Drying Pulled Sugar

Decorating By tal Updated 21 Jul 2014 , 10:51am by Lfredden

tal Posted 14 Jul 2014 , 8:45pm
post #1 of 21

I have made pulled sugar, all the correct temps and have had AC turned on, but my candy will not dry.  Still sticky.  As of this morning, I noticed some of the pieces were actually melting )';


Any advice?

20 replies
Lfredden Posted 14 Jul 2014 , 10:09pm
post #2 of 21

AIs it very humid outside? If so, I don't think you can save. If you can, I'd love to know how.

tal Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 12:24am
post #3 of 21

it hasn't been too humid and it has been breezy; I am clueless on this one.  I may just have to pull a last minute candy pull - arghhh!



-K8memphis Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 12:34am
post #4 of 21

Adid you by any chance color it after it was cooked? that would make it wetter and would affect the outcome

tal Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 2:46am
post #5 of 21

Yes I did - but literally just a pin drop of gel.  Would that still effect it?

tal Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 2:49am
post #6 of 21

oh wait, does it matter if I use gel coloring vs candy coloring?

tal Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 2:58am
post #7 of 21

All I am trying to do is get the look of "pouring" beer for a beer mug cake request.  I'm not at all pleased with the outcome of any of the pieces I've tried to form and now they are sticky and some are melting - even in AC!


I really don't want to have to resort to using fondant bc I like the realistic look of the clear sugar.  At this point, I wish I knew someone who could do it for me and I'd gladly pay!

bubs1stbirthday Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 3:32am
post #8 of 21

Hello, I am not sure what recipe you are using or if this advice will even be helpful but for the pouring coffee pot that I made for my Grandma I used 'microwave hard rock candy' (just google it), it is super simple and looks great, I did have to wrap a piece of foil around the stainless steel rod to give the candy something to stick to when I poured it into the stainless (As the stainless is so slippery it was just sliding off) but that just added to the effect as it gave it more of a shine.


I stuck the stainless into a predrilled hole so that it was upright then used a spoon to  slowly add the rock candy and shape as desired (careful it is hot as lava). I use a butane torch to warm the candy when working with it if necessary but I didn't find that I needed to with this. You can remelt the unused candy in the microwave (slowly) and for clean up just soak the pyrex etc in hot water and the candy will simply melt away.


Hope that helps.

Lfredden Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 10:56am
post #9 of 21


Original message sent by tal

Yes I did - but literally just a pin drop of gel.  Would that still effect it?

I've used gel color on hard candy without a problem.

costumeczar Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 12:17pm
post #10 of 21

What recipe are you using? There are a lot of recipes for cooked sugar online that are just wrong proportionally and temperature-wise. It sounds to me like you either didn't get it to the right temp, or you had too much corn syrup in it. I put a ton of food coloring in mine and it sets up fine. I was looking at a lot of blog posts at one point about how to make this or that sugar stuff and a lot of them were wrong as far as the basics went. If you can post what you did exactly it would help to figure out what you have to do differently.

tal Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 1:21pm
post #11 of 21

I will give you the recipe this afternoon.....I think I found it on CC but let me double check and get back to you.


I'm on a crunch time here bc the cake is due this coming Sat July 19th and all I need is a 4-6 piece of what resembles beer pouring out of a can!


If you can help me with regards to the recipe, I would SO appreciate same!  Be in touch soon!


thank you,



tal Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 1:30pm
post #12 of 21
Here is one recipe I tried first (FoodNetwork)

1 1/2 cups cold water
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon black food coloring
Special Equipment: candy thermometer, pastry brush, silpat mat or marble, metal cookie cutters or cake ring to act as a mold


Clip a candy thermometer to the side of a medium, heavy pot. Place water, sugar and cream of tartar in pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. As the syrup comes to a boil, any impurities in the sugar will rise to the surface; remove these using a small stainless steel sieve or strainer.

Using a clean brush dipped in clean water, wash the sides of the pan down to ensure that no crystals form around the edge of the pan. Add the black food coloring. Continue boiling, washing the pan sides down regularly until the syrup reaches 340 degrees F, and then place the pan into a bowl of cold water to stop further cooking.

For casting:

Allow mixture to reach a honey-like consistency and pour into the center of a mold, allowing the sugar to run slowly to the sides. Let cool, tap sides of mold, and remove.

For pulling:

After cooking sugar to 340 degrees F and then cooling briefly in the bowl of cold water, pour out onto an oiled marble or silpat mat. Allow to cool around the edges and carefully fold into the center, repeating until a soft pliable mass is formed. Incorporate air to create shine by pulling and folding the sugar until cool.

