Okay so thrift stores are great… at the end of the summer we picked up a cotton candy machine for $5. Thought, might as well try it, it might even work! Well folks.. it works like a charm, and I’ve been making cotton candy ever since. A brief history of cotton candy:
“Machine-spun cotton candy was invented in 1897 by the dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton and first introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World’s Fair as “Fairy Floss” with great success, selling 68,655 boxes at 25¢ per box (equivalent to $6 per box today). Joseph Lascaux, a dentist from New Orleans, Louisiana, invented a similar cotton candy machine in 1921. In fact, the Lascaux patent named the sweet confection “cotton candy” and the “fairy floss” name faded away, although it retains this name in Australia.”
Okay first of all, what is this with dentists inventing candy? Seems counter intuitive.. You’d think they want to have less candy in the world right? Maybe they just had the idea and couldn’t resist the moneymaking opportunity… or maybe, dentists know that candy provides their business.. the candy and dentist industries go hand in hand.
Well whatever the cause, apparently cotton candy was invented by a dentist and confectioner who named it Fairy Floss. I personally find this name perfect! I mean wouldn’t you rather eat magical Fairy Floss than a big ball of cotton?? Exactly. You get my point.
Anyway, Fairy Floss or not, this spun sugar confection sure was a good invention. Our cotton candy maker takes any hard candy and spins it into a shimmering web. I immediately began to wonder about exciting flavors… butterscotch or maple cotton candy… cinnamon even..
I found cinnamon and butterscotch hard candies, and then made my own maple syrup candy. First I poured 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup into a small saucepan, and let it come up to 300 °F over medium heat, without stirring. Then I carefully poured the boiling syrup into small candy molds and let it cool.
I found that 3 approximately quarter-sized candies make a serving of cotton candy. The spinning method takes practice, but I found that the most important part is to let the web of floss build up enough that you could constantly spin more floss onto the stick. I rolled and taped paper cones, I think skewers would make it difficult by rotating inside the candy.
The maple cotton candy was delicious, but the store bought candies made the fluffiest floss. When spinning, getting the perfect shape takes practice, but it’s worth it. You should be careful of candies like Lemon Heads with coatings, because they tend to burn instead of turn into floss.. which ends with molten sugar being sprayed all over you and all the surroundings (yes it happened). Let me know if you try any new exciting flavors! Have fun flossing… well Fairy Flossing (ha ha…)