DIY Printed “Sucker for Horror” Suckers and a new partnership with Fangoria!

Three DIY Fangoria suckers in front of a sugar skull

I’m a sucker for a lot of things in this life.  I’m a sucker for awesome spooky stuff.  I’m clearly a sucker for my favorite partner in crime, Lucifur the Lord of Barkness, and for many, many years, I was a sucker for bloody, shiny copies of Fangoria.

I grew up on that magazine, pouring over the stories inside, loving every second of the behind the scenes shots of my favorite flicks and the hints and teasers for upcoming projects.   Hell, I was even on set, working as a blood slinger and production assistant on the feature film Hatchet (If you haven’t seen the original, go check it out. It’s amazing!) when the Fangoria team showed up to see what we were doing (it’s back issue #269 for anyone who is interested!)

Ahem, back to the story at hand.

Unfortunately, starting around 2010, Fangoria began slowing down, dealing both with the rising cost of printing along with the stresses that come from a rotating cast of editors.  This ultimately led to the decision in late 2016 to cease physical printed copies, transitioning the entire operation to an online platform that was, for lack of a better word, updated sporadically.

This left us horror magazine loving friends with an empty spot in our hearts…an empty spot that had been faithfully filled for over 37 years…until an announcement in 2018 that Fangoria, much like any good horror monster, wasn’t really dead…and that it was coming back to life!

Like proverbial jumper cables strapped to the chest of Frankenstein’s Monster and power by the collective lightning that is the world of horror fandom, Dallas-based entertainment company Cinestate is shocking the magazine back to life, resurrecting it into a quarterly feast for the frightening once more!

To celebrate not only this INCREDIBLE NEWS, but to also announce my disgustingly delicious partnership with this amazing company, I’m creating something just as sweet as that news…some seriously killer Fangoria inspired suckers…because who isn’t a sucker for some awesome horror?!

And of course, because I believe in full disclosure, I do need to let you know that some of these links are affiliate links.  To read my whole advertising policy, please click here.

Okay, back to the fun stuff.

To make these suckers, you’re gonna need some ingredients.  You’ll need:

You’ll also need an edible printer. Yes, an edible printer.  No, not a printer you can eat..but a printer that uses food grade inks to print designs on edible paper.

Now, before you freak out, let me tell you, this is much easier (and cheaper) to obtain than you might think.  And if you decorate stuff like I do, it’s a relatively affordable investment worth making.  I did a little research beforehand and found that there are a large number of different edible ink companies online who make printer cartridges that fit a wide variety of common printers, including Canon.  Then I started hunting through my local Craigslist.com for NEW printers that would work with the cartridges.  After a surprisingly short time, I stumbled across a college student in my town who was cleaning out his dorm room for the summer and had a brand-new $150 Canon printer for $50.  This thing hadn’t even been used once, which is perfect, because the last thing you want is a printer you have to clean before you start using it for food purposes.

I figured it was darkly divine inspiration, so I scooped it up (along with a free ream of paper and 2 packages of extra ink cartridges – damn, what a deal!) and brought it home.

If you don’t feel comfortable going the classified route and sourcing your own printer, you can also search online through Amazon.com as well as Ebay.com for entire pre-made kits that include not only the printers and ink, but edible paper and other accessories as well.

Alternately, if you don’t feel like making that sort of financial investment and would rather skip the printing it yourself altogether (hey, I don’t blame you!) my local bakery has helped me out more than once and printed edible designs for me.  In fact, it was thanks to them that my Beetlejuice Sushi Arm turned out looking as good as it did with the edible printed outer crab shell.  It’s all just a matter of asking around for anyone who does photo cakes and then seeing if they’d be willing to help you out.

Now there are two types of paper you can print on, either wafer paper (usually made from potato starch) and sugar paper (made from…uh…sugar) which is sometimes also called frosting paper.  For this recipe, you’ll want the sweet stuff.

To make the sucker design for our Fangoria suckers, I used Photoshop and created circles that were just slightly smaller than the 2” diameter of my sucker molds.  Because I’m both a fan of Fangoria and a sucker for horror, I made two designs (click here to download your own high resolution .pdf file if you want to use my design: fangoria sucker template black pdf ).

I printed them out on my sugar paper and used some scissors to cut them into circles.

