These are adorable cupcakes but the spun sugar nests are tricky. The rest of the cupcakes are straightforward. Be sure and look at the kitchen tips after the recipe.
Kitchen tools, gourmet foods, baking mixes, and hard-to-find baking ingredients mentioned in this article are available at The Prepared Pantry.
By Casey Archibald and Dennis Weaver
Spun Sugar Nests (makes 12 nests)
Because we made a few mistakes along the way, we learned some tricks that we would like to share:
Use an ice bath to avoid burning the caramel. After burning our first batch of sugar, we decided to try something different. Place a thermometer in your pot of sugar so you can carefully monitor the temperature. The heating process starts slow, but once it starts getting closer to the goal temperature of 302 degrees F. We placed a large, metal bowl full of ice next to our stove top and quickly placed our hot pot of sugar on top of the ice bowl so it would stop cooking.
Don’t leave your pot in the ice bath for too long. If you leave your pot in the ice too long, it will start to cool and it will be very hard to spin. We found that out the hard way. As soon as your temperature stops going up, take the pot of sugar out of the ice.
If your sugar cools too quickly, you can reheat it. The sugar you are spinning should be very much a liquid. If it starts to harden, heat it up slowly, until it returns to a liquid form.
Try using a tiny sauce bowl to help shape your nest. We flipped over a very small bowl and shaped our nest to it as we spun the sugar.
Dennis Weaver is the founder of The Prepared Pantry, a full line kitchen store in Rigby, Idaho. The Prepared Pantry sells kitchen tools, gourmet foods, and baking ingredients including hundreds of hard-to-find ingredients.