Spun Sugar! The Perfect addition to any winter cake, it looks very icy and whimsical. However the creation process for spun sugar is anything but whimsical! I gave it a try over the christmas break, and it turned out pretty good, I still need practice though, so the following tutorial is more of a guideline, I had a hard time cooking the sugar to the right temperature. (I also didn't have a very good candy thermometer, which may make the process a little easier!)
Start with wooden spoons taped to the counter top... (I added a box on the end of the spoons to ensure that they were really secured!) Then add newspaper... I was very skimpy on my newspaper... If you don't want to spend an hour, before your friends come over for a christmas party, cleaning hardened sugar off of EVERYTHING then I suggest you add ALOT more newspaper... pretty much cover your kitchen in the stuff.
Two sheets of newspaper... what was I thinking?!? Next crisco your spoon handles... (So that the spun sugar is easily removed)
Now prepare your Ice bath, this is to stop the sugar cooking more once its reached the correct temperature.
Now it starts to get tricky... First dissolve 2 cups of sugar into two tablespoons of corn syrup, and allow to boil, stirring constantly.
Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is boiling stop stirring and allow the mixture to cook till 300F.
Once the sugar mixture has reached 300F remove from heat and immediately place in the ice bath. (Because the pot will be hot it will hiss and steam and make fun sounds when placed in the ice bath)
The sugar syrup should be a golden yellow. Allow the mixture to cool till 250F stirring occasionally.
Now Im not sure that I cooked my sugar long enough, The spun sugar was to white, it should also be a golden yellow colour. However it still looked amazing!
Here is where this gets fun! Now you take a fork, dip it in the sugar syrup and quickly flick it back and forth across the spoons allowing the sugar to form long strands. (The flicking of the sugar is the part that will COAT your kitchen in tiny sugar droplets. Once again I stress the need for lots of news paper!)
I think that it looks pretty cool though!!! My sugar cooled a little to fast so it was very brittle and I think that would be solved by simply cooking the sugar a little longer. Now you simply 'collect' the sugar strands and form it into the sugar nest or the sugar-what-ever-you-want.
Now, That could've been the end, but I wanted to make more so I thought I would re heat the sugar... Turns out that this is a delicate procedure... in case your wondering what burnt sugar looks like, it looks something like this....
Black and tar like. but I thought id try and make the spun sugar anyway... it looks something like this...
Actually, it looks kinda nice, all golden in colour... I think that the perfect spun sugar would be something in between the burnt dark-gold sugar and the pure white spun sugar. I ended up using the gold sugar, as I had more of if and it was taller. I used it as a cake topper on a simple, and yet amazing chocolate cake.
I think that it looks kinda neat, but maybe I should have used the white sugar as a better colour contrast between the cake and the topper...
I havent used the white sugar yet when writing this post, but it was intended to be used like a sugar halo... something like this...
I think that it looks pretty good, I will have to try the spun sugar again... maybe with a better candy thermometer! Happy Holidays!