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.