Days of Olde
I first came across Spun Sugar via the picture of this gal making it. Below are several recipes for Spun Sugar, plus
that picture of the gal that started it all for me.
I'll get a better picture before the end of March, shaky hands don't take very good pictures....
A warning on these spun sugar recipes, some people have had problems with them, humidity may be a factor and the temperature. You may need to work
with the recipes in order to get them to work properly. Most of these recipes were done decades ago and very little has been done to adjust them to modern
There will be a mix of old recipes along with the new for Spun Sugar, you can give it a try...
Spun sugar is thin, almost threadlike strands of cooked sugar used in decorating cakes, ice cream, croquembouche, Saint-Honore and plated desserts.
Cook sugar syrup to 310°F degrees for "clear" threads (or add coloring) or 320°F degrees for "caramel" colored threads.
Dip pan into ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove and allow the sugar mixture to thicken - about 5 minutes.
Prepare work area by placing a clean sheet of parchment paper on the counter.
Then dip the spun sugar tool into the cooked sugar and allow the excess to dip-off the tool. Quickly wave the spun sugar tool back and forth to produce fine spun sugar.
Then gently bunch the fine sugar threads into a nest and decorate your dessert!
Have ready a wire whisk altered by cutting each wire before it begins to
bend back toward the handle, or several skewers in lieu of the whisk.
Dip the end of the snipped whisk, or the fanned skewers, into the hot
sticky caramel and lift it about 12 inches about the pot. The caramel
will thicken as it cools. At first it will flow from the wire tips in very
thin threads. The caramel must cool a bit more before it is ready to spin. Continue to dip and lift the whisk repeatedly, watching the threads. Caramel
is ready to spin when the threads become slightly thicker and more golden
and flow more slowly. You will be able to grasp the threads in your bare hand, and pull them aside, stretching. Threads of caramel are not hot, but
the caramel in the container is very hot and so are all the droplets thick
globs that fall from the skewers or whisk. Each time you dip into the
caramel, hold the whisk or skewers high and wait until the heaviest flow
of caramel subsides into threads before you touch it. Pull the threads aside immediately, out from under the whisk so that any drops of caramel that
fall cannot burn you. Continue to tip and wait for the threads, pulling
them aside and onto the dessert. If the caramel gets to cool
to spin, reheat gently over very low heat, without boiling. Spun sugar
lasts a very short time. Serve as soon as possible.
2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp corn syrup
Vegetables spray and/or oil
Cover the work space with parchment or waxed paper and the floor with newspaper.
Spray a large, heavy baking sheet with vegetable spray, wiping any excess off with a paper towel. Set baking sheet in the middle of the prepared work space.
Place the sugar, 1/2 cup water, and corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, over low heat. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Raise heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Continue cooking until the temperature registers 310°F (hard-crack stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and briefly plunge the saucepan into ice water to stop the cooking. Let stand to thicken slightly, about 1 minute.
Dip a fork or balloon whisk (preferably one that has had the wires cut off at the bottom to leave many straight equal-length wires) into the sugar syrup and wave back and forth to draw out long, fine, threadlike strands over the baking sheet. The syrup will begin hardening almost immediately. With practice you can form the strands into a lattice design, swirls, or even form them into a lacy dome by drawing them out over an inverted oiled bowl or other desired shape.
Makes about about 2 cups.
2 lbs sugar
2 c boiling water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Put ingredients in a smooth saucepan. Boil without stirring until syrup begins to discolor, which is 300°F. Wash off sugar which adheres to sides of saucepan, as in making fondant. Remove saucepan from fire, and place in a larger pan of cold water to instantly stop boiling. Remove from cold water, and place in saucepan of hot water. Place two broomstick-handles over backs of chairs, and spread paper on the floor under them. When syrup is slightly cooled, put dipper in syrup, remove from syrup, and shake quickly back and forth over broomhandles. Carefully take off spun sugar as soon as formed, and shape in nests, or pile lightly on a cold dish. Syrup may be colored if desired. Spun Sugar is served around bricks or moulds of frozen creams and ices.
Dippers for spinning sugar are made of coarse wires; about twenty wires, ten inches long, are put in a bundle, and fastened with wire coiled round and round to form a handle.
Recipe From: Fannie Merrie Farmer, 1918 : Boston Cooking School of Cookbook.
2 c sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp corn syrup
Cover the work space with parchment paper and the floor with newspaper. Prepare an ice-water bath.
Place the sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Raise heat to high, and bring mixture to a boil. Continue cooking until the temperature registers 310° (hard-crack stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and briefly plunge the saucepan into ice water to stop the cooking. Let stand to thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Use immediately.
Makes about 2 cups.
Recipe From: Martha Stewart Living.
Instead of a fork, use a cut-off balloon whisk to spin the sugar webs. When working with hot sugar, it is always a good idea to keep a bowl of ice water nearby in case you burn yourself. Humidity causes spun sugar to soften and disintegrate, so be sure to work in a cool, dry environment. Keep in mind that decorations made from spun sugar should be used within a few hours of preparation, or they will melt.
For The (Caramel) Spun Sugar
1/2 c water
1 c sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (the ingredients are right on....no problem there)
Make The (Raramel) Spun Sugar
1. You can make a reusable sugar-spinning tool from a wire whisk by snipping off the curved section of each wire (using a wire cutter) until the whisk resembles a bouquet of wire stems, or you can use a handful of skewers. Have ready the altered whisk or a few wooden or metal skewers, and a sheet of foil or parchment.
