“Tar and Sugar,” woodcut, 11” x 34”, 2009

Kunc, Karen

Spun Sugar

2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ cup corn syrup
Use wooden dowels or handles of saucepans, arranged to extend over the edge of the counter. Spray
the handles and sticks with nonstick cooking spray. Fill a large bowl with ice and water, and set it aside
to be used later. Cover everything around the area with newspaper, as this gets messy. Have a candy
Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, and stir until the sugar
dissolves. Cover the saucepan with a lid and boil for 2 – 3 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to
boil the sugar syrup, stirring occasionally until it reaches 310 degrees. The sugar will cook very quickly
toward the end so watch closely to ensure it doesn’t burn.
As soon as the sugar reaches the proper temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat and dunk the
bottom in the prepared ice water to stop the sugar from cooking further. Allow the mixture to stand for
a minute or two to thicken slightly.
Hold the pan in one hand and a fork in the other. Dip the fork in the sugar syrup and stir. Remove the
fork from the heat and hold it above the prepared handles. Rapidly flick the fork back and forth over the
handles. Fine strands will drape. The syrup may need to cool a bit more if no strands form, or if it has a
lot of beads. If the strands are lumpy, then re-heat the syrup briefly.
Spun sugar can be accumulated and shaped into balls, nests, halos or thin tubes, and topped onto cakes,
tarts, or mousses. Shape gently with cool, dry hands. Place on a parchment-covered tray.
Make as much as you need and use right away, as it does not keep, melting from moisture in the air in as
little as one hour.