Pulled Sugar: A photo demonstration

28 Apr

Pulled Sugar Flowers and Ribbons

If it looks difficult, that’s probably because it is. This can certainly be the case for pulled sugar decorations especially if you have never seen it done. When I first got interested in pulled sugar decorations, I did a search on the web. I couldn’t find anything that was remotely helpful to my cause. The following is a step by step guide to get you started with pulling sugar.

***WARNING***Working with molten sugar is extremely dangerous. Please take all precautions necessary when attempting this. Have a bucket of ice water near by in case you get some on your skin, and wear at least two or three pairs of latex gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and an apron.

Mise en Place needed:

Heat Resistant Silicone mat (SILPAT)
Heat Lamp
Hair Dryer or Fan
Stainless steel or copper pot
Candy Thermometer
Powdered Food Coloring (not liquid or paste)
Latex Gloves
Alcohol Burner
Stainless Steel or Heat resistant spoon (not wood)

10 Parts Sugar
5 Parts Water
1 Part Glucose or Corn Syrup
Coloring (as needed)


Make sure that you have all of your tools ready to go before you begin. For most steps there is only a short window of time. If you have to leave your mise en place to get something, your window will be over and you may have to start all over again.

Mix together the water, sugar, and glucose in a stainless steel or copper pot. Attach the candy thermometer, and cook on high heat until the temperature reaches 310 degrees F.

Carry over cooking should take the sugar up to about 320 degrees F. If the sugar goes above this point it will begin to caramelize. This is not good if you want to color your sugar.

Sugar becomes more viscous as it approaches 300 degrees

Adding Powdered Color to Cooked Sugar

When the sugar stops bubbling, it is ok to add your coloring agent.

At this point, you will pour the sugar out onto your SILPAT. Be very careful not to spill any on yourself or your workstation. Always pour away from yourself.

Pouring Sugar

The next step is a little hard to explain. You have to make sure that the edges of the sugar do not solidify. In order to do this, you must actually move the sugar from the outside to the inside. It looks like this:

This stuff is HOT! If it gets too hot, you can always dunk your hands in the ice water, but be sure to change your gloves because the water will ruin the sugar.

When it has cooled enough for you to pick up, it is time to pull. Pull the ends, and give the sugar a little twist each time. It is important to incorporate plenty of air. Practice will teach you how much is enough and how much is too much. If you over pull the sugar it will lose its shine.

Now your sugar should be ready to go. This is where practice comes in. The only way to get better at sugar art is to practice.

You can pull it further to make ribbons. You can ball it up and pull petals for flowers. You can blow it like glass and make all kinds of shapes. It is really up to your creativity. Just remember to keep the sugar warm and only work with batches that are manageable.

Pulling Sugar Ribbons

Sugar Flowers

Finished work

2 Responses to “Pulled Sugar: A photo demonstration”

  1. queencitycakestudio at 9:28 am #

    Thank you for such a thorough and informative post! I have just ordered the materials I’ll need to begin playing with sugar work and this was a big help! I can’t wait to get started!

  2. Emi Koul at 10:14 pm #

    Hi thank you so much for posting all the information!I just made a batch fallowing a recipe from a book that I purchase.Well the recipe goes like this:……..cook to 250 degrees,add food coloring and continue cooking to 300 degrees….So I did but the sugar start raising as soon as I put the color in and my sugar was ruined 😦 Thanks again 🙂

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