Fine strands of hardened boiled sugar that are used to decorate various desserts. Spun sugar begins by cooking sugar, water and cream of tartar to the hard-crack stage. A fork or whisk is then used to dip into the sugar syrup and draw out fine threads. These hairlike strands can be placed directly on a dessert or on a waxed paperlined surface, then transferred later to the dish. Once the spun sugar hardens, it may also be gathered and sprinkled or arranged on top of a dessert. Cotton candy is a popular form of spun sugar.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.