Dragon Beard Candy Recipe

I recently made dragon beard candy (view my photos). It turns out it’s a lot easier to make than hand pulled noodles, but the general process for both is the same. The reason dragon beard is easier is because you can really take your time while making it, and it is very forgiving about mistakes.

So I started by watching this video. Then I did a bunch of research on candy making. There are a few things to watch out for:

  1. When heating to a specific temperature, accuracy is very important. A 5 degree (Fahrenheit) difference can change your candy completely.
  2. When cooling your candy, it is in danger of crystallizing. Stirring it or bumping it can cause it to crystallize, so be careful.
  3. You can protect against crystallization by adding vinegar or corn syrup (or both) to your recipe.

Then I experimented a bit with the recipe in the video. I found that:

  1. You don’t need that much water. The goal is to boil it off anyways.
  2. Cooling the sugar to 100 C (212 F) before pouring it is a good way to crystallize your sugar and ruin the batch.
  3. It’s easy to crystallize the recipe anyways. Because of this, I modified it a bit by adding some extra corn syrup.
  4. Finally, the recipe is WAY TOO BIG.

So following all that, the recipe I had the most success with is this:

Dragon Beard Candy

  • 50g Maltose
  • 500g Sugar
  • 250g Water
  • 1/2 tsp White Vinegar
  • 100g Corn Syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, and boil. Once the temperature reaches 266 F, remove the mixture from the heat. Allow it to cool enough that the bubbles disappear and it becomes transparent. Rather than letting it cool to 212 F and risking crystallization at a low temperature, pour it into small cups immediately. I used little paper Dixie cups, and they didn’t burn or melt. Be careful in your cup choice though, as I used some with a plastic coating that made things a little more difficult.

Pulling the candy is pretty straighforward. Youtube videos are a great help for learning how to do it. Remember to take your time, because the candy CAN break. If it breaks when its still a large diameter, most of the time you can just stick the broken pieces back together by pressing the ends together (sugar is good at sticking to itself). If it’s really thin and you get a few broken strands, don’t worry about it. If you just keep pulling it will work itself back in.

For the peanut mixture, I used peanuts (toasted and ground in a blender or food processor), sesame seeds (to taste), and a little bit of corn syrup to help it stick together nicely. The corn syrup allowed me to get a big pile of peanuts in each dragon beard candy. I like lots of peanuts :D

Again, here’s a photo gallery of the pulling process. It was really a lot of fun to make, and it was A LOT easier than making hand pulled noodles. So if you’re getting stuck trying to make noodles, take a break and make some candy for a while.

Share:

    12 Comments

    1. Alana June 4, 2009 8:47 pm 

      I love that you have taught yourself these wonderful skills! I found your noodle video on the net after watching Chef Tomm's and decided to see more (I've actually seen in done in China many times). I worked at PCI as a pastry and baking instructor for the past three years but stopped right about the time you did your noodle demo. Again, great work! I can tell I'll be checking in on you to see what new thing you've decided to focus on. Can I ask why the pulled noodles and dragon beard candy, specifically?

    2. Carmen September 3, 2009 5:07 am 

      Fantastic – love this post!

    3. serena March 11, 2010 3:47 pm 

      afraid it may yield too big of a batch, how long do you think you can keep the remaining mixture w/o using it?

    4. Jeff December 18, 2012 11:28 pm 

      How did you reach 265F? I tested boiling – just water on an electric stove and I stuck my electric thermometer into the water as it was rigorously boiling. The temperature read 212F and wouldn’t get any higher.

    5. lrymarz December 19, 2012 11:36 am 

      I don’t believe water will go above 212 (it turns to vapor), but if you have all the ingredients in the pot, the temperature will get very high. Do a Google search for “candy making” if you’re interested in learning more.

    6. Tom January 7, 2013 10:30 pm 

      How come after pulling the candy, when I tried the candy is not crispy, but really sticky to my teeth.

    7. lrymarz January 8, 2013 12:25 am 

      That can occur if you didn’t bring the sugar all the way up to the correct temperature. You can also try letting the candy sit for a day or two after pulling it. It will dry out a bit and be less sticky.

    8. Louise April 8, 2013 7:15 am 

      Hi

      I am trying to make dragons beard. I’ve watched the video a few times. I’m using agave syrup instead of corn syrup I presume that’s ok? First 3 times it just cracked. This last time it was better, started it off but then it kept cracking, any help would be appreciated.

    9. lrymarz April 9, 2013 7:27 pm 

      @Louise – I would guess that agave syrup is fine, but I’ve never tried it. My guess would be that you’re overheating your sugar – try reducing your target temperature by 3 degrees or so (could be that your thermometer is a bit off)

      My first couple batches were very stiff, but patience and warm hands helped a lot.

    10. Louise April 11, 2013 10:39 pm 

      @Irymarz Thanks for the advice. I’ll keep trying :)

    11. Austin March 2, 2014 11:36 am 

      Where did you find maltose? If I can’t get maltose, can I just use more corn syrup?

    12. lrymarz March 5, 2014 1:34 pm 

      @Austin – I got maltose at a local asian market. It’s more readily available there. You might be able to use corn syrup, but there may be a chemical characteristic of maltose that makes the sugar behave properly.

      trying Googling around “candy making” – there are probably appropriate replacements if you can’t find maltose.

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published.