What is it?
Carbonated sugar or, rather, sugar containing carbon dioxide so that it crackles, pops and explodes in your mouth. It's one of the products in the culinary alchemy phenomenon known as molecular gastronomy, what The Associated Press coins "a science-tastic take on haute cuisine."
To make it, the sugar is melted and then cooled in the presence of pressurized carbon dioxide so that the gas gets trapped in the particles. When the bits are melted in the mouth, or bitten into, the gas gets released with a popping effect.
This brand, from Montreal-based Molecule-R, has large golden granules, which looks like chunky raw sugar -- or Rice Krispies.
An adult version of the Pop Rocks candy some of us remember from the 1970s, but minus the artificial colouring and flavouring. And popping sugar is less fizzy. No word what happens if you eat it while drinking cola.
Carbonated sugar is popular among chefs and pastry cooks -- and molecular gastronomists, of course. Molecule-R touts it as "an innovative fun ingredient" to use as a topping or filling for desserts, chocolates and ice cream. Sprinkle it over any sweet dish -- fruit salad, for example -- right before serving, or add it to a salted dish for a unique effect. The sugar can also be added to low-water confections, like icing.
www.Molecule-r.com, where it sells for $29.95 for a 1.2-pound container.