How do I make clear, rock hard sheets of sugar
I'm trying to figure out a method for making sheets of rock hard, not sticky, melted sugar.
My first method last night was melting 4 parts sugar in one part water, with some lemon juice ( I don't know why, but that's what I read), and then cooked it very slowly for about 40 minutes until it got to 375*F. I then poured it out on a silpat and let run to form a thin sheet. The result is dark amber, rock hard, but sticky to the touch.
My goal is to have it be smooth and dry, and while amber is ok, a slightly lighter shade would be good.
It's going to coat a piece of flat art work and be hung in a gallery, so moderate permanence is a must.
JMO here, but anytime you heat sugar, the carbon in the molecule reacts to the heat and darkens, so by cooking it, you're going to end up with the amber color. Ever make caramel? Also, I don't think the goal of a "dry" sheet of sugar is realistic. Any moisture in the air will react with the sugar and create a stickiness. Just curious, but why do you want to coat a piece of artwork with sugar?
The great people over at instructables have an excellent tutorial on this process. From your description of your effort, it seems you did not add Cream of Tartar and corn syrup, and did not heat your sugar sufficiently. That is, you failed to reach the hard crack stage.
The cream of tartar and corn syrup help to prevent the mass from crystalizing and becoming opaque.
The higher temperature <425> allows the mixture to properly set when you pour it.
WARNING! Molten sugar is also known as Culinary Napalm. Extreme caution must be used, or you could find yourself with 3rd degree burns.
I watch a show on French Canadian tv, the man is a master at creating sugar sculptures.
He used a sugar called isomalt, he said it's made with beet sugar. He just put the sugar in a no stick pan , and let it melt without adding any water or anything, when it was all melted he poured it on a silpath it was crystal clear then he put gloves on and started to manipulate it to make his sculpture. Just googled isomath. I assume you could get that at a baker store.