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How to Make Cotton Candy

How to Make Cotton Candy

Last updated on 9/20/2017

Pink, light, soft, and swirling high on a paper cone. You see it at the stadium, the concession stand, and the amusement park. Everybody has it and you want it. But how is cotton candy made? We're here to tell you how in just a few simple steps. Unsure whether or not your business needs cotton candy? You're soon to discover how this sweet confectionary creation makes the perfect addition to any affair!

Cotton Candy as a Canvas: Colorful and Flavorful

Cotton candy is one of the most profitable concession foods that yield one of the highest profit returns. It can be served on a stick for made-to-order service or packaged in bags for quick impulse buys. Spun sugar is naturally white, but it's easy to add vibrant colors and flavors to your cotton candy service, including everything from banana to grape to orange. Though pink vanilla and blue raspberry varieties typically conjure childhood memories of fun houses and roller coasters, you can make cotton candy any way you want - and you're still guaranteed to draw a crowd of customers.

Making Cotton Candy is On the Rise

Cotton Candy Cart

When cotton candy was first invented, it was labor-intensive and a sweet treat for a select few. Machine-spun cotton candy was first introduced at the 1904 World's Fair as "fairy floss." Despite the playful names and nod to nostalgia the wispy candy brings, cotton candy was modernized in the 1970s when the first automatic cotton candy making machines were created. These machines have been evolving ever since to accommodate a selection of styles and sizes, and you can still preserve an old-fashioned appeal by placing your machine atop a cotton candy cart. As long as you have sugar and floss sugar concentrate, or pre-mixed floss, you too can make cotton candy!

Should I Buy Pre-Mixed Floss?

In order to give cotton candy its color and flavor, either mix floss sugar concentrate with regular granulated sugar, or buy a product that is already pre-mixed. Ready to pour into your cotton candy machine's floss head right out of the carton, pre-mixed cotton candy sugar saves time and allows for fast, efficient service from start to finish! If you're looking to make a larger volume of cotton candy with a smaller amount of product, floss sugar concentrate may be the way to go. In fact, one 1 lb. jar of floss sugar concentrate can yield over 4,000 cotton candy servings when prepared properly! Compare this to the 60-70 cones you get from 1/2 lb. carton of pre-mixed floss sugar, and the savings quickly add up.

It's as Simple as Heating & Spinning

Cotton Candy Machine
  • Once the sugar and floss sugar concentrate has been mixed, or the pre-mixed carton has been opened, you need to supply heat to the product for it to transform into a sweet treat. Load the floss (cotton candy mix) into the center-also known as the floss head or spinning head-of your cotton candy machine to get started. This area houses the ribbon-style heating elements and starts spinning the cotton candy mix.
    The floss head reaches high speeds, so don't reach your hand or other objects near the floss head while it is running.
  • The cotton candy mix liquefies as it heats up, but as it spins, the liquid is forced out to the sides of the bowl. This is the point where it starts to form its characteristic cotton-like consistency.
  • As the floss begins to flow out of the spinning head, reduce the heat. If the heat is too high, you run the risk of clogging the floss in the spinning head.
  • When you notice that the amount of floss produced begins to slow, add more cotton candy mix into the machine.
  • Once enough cotton candy has gathered in the machine for at least one serving, it may take practice to perfect twirling it out of the machine and atop a cone. Try applying a small amount of water to the cone if you are having trouble. That way the light and soft texture will stick.
  • Instead of scraping the remaining sugar from the cotton candy machine, simply run the machine and let the sugar burn itself out.

Features to Look For in a Cotton Candy Machine

Cotton Candy Bowl

Make sure that each batch of cotton candy is prepared to perfection by choosing the best cotton candy maker to suit your establishment's needs. Not sure which machine is right for you? Here's what to look for:

1. High performance spinning head
There is a chance that sugar will clog in ordinary ribbon heating elements. It's important to select a durable unit, and all metal or aluminum construction is superior to plastic parts.

2. Roll-top bubble
A roll-top bubble sits on top of the bowl and provides superior product visibility and handling. Its roll-top design rolls back for easy access when making floss, while still protecting the contents of the machine from airborne particles. Your machine will also be fully protected when not in use.

3. Stabilizer and clips
Before turning your cotton candy maker on, install plastic screening-also known as stabilizer-and clips, for holding the screening in place, to the inside of the bowl. Stabilizer and clips prevent cotton candy from spilling out of the bowl and make the finished product easier to collect.

Quick Tips to Attract Even More Customers

Cotton Candy Display

Now that you know how to make cotton candy, and the features in a cotton candy machine that help make that process smooth, learn how to present your cotton candy to maximize your profits! Often times, cotton candy is sold amongst a variety of other tempting concession stand treats. How do customers pick cotton candy over pretzels, popcorn, or snow cones?

1. Attractive cotton candy carts
Add a sense of vintage charm to your cotton candy merchandising with a spoke wheel cart. Its timeless appeal will enchant customers of all ages. With a sleek metal exterior, it will combine durability with an old-fashioned sense of fun.

2. Fun displays and merchandisers
Cotton candy on a stick adds height and volume, compared to other smaller concession treats like candy apples and funnel cakes. One way to showcase this sense of verticality is with a display pole, also known as a floss tree. It doesn't take up much space, and you'll be able to hang bags of fresh cotton candy on all sides.

3. Stands and signs
Sometimes all your customers need is the image of cotton candy to make them start craving. Design whimsical stands picturing the light and fluffy confection swirled atop a cone and watch as lines begin to form! Once your customers are drawn towards the eye-catching sign or stand, they won't be able to resist.

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