How to make Cotton Candy

A Step by step guide for beginners

How to make cotton candy - step by step
Cotton candy has been a popular desert since the early 1900s but to make cotton candy is not as easy as it may seem. The process of making cotton candy has long been a source of fascination at carnivals for all ages and for good reason; it's a delicate and subtle art that requires a bit of practice to master. Here is a brief guide, aimed at beginners, on how to make cotton candy:

Step 1

Before you do anything you should read the instructions that come with the cotton candy machines and make sure you have followed all setup directions correctly.

Then use a damp cloth to wipe the inside surface of the floss pan; the moisture will encourage the floss stick to the pan.

Step 2

Follow the instructions on how to pour the sugar into the floss head; once it gets going you need to watch what direction the floss is being spun. It should adhere to the side of the pan as it spins.

Step 3

There are normally two devices, known as floaters, attached to the top plate of the spinner; these provide an extra current of air which can be used to control the direction of the floss as it comes out. A bit of practice is probably needed but generally speaking, if you adjust them upwards the floss will fly upwards and if you adjust them downwards the floss will go down. Floaters can be very useful in getting the floss where you need it and so invaluable when it comes to rolling the floss onto a cone.

Step 4

It's usually a good move to wipe the floss cone or stick with a damp cloth to ensure the cotton candy sticks. Hold the cone between your thumb and your first two fingers to make rotating easier. Then, with a light flicking motion, break the web of floss that is building up and lift the ring of floss up out of the pan. By rotating the cone you can then wind the floss onto the cone. It is important to remember not to roll floss onto the cone inside the pan, always roll outside of the pan if you want to avoid a sticky clog.

This may seem like a fairly simple four step process but it does require some practice to make cotton candy and even then, it can still leave a sticky mess to clear up afterwards. Always leave the machine running until the floss head is clear of all sugar and then when it's empty, leave it to run for a further minute on the highest setting. This will remove any carbon from the ribbons inside the cotton candy machine. Only ever use a damp cloth to wipe the machine down and never allow any water to get into the floss head.

The sugar you use to make cotton candy is quite important. You don't have to stick to the pre-mixed sugar and coloring provided by manufacturers; any 100 percent pure cane or beet sugar will do but ordinary granulated sugar is best. Avoid fine granulated sugars as these often contain cornstarch which will burn in the machine and clog the ribbons. Course sugars can also be used but they tend to require a higher voltage in order for the machine to melt it efficiently.

Using manufacturer flossin to color and flavor your cotton candy is ideal but if you do wish to flavor your own be sure not to use colorings that contain gum or starch. These will also burn and clog the ribbons.

Tip: For brighter colors use approximately one tablespoon of water per five pounds of sugar.

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