh that will be a fun project, let me know how it goes. Glad you enjoyed the post.
I love the history behind this candy! It looks like fun to make too!
Very fun and easy and quick, did a 2nds batch in like 12 mon lol
I’m glad you cleared that up…I definitely thought the name might have been a racial slur. What an interesting history you’ve accompanied this post with. It was a pleasure to read and the Yellaman candy looks amazing.
LOL I had to clear that up. So glad you enjoyed it and hope you might try it soon!
Such a beautiful texture! I tried making Honeycomb once and it didn’t end well. I definitely need to try this version
Thanks Tara, oh boy well I hope you give this one a try, just bring the temp up to hard crack and stir quick and vigorously at the end.
What a nice story, and such a yummy treat! Did not know about it, but that’s the beauty of the Eat the World Challenge. So happy to be a part of it.
Thank you guys! it is so easy to make I am actually doing a small batch now for a dinner tonight lol. So happy you are part of the group!
Don’t you love it when you share treats at work and they disappear? So gratifying!
That is very true, but glad I kept a small stash at home 😀
You are making my sugar-free diet so much more challenging! They look darn tempting!
LOL sorry Angie, no way to fix this one without sugar. Now that would be a challenge lol.
Not only did you make a good argument, you made an amazing recipe. Thanks.
Awe thank you so much Wendy 😀