Isomalt is sugar-free and lower in calories than regular sugar, but is also made from sucrose. Isomalt along with similar sugar replacers are termed 'polyols'. While they are carbohydrates, they are not a sugar; they are sugar alcohols. Isomalt doesn't promote tooth decay the way standard sugar does. While perfect for people who are on sugar-restricted diets, if eaten in large quantities, or for people with sensitive systems, it can cause gastric upset like gas or give a laxative effect.
Isomalt can be used in much the same way as regular sugar, such as making candies, usin it as an ingredient in baked items, and sweetening products. While it is versatile, it will not brown like sugar. Because of all the properties listed above (humidity/moisture resistant, anti-crystallization properties, doesn't brown like sugar) it is excellent for blown sugar and boiled sugar art work.
Basic Isomalt Recipes
Isomalt syrup is convenient for use in blown sugar work, candy jewels, or cast sugar work. A basic recipe will consist of roughly 3 to 4 parts isomalt to 1 part water. Some recipes call for water to be optional, and just add glucose (like this recipe from Squire's Kitchen in the UK).
Isomalt is easily boiled for sugar work. If you are adding water, a typical recipe consists of 4 parts isomalt to 1 part water, like the recipe below:
- 2 cups isomalt
- 1/2 cup water
Mix the isomalt and water together. Wash down the sides, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until temperature reaches 340 degrees F or 171 degrees C. If coloring is to be added, add food coloring when the temperature reaches 280 degrees F or 82 degrees C, the continue cooking. Plunge the bottom of the pot in cool water to stop the cooking, then proceed with the sugar art.
Resources and Citations:
"Isomalt." Polyol.org, 2011. Web. 4 December, 2011.
"SK Isomalt Specialist Sugar." Squires-shop.com. Squires Kitchen Ltd., n.d. Web. 4 December, 2011.
Whittington, Vi. Cooked Sugar Art. Country Kitchen SweetArt, Inc., 2009.
Page updated on December 4, 2011 by Renee Shelton.