Friday, January 29, 2010

Make Your Own Edible Sugar Gems - Tutorial and Resources

All of my supplies were purchased at Country Kitchen SweetArt

These are the instructions I used from the book Cooked Sugar Art by Vi Whittington.

If you do not order the book, you will still receive instructions when you order the molds.

Isomalt recipe from Cooked Sugar Art

2 cups isomalt
1/2 cup distilled water, or water from the tap; distilled water has
fewer impurities
Distilled water or water from the tap for brushing down crystals
Food coloring, optional
1/2 teaspoon flavor, concentrated or oil, optional
Candy thermometer
Heavy saucepan with lid
2” brush
Small strainer
Large pan with ice water (base of saucepan should fit inside)
Microwave-safe bowls (A silicone muffin pan with the cups cut apart works well for containers as well as silicone cupcake holders.)
Locking bags for storing, or a sealing machine, if not all sugar is used
Best to work in a cool room with low humidity. In a heavy saucepan, whisk water into isomalt. Heat on medium low and stop stirring for the rest of the process. When mixture becomes clear, skim off foam with strainer. Dip a clean brush into water and gently brush the inside perimeter of the saucepan with wet brush, slightly above the boiling sugar. Continue skimming the foam and washing down the sides of the saucepan until the syrup is completely clear. The impurities are not harmful for consumption, but by removing the foam, the resulting syrup will have more clarity and strength. When crystals are washed from the side and syrup appears clear, place thermometer in pan, and cook to 250 degrees. Add food coloring if desired. Continue cooking on medium heat to 340 degrees. Immediately remove pan from stove and plunge into cold water for a few seconds to stop the cooking. Gently stir in flavor. Cover for two minutes to be sure the flavor is infused into the syrup. The resulting syrup is ready to pour into molds, or poured into puddles on parchment paper or a silicone mat to cool. Store the puddles in locking bags, storing flat without pieces in each bag touching each other. Better yet, vacuum seal the pieces in bags. Place bags in airtight containers with silica gel. If wanting to cast (mold) the hardened pieces of isomalt, place isomalt in a microwave-safe container and microwave at 5 second intervals until a liquid state. The resulting syrup is ready to mold into jewels (follow instructions above for casting jewels).

Basic Casting Instructions for Isomalt or Venuance Pearls
Syrup recipe (see below)
Cooking spray
Jewel molds
Funnel with stopper for large jewel cavities
Large silicone spatula
Baking sheets
Large measuring cup-for large jewel cavities
Toothpicks or sucker sticks
Silicone mat or parchment paper
Silicone cupcake holder
With cooking spray, coat hard candy jewel molds and a funnel with a stopper if using a mold with large jewel cavities. Wipe out excess cooking spray with a paper towel. Set sprayed molds on a baking sheet or a surface that withstands heat. For small cavities, use a toothpick or sucker stick to fill. If using a funnel, set the funnel with the stopper covering the hole, in a large measuring cup or any container which will hold the funnel level. Pour the hot syrup into the funnel. Fill each cavity by lifting the stopper just enough to allow the syrup to fill each mold cavity, then quickly cover the opening in the funnel with the stopper to stop the sugar flow. When jewels cool, invert each mold, letting jewels fall from mold onto parchment paper or a silicone mat which is on a soft surface such as a folded towel.

What I did is make the Isomalt and then pour it into little puddles on my silicone mat. I left it clear. Then I would take a small ramekin or mug and microwave a few at a time to melt them. Then I'd flavor and color that mini batch. You need to do this near a microwave because I found I was warming my batch in 15 second intervals every 5-10 minutes while casting the jewels. A coffee cup warmer would probably help a lot!

Then you can pour about 3 tsp at a time into a little medicine cup or silicone muffin cup (suggestion above) and fill the cavities in your mold. If you bang the medicine cup on the table a few times before you pour, you'll eliminate a lot of bubbles. It's definitely trial and error. The biggest things I learned are to work in small batches, keep it hot, and WATCH OUT FOR BURNS! I've got blisters on both hands!

Isomalt shouldn't cloud but if it does or you want more shine, spray it with cooking spray and they'll perk right up.

Country Kitchen also sells silica gel packs. Get some when you order your supplies and put them in with your stored gems in an airtight container. That will help maintain low moisture to prevent sticking.



Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble with tiny air bubbles not really IN the isomalt but when the isomalt is poured into the mold there are tiny bubbleson the surface of the mat...could you let me know what I'm doing wrong..I'd appreciate it very much

Anonymous said...

Your isomalt syrup may be too hot when you pour it. Letting it cool off just slightly may help.

Anonymous said...

whats the best way to get the isomalt into all those little candy gem molds? We made some but it was so hard to get it into the litttle gems without getting syrup all over, we just used a small spoon to fill the molds

Stacey said...

I use a medicine cup. It holds a little at a time and you can squeeze it to form a little pouring spout. The other option is a silicone cupcake liner.

Anonymous said...

I have never made candy with the isomalt and I'm considering if for my daughter's sweet 16 cake. Do the gems taste good? Are the like lollipop consistency? I'm trying to decide if the kids will like it before I spend money ordering the supplies to make them. Thanks for any help/opinions!

Stacey said...

You can flavor them however you want. I got some citric acid and strawberry flavor and they aren't bad. Reminds me of the sugar free candies I ate as a kid.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't eat very much of the isomalt, they will give you a stomach ache and diarrhea if very much is consumed at once. They are used for diabetic candy but read up on them before eating. Look up isomalt.

Anonymous said...

How can you get the isomalt gems to stick together to make a number on top of a cake standing up? I cant figure out to make them stick together. I wanted to make a number 20.

Anonymous said...

I poured some of my isomalt onto a silicone mat to make water droplets... I left them to sit over night on the bench but when I touched them it was like the surface had melted... what did I do wrong. We live in QLD Australia where it is quite humid. I need them to be able to hold up and look like little confetti gems on the side of a cake...