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Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

rock is a traditional confection of British seaside resorts made from pulled sugar. Made in long sticks, flavored with mint or fruit essences, it has a brightly colored, often red, exterior. The white inner core mysteriously encloses letters spelling the name of the resort, or sometimes has a complex pattern—a flower, a fruit, a face—running its length.

Making rock is simple in principle. Sugar is boiled to the hard crack stage 302°F (150°C) then divided and colored, usually adding red to a small proportion and leaving the rest plain. See stages of sugar boiling. The uncolored batch is pulled until it is white, and some of it is shaped into a short, thick cone and kept warm. The colored batch is divided into strips, and the design is built up with some of the pulled colored sugar. For instance, a letter O is formed by wrapping a cylinder of white sugar in an outer coat of red. These lengths containing patterns are assembled around the cone, the whole is wrapped in pulled sugar, and a colored coat is added to the exterior. A machine spins the cone of rock into long, slender cylinders that are gently rolled until cool to keep their cylindrical form. Then they are cut into short lengths, revealing the pattern across the ends, and wrapped in cellophane along with a picture of the resort in which they are sold.