How to Build a Sugar Heat Lamp

Ribbon Candy image by sonya etchison from

Pulled sugar is not for the faint of heart: working with this finicky material is much like working with blown glass. It's hot, it can give you a serious burn and it cools quickly. To keep the sugar hot while working with it, you need to put the sugar under a heat lamp. The heat slows down the cooling process, allowing you to manipulate the sugar. You can build a homemade sugar heat lamp with a few materials from a hardware store.

Choose a flat work area that is free from drafts. Work near an oven because you need to put the sugar back in the oven to melt when it gets too brittle.

Find a place to hang your clamp light. If you have the space, hang one clamp on the left side of the workstation and one on the right to allow the sugar to receive heat from the top and both sides. Clamp lights attach themselves to the undersides of cupboards that have a lip or to the poles of a baker's rack with a flat workstation. Discuss Cooking advises hanging the lamp about a foot above the level where you'll be working with the sugar.

Hang the clamp light. Press both sides of the clamp valve with your fingers to part the teeth. Affix the clamp to the object and let go of the valve. Tilt the lamp head until it points down toward the workstation. If necessary, use an extension cord.

Screw one 250-watt light bulb into the clamp light. Plug in the clamp light and turn it on to ensure it works.

Place a silicone mat on the workstation. This cover prevents the hot sugar from damaging the countertop and from cooling off too quickly on a stainless steel or marble surface. Begin pulling sugar.