When we received a can of Popping Sugar from Molecule-R, a Montreal-based specialist in molecular gastronomy, we couldn’t resist popping open the package to have a taste! Reminiscent of the Pop Rocks we had as kids, this grown-up take on the childhood fave is free from artificial colours and preservatives. Popping sugar is sugar that contains carbon dioxide. To make popping sugar, small bits of sugars are melted together and then cooled down in the presence of pressurized carbon dioxide, which traps gas inside the sugar bits. When the sugar bits are bitten into, the carbon dioxide is released with a popping effect. Give it a try and add a little nostalgic charm to your next treat with these three recipes we created using Popping Sugar:
Popping Chocolate Candy
Prep 5 min
Total 5 min plus chilling time
100-g bar milk chocolate, broken into pieces (we used Hershey’s Creamy Milk Chocolate)
1 tsp Molecule-R Popping Sugar
MELT chocolate in a small bowl in a microwave on high, stirring halfway through, for 1 min. Remove and stir until smooth. Stir in Popping Sugar. Scrape chocolate mixture into silicone candy molds*. Freeze until firm, about 10 min. Serve immediately (Popping Sugar garnish optional).
Prep Tip: To give it that fancy-chocolate look with beveled edges, we used Tovolo’s King Cube ice tray as the candy mold (but you can use any silicone mold you like).
Popping Coconut Shrimp
Prep 10 min
Total 15 min
1/2 340-g pkg frozen, raw, jumbo shrimp, thawed
3 tbsp unsweetened medium dessicated coconut, toasted
2 tbsp Molecule-R Popping Sugar
1 tsp oil
3 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
PEEL shrimp, leaving the tail on. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Set aside.
HEAT a large non-stick pan over medium-high. Add coconut. Toast, stirring frequently, until coconut is golden, 2 to 3 min. Transfer coconut to a shallow bowl and let stand until cool. When cool, stir in Popping Sugar. Set aside.
RETURN pan to stovetop. Add oil, then shrimp. Cook until shrimp is pink and just cooked through, 1 to 2 min per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to cool slightly.
STIR chili sauce with rice vinegar in a small bowl. Dip shrimp in chili mixture, then coat with coconut mixture. Serve immediately.
Popping Sugar Creme Brulees
Prep 10 min
Total 1 hour plus chilling time
2 1/2 cups 35% cream
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Molecule-R Popping Sugar
PREHEAT oven to 300F. Arrange 6 ramekins in a baking dish large enough to hold them. Bring water to a boil in a kettle.
HEAT cream in medium saucepan set over medium until it starts to boil, about 5 min. Remove from heat.
WRAP a damp kitchen towel around the bottom of a medium bowl. Add yolks and sugar. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture is pale and smooth. Gradually add hot cream to the egg mixture a little at a time while whisking until the mixture thickens, about 2 min. Whisk in vanilla. Divide mixture among the ramekins. Pour enough water from the kettle down the side of the baking dish until it comes halfway up the ramekins.
BAKE in centre of oven until custard is just set and centres are jiggly, 50 min to 1 hour. Transfer ramekins to a rack. Dry bottom with kitchen towel and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to chill.
TO SERVE, sprinkle the top of each ramekin with 2 tsp of Popping Sugar. Serve immediately.