I didn’t put spun sugar on the croquembouche and as a consequence there was a small outcry (it’s semi-traditional). But while I decided against it on Tuesday there’s no reason we can’t do it Friday just for fun.
There are a lot of methods for producing this, this is the one I think is the easiest. The first step is to destroy a whisk. Using some pliers or snips, cut the loops off of one like so.
You’ll have something like this.
Now all you need to do is bend the wires outward so you have something brush-like, like this:
I once used a bus tub and some thick dowel rods as a catcher. This Tupperware tub will stand in nicely. I only have the one handle from my old chimney cake project, but that will work!
You’ll of course need some caramel. This is nothing but a cup or so of sugar combined with about 1/3 cup of water…
…and cooked to a medium amber. You always have to be careful working with caramel no matter how long you’ve done it. Just a little will give you a nasty burn, so tread carefully and always make sure the kids are out of the kitchen!
So much for the public service announcement. Now, at that point I took the pan off the heat. As the caramel cooled it cooked a bit more to a dark amber, which is what I want. I just let the pan continue cooling, past the point where it would be much use for anything. It was still fairly hot but thick like mud.
At that point I inserted my wrecked whisk and gave it a swizzle…
And started spinning like Charlotte’s Web, y’all.
As the strands fell I moved the wrecked whisk back and forth over the dowel rod so it settled in a heap. When it stopped falling I grabbed the strands with my other hand and pulled them. Now, that may not be your thing as the caramel is still warmish-hot. Though if you venture to touch the strands six inches or so from the whisk wire tips, you’ll find that they’re almost completely cool. Still, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with. I’m mentally imbalanced.
For longer strands, of the kind you would wrap around a croquembouche, use a long tub and two or three rods to catch and hold them.
While they’re fresh they can be wadded up into little nests.
And that’s spun sugar! (Note: spun sugar was the most impressive thing I made for my parents, aunt and uncle at a banquet that my twin sister and I threw when we were eleven. My mom still talks about it.)