Now is also the time to remove any plastic backing that your sugar paper may have on it.  You don’t want to forget and accidentally put a piece of plastic into your suckers.  Or maybe you do?  Hell, I don’t know you, you freak.

Whatever.

I took my plastic off.

Because the sugar paper gets hard and crumbly as it dries, you’ll want to make sure you do this step just before you make your suckers.

Now that your graphics are ready, let’s make our suckers!

In a pot with sides at least 3” high, combine your sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Stir over medium heat until all the sugar is fully dissolved.

Bring the heat up to medium high and stop stirring!  If you stir it while the sugar liquid boils, you can potentially trigger a chain reaction that will cause your candy to crystallize early, leaving you with a crumbly nasty mess.

Carefully pop in your candy thermometer and keep your eye on the temperature.

While your candy is cooking (It’ll take about 8 minutes or so), lightly oil your sucker molds.  Just go over them with a quick swipe of a food-safe paintbrush soaked in a bit of non-stick spray or olive oil and then wipe it out again with a paper towel.  You don’t want a ton of oil in there, just enough to make sure the candy doesn’t stick.

When your sugar mixture reaches 295F/145C, remove it from the heat.  Ultimately, to make suckers, we’ll want our sugar to reach 300F/148C which is also called the ‘hard crack’ stage.  Because our molten sugar is so hot, it will continue to rise in temperature a few degrees even after taking it off the heat, actually reaching 300F/148C all on its own.

If we leave it on the heat until it reaches 300F/148C and then remove it, it will continue to rise, and you run the risk of overcooking it and ending up with a burned caramel syrup…not great for suckers.

Once you remove the liquid from the heat, give it about 30 seconds to rest and for the bubbling it’s doing to slow waaay down.  You want it to almost be at a complete stop.

Carefully pour just enough of your clear sucker syrup into your 2” silicone sucker molds to fully coat the bottom.  Move quickly as your syrup will start to get harder to pour the longer it’s off the heat.

While the first layer is still soft, press your sucker sugar graphics face down onto the warm sugar.

Use the bottom of a shot glass or small measuring cup to really press down the design into the clear sugar and smooth it out all the way to the edges. This will help minimize bubbles between the sugar layer and the paper layer.

Pop your sucker sticks into their corresponding holes in your mold.

Now that your first layer is poured, your graphics have been placed, and your sucker sticks are stuck where they need to be, let’s get the second layer going.

Check on your sugar on the stove.  Odds are, it may be pretty thick because it’s cooled while we worked on the first layer, but that’s ok, we’ll fix it.

Bring the temperature back up to medium-high and watch it carefully as the sugar syrup liquefies again and heads back up to 295F/145C.

Once it hits that temperature, again remove it from heat and wait for the bubbling to stop.  This time you’ll want to carefully add in your flavoring and just a drop or two of your black food coloring.  I know I already said it…but be careful!  When you add in these two ingredients, the mixture will foam and bubble and release a large cloud of steam.  Make sure your face isn’t over the pot when that happens!

Quickly stir your mixture to combine everything and then pour this black syrup down right over the top of your first layer of sugar, your sucker sticks, and your graphics.

Now as you can see in the photos I was putting my sucker sticks in after I had poured the 2nd layer, and I have to say, learn from my mistake…put them in between the first layer and the 2nd layer, it’ll make them stronger.

Make sure you fill the sucker molds up far enough to completely cover your sucker sticks.

Let your suckers cool completely before pulling them from the mold.

Depending on how much of a perfectionist you are, you might not be happy with the surface of the clear layer on your suckers.  Odds are it’s a bit cloudy.  Don’t worry, a little heat will fix that.  Using either your blowtorch (fire, fire!) or a hair dryer set on HIGH, lightly go over the clear side of your sucker.  The sugar will start to bubble and get even cloudier for a second, but don’t stop!  Keep the heat on and in just seconds after that cloudiness appears, the sugar will again liquefy and smooth out into a glass-like appearance, leaving you with a much clearer surface.  Place face up on your sucker mold to cool again and repeat with all the rest of your suckers.

To serve these bad boys, either eat immediately or wrap in your candy wrappers and share with other likeminded horror loving Fangoria fans!

And speaking of suckers and sticks…you should stick around! Not only will Fangoria be hitting the racks again (click here to check out how to subscribe!), but I’ll be back next month with even more amazing horror and Fangoria inspired treats.

Until the next time…Bone appetite!

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