(I use a cut off wire whisk and two wooden dowels....the dowels are hanging off the edge of my work table and are weighted down with a heavy box or something)
2. Have a white saucer and a skewer at the side of the stove to test the color of the syrup. (I find this unnecessary! It's just as easy to judge the color of the caramel in the pan. Besides, you can make spun sugar out of light colored caramel or dark colored caramel, it all depends on the look you want. Just remember, that once you take the caramel off the heat, it will continue to cook itself and darken from it's own residual heat......if you don't want it to darken any more, shock the pan....you do that by dunking the whole pan in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.)
3. Pour the water into a 1-quart saucepan and set it over medium heat. Mix the sugar and cream of tartar and pour the mixture carefully in a thin stream into the center of the pan to form a low mound. Without stirring, use your fingers to pat the sugar mound down until it is entirely moistened; any sugar at the edges of the pan will be safely below the water line. (I have no idea what this whole "pour the sugar and cream of tartar in a thin stream to form a low mound" horse puckey that is. I just mix the water, sugar, and cream of tartar together in the pan.......I say, ignore that whole "low mound" thing. It just sounds like another waste of valuable time to me!)
4. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes (still without stirring), until when you lift the lid, the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup looks clear. Uncover the pan and continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup begins to color slightly. If the syrup seems to be coloring unevenly, swirl the pan gently, rather than stirring. (This is a good idea.....covering the pan while the sugar is cooking initially is a no-fuss way to wash down the sides of the pot. Alternately, you can leave the pot uncovered, and wash down the sides of it with cold water and a pastry brush-which I've done-but covering the pot is easier.)
5. To test the caramel, use the skewer to drop a bead of syrup onto the white saucer. When a drop of syrup looks pale amber on the saucer, turn the heat to low and pay close attention. Continue to cook and test drops of syrup until it has darkened to a slightly reddish amber color. (Like I said, unnecessary.)
6. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool and thicken for a minute or two. (Or you can shock the pan) Dip the tips of the whisk or fanned skewers into the caramel and lift them 12 inches above the pan, watching how the caramel flows from the tips back into the pan. At first the caramel will form very fine threads as it flows off the whisk. As it cools, it will flow more slowly and form thicker golden threads: perfect spun sugar. Continue to dip and lift the whisk until this happens.
7. The drips and little globs of caramel that fall from the wires are extremely hot, but the threads are cool enough to touch. Grasp and pull the threads aside with your hand, coiling them into a pretty tangle directly on top of a dessert or onto the foil sheet. Continue to dip the whisk to make more spun sugar. After each dip, raise the whisk and wait until the heaviest flow of caramel subsides into threads before touching them. Pull the threads aside, out from under the whisk, so that any drops of caramel that fall cannot burn you. With your hands, shape the tangle of threads to form a nest, halo, or cloud. When the caramel becomes too thick, re-melt it over the lowest heat, trying not to let it boil and scorch. Depending on the weather, spun sugar is short-lived. Serve desserts with spun sugar as soon as possible.
(If you've ever had the unfortunate feeling of being burned with hot sugar, you would not be too wild about this method. As experienced as I am, I'm not about to put my hand below a cut-off whisk dripping hot sugar....no way!
This is how I spin my sugar.......remember, above I mentioned my two dowel rods hanging off the edge of my worktable....this is where they come in handy. Once my sugar is dripping off the whisk in nice little threads, I quickly
"whip" my whisk up and down, using my entire arm, so that the threads flying off the whisk land across the two dowel rods. When I get the amount I'm looking for, I gently pick up the threads and coil them up or do whatever I'm going to do with them. I dip the whisk again, and whip away, then coil up my threads. You'll find you can get a heck of a lot of threads this way. The only downside is it's a little messy. I always make sure I cover the floor below my dowel rods with parchment paper or plastic, and I make sure my apron is covering my thighs! Those flying threads kind of go everywhere. Basically, you can do either method......my method is a little messier, but you get more bang for your buck....meaning more threads, less work, which is important to me. The other method is neater, but more labor intensive, and there's potential for some bodily harm there too. I've been burned by hot sugar, and I will do anything to avoid it. It's awful. I'm kind of a wimp that way, so that's why I do the "messy method".)
Alice Medrich's Method re-done by Annie Welch for spun sugar instructions found at www.about.com
Spun Sugar Crown
Please read this completely and gather everything you need before starting.
vegetable oil, for working
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1 tsp grated beeswax *
* most health food stores carry this or look online for beeswax.
Using masking tape, attach 2 wooden spoons to the counter, placing them side bt side with the handles extended over the edge. Lightly oil the handles. Cover floor with newspaper.
Bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugaar has dissolved. Cook until mixture turns pale amber and registers 300°F on a candy thermometer, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 2 minutes. Stir in beeswax. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until caramel registers 250°F.
Cut the looped ends of a wire whisk with wire cutters (or use 2 forks held back to back). Dip ends into caramel. From about 2 feet above spoon handles, swing caramel back and forth like a pendulum in long arcs, allowing strands to fall in thin threads over the handles. Immediately gather strands into a nest.
Recipe From: Martha Stewart Living, May 2006