In episode 17 of Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Kim Yoon Hee and Lee Seon Joon are out about town (supposed to be figuring out where the geum deung ji sa is) when Yoon Hee spies a street vendor selling dalgona, also known as bbopki, or a simple Korean sugar candy, similar to honeycomb or some peanut brittles (without the peanuts). Today in Korea, it’s typically made like a flat lollipop, but sometimes, as back in the day, it’s simply a blob. A sweet, crunchy, airy blob with a touch of bitterness.
In the show, the vendor swirls the sugar mixture onto a long skewer, cotton candy-like, and hands it to the pretending-not-to-be-a-couple couple and Seon Joon shakes his head “no” when Yoon Hee hands one of the candies out to him. But then he takes it from her playfully and is pleasantly surprised by its flavor. Yeah, Seon Joon needs some sweet up in that sour face of his. 😉
I don’t have a large metal ladle* like what would be best for this recipe, so I used a large metal serving spoon over the open flame of my gas stove. If you don’t have a gas stove, use a big candle (this will probably take a little longer to heat up!) or one of those cans of flame (“Real Flame” or “Flame in a Can” etc.). I also went the lollipop route instead of the swirled-up blob, because it’s prettier :).
Dalgona/Bbopki Sugar Candy
- 1 Tbsp. White or Raw Sugar
- Pinch or so of Baking Soda
Line a large tray with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Have a small cookie cutter at the ready if you’d like a design in your candy. Put about a tablespoon worth of sugar onto a large metal spoon & hover it over the flame, stirring the sugar with a small skewer or chopstick. The sugar will gradually melt into a golden liquid. The darker the liquid gets, the more bitter.
Once the sugar is completely melted, stir in a pinch of baking soda & watch Science happen! Carbon dioxide is emitted, making lots of tiny bubbles so the mixture becomes foamy & rapidly increases in volume! Add a tiny bit more baking soda if you’d like, to really puff it up. Be careful that the mixture doesn’t overflow from the spoon & drip into the flame!
Quickly pour & scrape the mixture onto the parchment paper (or silpat) & place the tip of the skewer into one side of it. Usually the mixture is flattened with a quick press from flat metal, but I didn’t actually need to do that (you can though if you want). Press the little cookie cutter down on the mixture, not going all of the way through, but making a deep impression. When it cools, try to eat around the shape! In Korea, if you can do that with one you’ve bought from a street vendor, you get a second candy for free!
*If you have a large metal ladle, try 2 tablespoons of sugar & about 1/2 tsp. baking soda. or, experiment with a little pan & larger quantities! Have fun with it!