I'll post the other one later bc it's at home.......;-)
tal Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 4:38pm
post #13 of 21

Here is the recipe:


2 C granulated sugar

1 C water

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

2/3 C corn syrup

1/8 tsp gel food color

2 tsp flavor extract (I didn't use this)


Instructs are similar to all other instructs....water/sugar to boil til dissolved.   Add therm/brush sides down with brush.  Add syrup and cream of tartar when reaches 285F.  Cook to 305.  remove and let bubble subside. plunge pan in cold water for 10 secs.  pour onto silpat.

costumeczar Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 9:30pm
post #14 of 21

Well, the food network one is for isomalt as far as the temperature goes, you take that up to 340, but you only cook sugar to about 305.


I would just use about 1 cup sugar, about 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and maybe 2-3 Tbsp of corn syrup with some water. I seriously don't measure anything when I cook sugar. The corn syrup is there to keep the sugar from crystallizing, and too much of it will make the sugar too soft (from what I've seen). The cream of tartar is there to do the same thing, so you could theoretically leave out the corn syrup entirely if you're good at cooking sugar and not getting it crystallized, but that's always an adventure.


Just stir the sugar, some water, some brown food coloring and the cream of tartar in the pan and heat it up to 305, take it off the heat and put the bottom of the pan into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking, then let it sit for a minute to let any air bubbles rise to the surface. If you just put the pan on the stove and let it go you do NOT have to wash down the sides of the pan as long as the sides are pretty clear of extra sugar. It's when you start stirring it  and riling it up that you're more likely to get crystallization happening, and I've found that washing down the sides isn't really necessary. If you just leave it alone it will be fine.


By the way, adding the water to it at the beginning just slows down the cooking time so that you can control the cooking, the amount that you put in there isn't critical in any way. People who are super experienced with cooking sugar can do it without adding any water. I am not one of those people.


If you're going to pull the sugar, you pour it into the silpat and do it like the food network instructions said, but if you're just looking for the effect of the pouring, you could get a dowel or a wire or something and dip it in the sugar to coat it, let that cool off a little, then do it again a few times, letting it drip down the dowel. That would be a lot easier than pulling it, and you could just keep the dowel ready to stick into the cake. It depends on how you're going to structure the cake. This is how I did one, the sugar was covering a dowel that was inserted into the cake  http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2013/12/pouring-beer-mug-grooms-cake.html

tal Posted 15 Jul 2014 , 11:38pm
post #15 of 21

Thank you so much !  I'm going to attempt it one more time.  What is interesting is how much corn syrup most of these recipes are calling for?  I never realized the purpose of the CS but it makes perfect sense that more of it, softens.


I'm just too much of a perfectionist and trying to get that 'look' of clear beer pouring.  I am by NO means a sugar artist!  BTW, your cake is fantastic and your dowel idea will be my attempt.  What size dowel did you use?  Plastic or wooden?


I can't thank you enough for your help and advice,



costumeczar Posted 16 Jul 2014 , 12:40am
post #16 of 21

AThey probably use so much because it prevents the sugar from crystallizing, and real sugar can be tricky. Once it starts to crystallize you're done, it just goes and you have to start over. So they add a lot of corn syrup to keep that from happening.

To do that cake I just stacked four 6" rounds with a board in between, and the dowel with the sugar beer on it went into it at an angle and through the center board to anchor it. Then i stuck the can on the end of the dowel. It was just a wooden dowel, nothing fancy necessary for this one.

bubs1stbirthday Posted 16 Jul 2014 , 1:08am
post #17 of 21



This is my go to recipe for Microwave rock candy.

tal Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 10:59pm
post #18 of 21

AJust wanted to say "thank you" to all those on this thread that helped and gave their advice/recipes. Ive posted the final pic and wanted to share with you. I have to say that costumeczar's sugar recipe was the best! It was the only one out of 4 different recipes that worked and the sugar piece didnt melt. It formed well, went sticky and then dried! [IMG]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3266012/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

-K8memphis Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 11:27pm
post #19 of 21
you did a great job! i'm sure the recipients loved it -- hurray for costumeczar's winning recipe too


i took a second look-- are those fondant pretzels?

costumeczar Posted 20 Jul 2014 , 11:43pm
post #20 of 21


Originally Posted by tal 

Just wanted to say "thank you" to all those on this thread that helped and gave their advice/recipes. Ive posted the final pic and wanted to share with you. I have to say that costumeczar's sugar recipe was the best! It was the only one out of 4 different recipes that worked and the sugar piece didnt melt. It formed well, went sticky and then dried!

That looks great, I'm glad it worked for you!

Lfredden Posted 21 Jul 2014 , 10:51am
post #21 of 21

ANice job!

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