I'm not sure why it is that I adore these cooked sugar designs.
I guess it's their messiness. I like that no matter how hard you try to control them, they defy you. You really can't be held responsible for their shape because sometimes a big ol glob will fall down, other times you'll be drawing with nothing but thin little threads.
I just love their inconsistency.
Anyway, my original plan was to use these on cupcakes for a fundraiser for our older girls' music program. But I forgot to pour an extra half inch of trunk, so they couldn't stand up on a cupcake to save their little arboreal lives.
Joey and I instead decided to make a couple batches of giant brownies to display these on. Actually, she did most of the work; I was given oven detail. Which I failed at, mainly because I didn't let them cool long enough before removing them from their pans. They started to fall apart when I cut them.
But, white chocolate saved the day. I used white because the green trees didn't show up very well next to the brown chocolate. After melting and smearing it all over the brownies in a very messy rustic way (I was hoping it would look like snow on the eaves), it cooled and hardened and totally held the brownies together.
All they needed was a Christmas tree to top it off and a little sprinkle of green from a jar of stuff that's probably as old as Joey (but seriously, it's not like those sugar sprinkles are going to go bad).
After finishing the giant brownies, I still had some trees left over. And as I picked one up, it caught the light from a window.
So, I made one more batch to use as suncatchers, this time trying to leave a little loop of a drizzle on the top so I could string it up with fishing line in our window. Some of them worked pretty well. Some not as much.
But I like them anyway.
If you plan to do this, make sure that you cook the sugar all the way to the hard crack stage. I suggest you actually do the cold water test instead of just relying on temperature. Otherwise, after a day of hanging, they'll stretch out to look like this.
(I assure you that when I first hung it up this tree was very pretty)
But if you like abstract art, by all means, don't fret about the temperature. Otherwise, consider this my most recent Don't Do What Donnie Don't Does. Don't stop cooking until you get a thin and brittle thread of cooked sugar when you drop it in water.
Also, just so you know, I went back and deleted like 3 separate instances of the word 'totally' from this post.
Flower Cupcake Toppers
Fireworks Cake Toppers (this has instructions for working with and drizzling cooked sugar)