Sugar Tree Sculpture
by Laura G
This "just sugar" sculpture makes a stunning addition to your holiday table. The golden color comes only from the caramelized sugar. There are no food dyes. This is a wonderful treat for children on very limited or no-food diets who are allowed cane sugar.
You will need:
Metal star-shaped cookie cutters
To make the sugar tree, you will need to make several batches of Sugar Syrup. Make your first batch of sugar syrup. While the water heats, make a fan from the non-stick foil. Fold the foil in accordion pleats. Fold one end of the pleated foil together. Then open up the other end and widen each bottom pleat to make a triangular space. Fold the open ends of the foil up to help contain the sugar syrup.
Once the syrup is hot, pour it in the foil form and allow it to cool. Remove the triangles as they cool. A silicone pan liner makes a great place to put the sticky triangles. Too much handling will make them less glossy. The foil form can be used several times if you want more triangles.
Take smaller pieces of foil and wrap them around your cookie cutters. Simpler cookie cutters are easier than very complex ones. Do not use plastic cookie cutters as they cannot handle the heat. Remove the cookie cutter leaving a foil form of the shape. If you leave the cookie cutter in the foil, the sugar will stick, even if you oil the cutter. Fill the foil shape with syrup.
When the triangles have cooled, pour another batch of syrup into a heat-proof plate to make a base. Do not use a plastic plate or any other material that might melt. This will completely glue to the plate. Position the triangles with the wide end on the still soft sugar and the tips together. You can use some non-stick foil to hold them together until the base cools and hardens.
If the sugar base is too soft, it might soften the triangles or the triangles may fall over. If this happens, place the plate on an ice bath to cool it more rapidly.
Take the stars out of the foil and dip them in more sugar syrup. Be VERY careful as the sugar syrup is extremely hot. I dipped only one half of each star into the syrup, keeping a good part of the top free. The stars will immediately stick to the tree. In fact, you will not be able to move them so place them carefully.
A sugar tree makes a great centerpiece on a dessert table. Break pieces off to eat. If the pieces are too thick to break, use a clean hammer or something heavy to crack the sugar. Be careful not to break your plate!
To remove the base, heat the plate to soften the sugar. If you are not planning on eating any more, you can soak the plate in hot water.