Tried the Squid Game honeycomb challenge, and it’s harder than it sounds

The Squid Game Honeycomb Challenge, among other games featured in the South Korean survival thriller, has piqued curiosity among many Netflix viewers who are intrigued to see if they can beat the show’s characters. Naturally, I also wanted to put my honeycomb carving skills to the test under pressure. However, the process ended up being much more difficult than I expected, even though it only needed two ingredients.

But before we dive into my disastrous experience trying to make Squid Game’s honeycomb candy, let’s sum up the show for those of you unfamiliar.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, Squid Game has quickly become a streaming sensation with the potential to become the most-watched Netflix show of all time, rivaling shows like Bridgerton and Emily. In Paris. In short, the survival thriller is a mix of Hunger Games and Battle Royale. The plot unfolds as 456 people struggling with debt join a mysterious series of children’s games to win a prize of ₩ 45.6 billion (or $ 38.7 million in US dollars). The only downside? Well, whenever a player is eliminated, they die.

The television show featured a series of games for children, such as “Red Light, Green Light”, “Stepping Stones” and more. And although we are more or less familiar with the format of such games, recreating the exact scenarios is difficult in real life. However, one of the games is really easy to test at home (removing the elimination factor, of course). And that’s the challenge of the honeycomb.

What is the honeycomb challenge?

Simply put, the player is given a flat candy made of sugar and baking soda with a pre-carved shape in the middle. Each player must separate the shape from the surrounding part of the candy without cracking or breaking. To do this, players can get creative with their methods, although the only tool available is a toothpick or a common sewing needle. Oh, and the task must also be completed within a 10 minute time limit.

But if you want to try to get through the game at home, creating the shape isn’t even the hardest part of the challenge. Full disclosure, the process of making honeycomb candy (also known as “dalgona candy”) is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Although the recipe only includes two basic ingredients that can be easily found in any home, the technique itself is quite complicated. I, for one, only managed to get it right after my sixth attempt, having wasted half a packet of sugar and spending at least five minutes cleaning the pan after each failed attempt. So if you don’t want to get tired of the caramelized sugar smell, read on.

Below I’ve put together a step-by-step guide based on countless YouTube and TikTok videos I’ve seen on how to try the Squid Game Honeycomb Challenge, keeping in mind the difficulties you may encounter and the things you should avoid. Basically I spent a good two hours trying to make the candy over and over again so you didn’t have to.

Here are the tools and ingredients you will need:

  • White sugar (we used powdered sugar): 3 tablespoons per candy
  • Baking soda: a pinch for caramel
  • Nonstick skillet
  • Baking tray
  • Non-stick waxed paper
  • Small cookie cutters
  • Something you can use as a press (we used a container lid)
  • Any oil to grease your press and cookie cutters (we use sunflower oil)
  • Toothpick or sewing needle

How to Make Squid Game Honeycomb Candy

Before diving into the cooking process, prepare your station and tools accordingly and make sure everything you need is close at hand. For once, you can be up for a squid game. Place your baking sheet next to your stove and spread the non-stick wax paper on top.

Make sure to generously grease the candy press and cookie cutters to prevent sticking later in the process.

1. Heat your skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, add your white sugar (we recommend three tablespoons per candy). If this is your first time, try not to make more than one candy at a time, as getting the proportions correct can be difficult.

2. Be patient for the sugar to gradually begin to melt. Try mixing it with a silicone spatula, toothpicks, or a spoon once the melting process begins. It should look a bit bulky as shown in the image below.

The process of melting and blending sugar to make Squid Game honeycomb candies

(Image credit: future)

3. Keep mixing until the melted sugar is that caramel-like color, but be careful not to burn it. At this stage, lower the heat to medium.

4. Add a pinch of baking soda, but don’t add more, as your candy can end up tasting strange. Mix well and your mixture should become frothy and slightly creamy in color.

5. Once the baking soda is incorporated with all the caramelized sugar, take your skillet and pour the mixture onto the wax paper on your baking sheet. Try to hold your pan firmly so that the mixture spills in one place, creating a circular shape.

6. Wait 4-5 seconds for the bubbling to settle slightly and press the mixture down with the pre-greased pressure instrument of your choice. Give it firm pressure, but be careful not to press too hard, as the caramel will harden too quickly and could break when you use the cookie cutter.

The Pressing and Melting Stages to Make Squid Game Honeycomb Candy

(Image credit: future)

It is important to press the caramel while the mixture is still hot, otherwise it may be resistant to pressure. Also try applying pressure towards the center of your press, so that the caramel spreads evenly, recreating an almost perfect circle.

7. In a quick, circular motion, turn the press and lift it up gently. It should come off without sticking. Steps 6 through 7 are the hardest to get right, so don’t be discouraged if you didn’t get it right the first time. You can try swapping your crimping tool for something else.

Traditionally, dalgona candy is made with a metal press that resembles a hamburger press, but you can go for anything else with a flat surface. Some people have used a frying pan, a plate, while we use a container lid. And don’t be shy with the oil, you can always remove the excess caramel later.

8. Once you’ve successfully pressed your candy, quickly press your cookie cutter right into the middle of the candy and hold it there for a good 5 seconds, then gently lift it up.

9. If you’ve reached this step, congratulations, the hardest part is over. Just let the caramel cool and harden, then carefully remove it from the wax paper. In the end, your honeycomb candy should end up looking something like this:

Squid Game Honeycomb Candy

(Image credit: future)

How to complete the Squid Game Honeycomb Challenge

smashing the shape of the Squid Game honeycomb challenge

(Image credit: future)

Now that you have your honeycomb candy, it’s time for the ultimate test. Set a timer for 10 minutes and try to shape the caramel without breaking or cracking. In the image on the left, we tried to use a toothpick at first, although the method is quite risky as the toothpick ended up breaking quite quickly. If this happens to you, try using a sewing needle (the instrument the interpreters obtained).

You can also try Seung Gi-hun’s method, which involves flipping the cookie and licking the edges of the shape so that eventually the shape just falls off. Note that this method takes longer and the extremely sweet sugary taste can make you sick. For me, the last method took longer, but it was effective.

I managed to successfully complete the challenge in less than 8 minutes.

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