Friday, June 10, 2011

Hand-Pulled Cotton Candy, or Dragon's Beard

 Don't worry, I'm not crazy. Ok, I AM crazy, but I know that's NOT cotton candy. It's a brownie. You'll see why in a minute, I just like to start off with a nice, pretty picture of my finished product, mostly because that's what pops up on facebook.

Anyway, I stumbled on this a long time ago:

I thought it sounded crazy, but why not? Bookmarked it, and waited for a rainy day to try it. Or an unbearably hot, humid, gross day. Hey look, it's been that way all week!

I even found rice flour in the international section, only a dollar for the bag! Why not try and be authentic?

Into the pot to boil! I had fun playing with the sugar and making pretty designs until it heated up and finished dissolving. Because it became a super-saturated solution. Look who payed attention in high school chem, ha!

Woohoo, boiling sugar! I took about 5000 artsy pictures of the highly photogenic boiling sugar, before I realized that you guys don't want to look at that many pictures of boiling sugar. Or maybe you do, but then too bad. My camera and glasses kept fogging up too. Me being blind, combined with the fact that I wasn't bright enough to use the long spoon instead of the short spoon, made things...interesting. Don't worry, I only burned myself a few times!

Once the sugar was finally hot enough, into the assorted tupperware/plastic cups. (If you're planing on trying this at home, don't use plastic cups. Just a warning.) Apparently everyone else who made this happened to have nice, pretty, matching quart containers lying around. I don't. This was all I could find that wasn't square or glass, deal with it.

Now to wait for it to cool, hmm, what to do...what's that Ethel? I hear you calling, you say you want to play Ewazen? We already practiced this morning, are you sure sweetie? Oh, alright, you win. Again.


Ok, so maybe my whole life revolves around food and music. I play horn, I bake, I scoop ice cream, I play ukulele, I sing, lather, rinse, repeat.

Oh wait, cotton candy. Anyway...

Take one: fail. Snapped right in half.

Take two: one of the plastic cups. I was hoping I could just break it and it would come off of the sugar. Nope, broke the entire chunk of sugar in half. Fail.

Take three: I figured I'd try microwaving it to soften it up a little. I couldn't remember how much the recipe said to microwave it for, and I didn't want to get rice flour all over my keyboard, so I guessed 10 seconds. It didn't microwave evenly, so some parts were falling apart, while others were still hard. Everywhere also said  that you can't stop pulling it or it will break, so I tried limiting the picture breaks.

It turned out...interestingly. I don't think the rice flour was powdery enough, because it didn't stick to the sugar very well and the strands all stuck together. It tasted like Asian-y sugary stuff. Not too bad actually, just impossible to eat!

Take four: corn starch with cocoa powder. I microwaved it for about 5 seconds this time, and vowed to take NO pictures until it was done. Still, it snapped after a couple rounds. I tried saving it, but it was pretty hopeless. I wasn't too upset, it sugar covered in corn starch and cocoa powder. Whoop de do.

But for the bigger issue, I was out of usable sugar chunks, so what to do with all that leftover starch and cocoa? I really didn't want to throw it away, I mean, it's chocolate!

On to my usual solution, toss some stuff in a bowl and see what happens. I've made failed chocolate-chocolate chip cookies into chocolate chip cake like this, leftover pop-tart filling has become oatmeal cookies, etc. I just put whatever in it, and bake it depending on the consistency of the batter/dough. A couple eggs, some water and flour, baking powder, vanilla. Tastes like brownie batter to me!

I don't think corn starch based brownies are going to make it big anytime soon. The flavor was ok, but they had a really weird, gelatinous texture. Ok, so they tasted good with a scoop of custard, but what doesn't? Either way, it was an adventure!


Oh, and you remember my failed strawberry blueberry frozen custard cake? I found a solution! I thawed the entire cake a little bit, cut it into individual pieces, and put them in baggies so you can gnaw on them like an ice cream sandwich! They're not too pretty, but they're actually edible now, and pretty good too!

Hand-Pulled Cotton Candy
From Cooking Issues

Converted for us silly Americans

4 1/3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup corn syrup
Optional cocoa powder

For how to mix the sugar and pull the candy, I would watch the video from the French Culinary Institute. They explain it far better than I could, I just wanted to post the converted measurements for anyone interested in giving this a try!

1 comment:

  1. Yay pop-tart filling to oatmeal cookies! Good times!