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Dalgona Candy

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Dalgona candy, also known as ppopgi, is especially nostalgic for me. Every day, there was a man who sat out by the front gate of my elementary school, perched on a mini stool next to a small burner. He held a blackened ladle and a chopstick over a large round griddle--from which he sold the sweets for 100 Korean won (about a penny apiece). He had an assortment of cookie cutters in heart, rainbow and star shapes, which he gently stamped onto the top of each candy. Ppopgi is similar to honeycomb toffee candy and is just as fun to make, as the melted sugar foams up vigorously and turns light caramel just before you press it down. The recipe goes very quickly, so it’s important to have all your ingredients and equipment laid out in advance. If you have any leftover candy, break it up to serve in your favorite coffee drink, with a shot of hot espresso poured over top or sprinkled over ice cream.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 5 min
  • Active: 5 min
  • Yield: 1 candy
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Ingredients

Directions

Special equipment:
stainless steel ladle with a 4-ounce (3 1/2-inch diameter) well, metal chopsticks, hotteok press (see Cook’s Note), silicone baking mat, 1-to-3-inch cookie cutters in any shape, ice pop sticks
  1. Line a sheet tray with a silicone baking mat and lay down 1 ice pop stick in the center. Set aside.
  2. Set a 4-ounce ladle over low heat about 2 inches above the flame and add the sugar. Stir with the chopsticks, swirling constantly until the sugar dissolves and turns pale light yellow (it should be fragrant like caramel and resemble diluted honey), about 2 minutes.  
  3. Stir in the baking soda and whisk vigorously for 5 seconds, still working 2 inches above the flame, and remove from the heat. Continue whisking until the baking soda is completely dissolved and the sugar doubles in volume, becomes frothy and turns light caramel color, about 10 seconds.  
  4. Pour the sugar immediately onto the tip of the ice pop stick on the silicone mat, scraping down with a rubber spatula. Keep a nice round shape as you pour as this will ensure the candy is pressed in an even circle. Quickly and lightly press down with hotteok press until the candy is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter, 3 to 5 seconds. As the candy begins to harden, gently lift the hotteok press and immediately stamp with a cookie cutter, making sure not to press all the way through, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove the cookie cutter and let the ppopgi cool until hardened, 2 to 3 minutes. If making more ppopgi, rinse the tools in hot water and dry completely before making the next batch.

Cook’s Note

A hotteok press is a round, stainless-steel plated, hand-held presser that is traditionally used for hotteok, a Korean sweet doughy pancake, but is also ideal for dalgona candy.

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