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What is Pulled Sugar?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Pulled sugar is sugar which has been heated and specially handled so that it turns into a glossy and smooth mass. It can be used to make a variety of shapes and ornaments in sugar, such as flowers, or it can be mounted on a straw and used to make blown sugar. Blown sugar is used to create bubbles, eggs, animal bodies, and so forth. Pulled sugar decorations are used to ornament cakes, pastries, and candies, and sometimes the sugar is also used on its own as a candy.

Making pulled sugar is not too challenging, but it does carry a serious burn risk. The first stage involves boiling the sugar, and then sugar must be worked with immediately for it to turn out properly; if you want to experiment with pulled sugar, make sure that you have proper equipment for it, and be aware that it is not a good project for children or people with clumsy hands.

To make pulled sugar, five cups of sugar are mixed with one cup and two tablespoons of water, along with two tablespoons and one teaspoon of vinegar. The mixture is stirred together and slowly heated; it is important to ensure that all the sugar crystals dissolve, and that none crust along the sides of the pot, as they can crystallize and ruin the effect. When the boiled sugar reaches 320 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius), it should be poured out onto a silicone mat and folded.

The folding keeps the sugar flexible while incorporating air and cooling it; if the sugar is to be colored, coloring agents can be added at this point. Once the sugar is cool enough to handle, you need to pick it up with rubber gloves and stretch it, as though you are pulling taffy. Fold the stretched sugar and stretch it again, repeating the folding and stretching process until the sugar is smooth and glossy; most people do this under a heat lamp to keep the sugar soft, but make sure that the lamp does not melt the sugar.

Once the sugar has been pulled, it can be worked under the heat lamp. Small chunks can be broken off, stretched, and curled, folded, or twisted to make all sorts of things, from miniature horses to roses. If you want to make blown sugar, take a small piece of the pulled sugar, attach it to a straw, and work with it under a heat lamp. Like glass blowing, sugar blowing requires some skill; you may want to take a course if you are interested in this particular aspect of sugar artistry.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon70639 — On Mar 15, 2010

please help me somebody. how do you make Muscovado sugar? I can't find it anywhere and I seriously need the recipe for the sugar (Muscovado). Thanks

By anon57390 — On Dec 22, 2009

You want to wait to pull the sugar only until it's cool enough to work with. It won't be cool, it will still be warm to the touch. If it gets too cold it won't be pliable. I like to put it in the oven set at 180 F until it is again soft enough to work with.

By anon52705 — On Nov 16, 2009

you have my interest piqued but I would like to see it done on a video.

By anon36111 — On Jul 09, 2009

After pouring the sugar onto the silicone mat...How much time do I wait to start the folding on the mat?

By anon30485 — On Apr 20, 2009

My mother and her mother used to make pulled candy. They would pull it and then fold it on itself and pull it again. When it reached the right consistency, they would cut the strand into short pieces. At that time the candy would be chewy, but if allowed to age, it would become less bonded and would be more creamy of crumbly. It was good at any stage. I really used to like it. This was in the 1930's when I was a young teen age.

Donald W. Bales

By anon30482 — On Apr 20, 2009

Good work S.E. Smith. Very informative article.

By anon15353 — On Jul 09, 2008

This was an excellent wealth of information! Thanks!

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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