How to Make Cotton Candy at Home

make cotton candy

Whether you’re a little kid or an adult, there is nothing better than homemade cotton candy. It is best when it is still a little bit warm and can melt perfectly in your mouth. Renting a cotton candy machine is perfect for holiday parties like for the 4th of July, but it is just as great for making a special treat on any old day. If you have a cotton candy machine on hand or are going to rent one, here’s how to make cotton candy at home.

1. Pick your flavor.

There are actually a range of floss sugars that you can buy. The most popular is vanilla, but blueberry and strawberry are also favorites. If you’ve never made cotton candy before, you might want to stick with one flavor, since switching from one flavor to another in a cotton candy machine can be difficult. Pick a flavor that will be universally adored by all who try it—this is usually vanilla or just plain sugar. It is important, however, to use the right kind of sugar. Not all sugar can be used in a cotton candy machine, so make sure you buy a brand that is formulated for the machine you are using.

2. Read your machine’s instructions.

Whether you’ve purchased a cotton candy machine or you’ve rented one, it will come with instructions. Because each machine is different, you should read those instructions specifically. These machines are designed to be easy to use, even if you have no training at all. Don’t let the instructions daunt you. Often, all you have to do is plug the machine in and pour the floss sugar into it. In general, you should know that you will have to add the floss sugar before you turn the machine on.

3. Wait for a layer of floss to form.

Once you’ve added your sugar and turned the machine on, you have to give it a couple of minutes to heat up and start spinning the sugar. It usually takes a while for a good layer of floss to form around the drum. A cotton candy machine works by heating up the sugar until it is molten and then throwing it out in long strings from the center to gather in those fine, feathery wisps of cotton candy that we are all so familiar with. To get enough that you can start to gather it up with a paper cone or wooden stick will take a moment.

4. Start gathering the floss.

Using a paper cone or stick and holding it firmly by the end, start gathering up the floss. The best way to do this is by rolling it along the edge where the floss has begun to gather. It will stick to the cone, and as you roll it in your hand and move it around the drum, it will start to collect the floss into a roll.

5. What if it won’t pick up the floss?

The best way to get your cone to pick up the floss if it does not automatically adhere is to pass it over the cone quickly so that it picks up a little bit of the hot melted sugar. This will then cause the floss to come off of the edge and stick to the cone or the stick.

6. How do I change flavors?

You can change flavors simply by turning off the machine and pouring another flavor of floss on top of the flavor that you already have in the drum. After the cotton candy machine has exhausted all of the floss sugar of one flavor, it will start producing cotton candy of the second flavor. There may some overlap in between the flavors, which may be exactly what you want. If you do not want the flavors to overlap, you will have to completely finish off one flavor and then clean the drum and the spinner before adding another flavor.

7. Why am I smelling burning sugar or seeing smoke?

You want the sugar to melt—you do not want to burn it. If you are smelling burning sugar or seeing smoke from inside the machine, this probably means that your heating element is too high. Most cotton candy machines let you adjust the heat, in case the lower temperature are not high enough to properly melt one brand of floss sugar or another. This can mean, however, that you can set the machine too high for the brand of floss sugar you are using. You do not have to turn off the machine if you are seeing smoke or smelling burning sugar, you should simply turn the machine down.

8. What can I do with leftover cotton candy?

In the unlikely event that you have left over cotton after everyone has had their fill of this sugary snack, there are a couple of ways you can store it. First, you can gather up the extra floss and put in plastic zip-top bags. This will protect the cotton candy from bugs and will allow you to store it for weeks and weeks. Second, you could flatten the leftover cotton candy and place it in freezer bags. It will still be delicious, but the consistency and texture might vary after storage.

The best way to avoid making too much cotton candy is to only turn on the machine and make a batch when someone wants one!

Rent a cotton candy machine today!


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