blown sugar

blown sugar [blohn shoog-er] noun

Pulled sugar transformed into a variety of shapes using an air pump, an art best left to experienced sugar artists. Sugar, sometimes with water, is cooked to around 300º F, and then scraped out onto an oiled surface (usually marble). The mass is worked with a metal spatula until it cools enough to handle, then it is pulled, folded and pulled again. At this stage, it takes on a satiny appearance (referred to as pulled sugar) and can be formed into ribbons, flowers, leaves or any manner of decoration.

To make blown sugar, the process continues. A tube connected to an air pump is inserted into the mass of pulled sugar and air is gently pumped inside. The sugar expands and creates air-filled globes, which can be gently shaped into ovals and some other shapes, but remain mostly round. Bodies for animals and human figures can be created. Once the desired size and shape are achieved, the end is sealed off and cut from the air source to be cooled, often under a fan. Blown sugar can be colored before or painted after and individual pieces can be attached to one another with softened/melted sugar to create small items or very large showpieces.

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