To make the ideal tool, snip looped ends of a wire whisk with wire cutters. Beeswax, found at farmers' markets or craft stores, keeps the spun sugar soft, for wrapping. If the syrup gets too thick, reheat gently about one minute over low heat; if it only makes dots when thrown, it is too hot.
- Yield: Makes enough for 1 floating island
Photography: Dana Gallagher
Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 1999
- Vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon grated beeswax
Lightly oil a wooden laundry rack or two wooden spoons, securely taped side by side to your work surface with handles extending. Cover the floor generously with newspaper.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil, and clip a candy thermometer (see the Guide) onto the pan. Boil the mixture until it turns a pale amber color and the candy thermometer reads 320 degrees, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool for 2 minutes. Stir in the beeswax.
Cool the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 250 degrees. Stand on a step stool so you are about 2 feet above your work surface. Dip a cut whisk or 2 forks, held side by side, into syrup; wave the sugar back and forth over the drying rack, allowing the strands to fall in long, thin threads. Let stand until cooled slightly and strands have set. Wrap the strands around the floating island within half an hour.