I Tried Making Squid Game's Dalgona Candy—Here's What You Need to Know
Like pretty much everyone else, my family binged Netflix's runaway hit, Squid Game, in record time. And like pretty much everyone else (or at least, the TikTok universe), I decided I wanted to try the dalgona candy that features prominently in the third episode of the show.
This isn't the dalgona whipped coffee from early 2020—which was like a very lightly sweetened "reverse latte." Dalgona candy is similar to a toffee or honeycomb candy—sugar is cooked until it's caramelized, then a little baking soda is added to react with the sugar and create a frothy effect. After it cools and hardens, you break it up and enjoy. (Though it's safe to say in Squid Game, where contestants were required to try to break out a shape in the middle without breaking the candy—there wasn't much to enjoy about it.)
There are only two ingredients—sugar and a small pinch of baking soda. You can find some dalgona making kits for sale, but you probably have all the tools you need on hand—a small pan or ladle, a pair of chopsticks, a piece of parchment paper, a spatula, and a cookie cutter.
We put about a third cup of sugar in a small pan over medium heat, stirring it with the chopsticks. Within a few minutes, it started to melt, and soon it turned a pale golden color. At that point, we tossed in two tiny pinches of baking soda, which caused the caramelized sugar to foam up.
And that's when I learned that sugar can be very (very!) quick to go from a perfect golden caramel color to just a little bit more burnt than it should be. You need to be fast to pour the molten sugar onto your parchment paper, then use the spatula to flatten it out. (Put plenty of nonstick spray on the spatula to keep it from sticking.) Leave it on the parchment paper for a few minutes to cool, then use the cookie cutter to mark the candy. It'll need at least another few minutes to cool enough to have that crisp texture like in the show.
The flavor of ours was a little more roasted marshmallow than honeycomb, thanks to the extra two seconds it spent over the flame—but the dalgona candy was still delicious. (I do love the flavor of a roasted marshmallow.)
One downside: this isn't a candy with a long shelf life. The next morning, the leftovers had softened and gotten sticky. But it's pretty easy to whip up just enough to enjoy when you have a craving.
The dalgona candy probably won't be in my daily snack rotation, but it was fun to try to break it apart like in Squid Game—with a very low-stakes outcome if we failed.