Long before I learned the science of sugar work at the culinary school, I was already fascinated to know how sugar candies were made. As a young child I was really not into sweets because Mom would only allow me and my sis to have them once in a blue moon but candy canes intrigued me. Probably the shape, color and pattern had something to do with it. Or perhaps because it was often seen as a Christmas symbol (Christmas is my favorite holiday). During the holiday season Mom would hang the striped candy canes in our Christmas tree and the sight of it made me excited.
The memories of my holiday treats had gone with time but my pastry arts training had rekindled my interest anew. I had never expected that sugar work was part of the program I was enrolled in. I learned the basics from casting sugar to a more advanced lesson like pulled and blown sugar. At first, I disliked dealing with heat and humidity for hours but as I got to do it more often I had come to enjoy the sugar work experience. On the first of the many series of our sugar work practicals, I made my very own candy cane. That first experience took me back many years ago when I was a child contemplating in front of a Christmas tree. I felt fulfilled and rewarded.
When my cousin and I went window shopping after attending the USA Fair, we chanced upon a candy shop with an open work space so people could watch their staff make candies by hand. The moment I saw the two men rolling the sugar I had these pastry school flashbacks and I asked my cousin if we could stay for a while. She's okay with it so we spent the next forty minutes watching the guys do their wonders. And in that period of time, I was explaining each step to her.
Rolling and pulling sugar.
Rolled sugar was taking shape.
One of the staff cut the sugar candy and gave the "audience" a sample of their product. The candies were not bad at all.
Colorful, creative and vibrant candies!