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How should I pour sugar to make Doozer sticks?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm making an elaborate Fraggle Rock cake for my daughter's birthday. I want to make some clear sticks in a scaffold-like setup for the Doozer part. I'd post a picture but I'm too new to the board to be allowed to post URLs, but if you google-image-search on doozer you'll be able to see what I'm going for.

I tried making some sugar last weekend for the first time and determined I need a mold, because it flows too much to just pour it. I played with pulling but mostly made artful lumps. :)

I talked to a cake store owner at my local cake decorator's club last week (nobody else at the meeting knew anything about pouring sugar) and we agreed that probably the easiest thing to do for a mold would be to find a hard candy mold with space for lollipop sticks and use the part for the sticks.

But when I asked her about how to get the sugar more clear (mine turned fairly amber-coloured), she didn't know and suggested using isomalt instead.

So I'd like to know:

1) Will isomalt come out more clear?

2) Is isomalt safe for kids to eat? I read that it might give gas?

3) Does isomalt count as alcohol? I read that it's a sugar alcohol...for dietary restriction reasons I cannot cook with or serve alcohol as in wine, beer, etc. Put it this way: would isomalt be considered okay for Mormons and Muslims?

4) Assuming I don't use isomalt, can anyone please share tips on how I can avoid the sugar mixture going amber? Do I just take if off the heat sooner, or will that make the sugar too weak?

5) Assuming I could successfully make a bunch of sticks, how would I stick them together to make the scaffold-like structure? I don't have a torch, do I need one? Or could I just heat the tips another way and stick them together? Or is there a kind of sugar glue I could use, akin to sticking fondant together? And speaking of fondant, I'm making teeny tiny fondant doozers...how do I stick them on the poured sugar?

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I know I'm probably being a bit adventurous in even trying to do this stuff untrained, but I'd really like to give it a go. Thanks!
post #2 of 5
I am new at playing with sugar as well. I just made 700 sunflower and fish candies for a friends wedding and I definitely had a few ups and downs.

I tried a few different hard candy mixes and a few from scratch. Here is one that came out clear but the texture for eating is a little too chewy for me.

2 Cups sugar
1 cup liight corn syrup
1 dram of flavoring if desired

Another reason it may be browning is because it is cooking too long. You want to get just to a hard cracked stage which for me is best at about 285-290. Also, for me it seems that it takes a while to reach 250 and it stays there for a little while and then out of no where the temp shoots up quick and if you don't pull it off right when it is ready and pour it, then it burns and browns. Once off heat it cools and harden easy as well.

I don't know how you would adhere the sugar pieces together. Maybe just heating a small amount of sugar mixture once your pieces have cooled completely and then using a small dab of the hot sugar and hold for a minute so it sticks and then prop it up to cool completely. Just a thought, I have no idea. :crazy:

Fondant sticks well to things when it is moistened with a little alcohol based vanilla extract (vodka works too ;)) or even a little water. It turns the fondant a little gummy. Maybe that would be enought to adhere to the fondant. Again, never tried it. If you moisten the fondant, you only need a dab because it breaks down the fondant and gets too gummy.

I may not have helped at all but it was worth a try. Good luck!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I saw exactly the same thing you describe, that the temperature stayed steady for awhile and then shot up and yes, that's when it browned.

My inexperienced googling lead me to two recipes saying I should do to 305-ish for hard crack, which is also what my thermometer says. But if you say that 285-290 produces a stiff enough result, I'll totally go with that.

post #4 of 5
One way to tell that it is hard crack the old fashioned way, without the thermometer is to get a glass (I spray it first with non-stick to aide in cleanup) and fill it with ice cold water. Take a few drops of the hot sugar and drop it in the glass.

If it immediately hardens in like spiderwebbed patterns and stands up in the glass, it is hard crack. You can touch it with your fingers when you pull it out of the glass and it will feel like hard candy and you can snap it it should break like hard candy. That is when it is ready and you need to pull it off and use quickly.

If it falls in the bottom in a little blob, it is not ready. I have found like with the 285-290. It seems when I go over or if I hold it at the temp for too long it turns more amber and starts to burn. That's just my experience and it isn't much. ;)

For easy cleanup I lighlty spray my pan and wipe out any excess. If it still bakes on I add some butter and water and reheat and that seems to pull the sugar off the sides.

I preferrably like the texture and taste of powdered corn syrup versus the liquid. However, the liquid came out with a very high sheen and very clear. Again, not much experience. There could be better ways. A lot of bakery supply shops have mixes you can buy like Loranns (which also has a multitude of flavorings), but I liked playing with my own recipes (like a scientist....with some explosions!) ;)

Let us know what worked!
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Sounds like another solid vote for the lower temp, and it was definitely less amber when I did my first experiment.

I acquired a mold with good lines to use today, although I didn't buy the isomalt because it was awfully expensive for my pithy little home based projects. So I'll do an experiment with the mold in the next week or so and let you all know the results.

Thank you for the advice, I dearly appreciate it.
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