Cotton candy is one of those amazing foods that makes no sense until you know the secret. There is no way to produce cotton candy without special equipment, but if you have the equipment, it is incredibly easy!

Cotton candy is nothing but pure sugar. To make the sugar "cottony," you need four things:

  • Heat to melt the sugar and turn it into a liquid
  • A set of very small holes that the liquid sugar can flow through to form threads of sugar
  • A spinning head that slings the liquid sugar outward so it is forced through the holes
  • A bowl to catch the threads
This page has a really nice picture. You pour sugar into the center of the head.

The head contains the heater to melt the sugar and make it liquid. Then, by spinning the head, the cotton candy machine forces the liquid sugar out through tiny holes in the head. The instant the thin threads of sugar hit the air, they cool and re-solidify, so in the bowl of the machine a web of sugar threads develops. The web is easily collected on a paper cone.

If you mix water with cotton candy it instantly dissolves, and you can see that it's nothing but a tablespoon or two of sugar filling the entire bag. It's amazing how much you can charge for sugar, air and a little coloring!

Here are some interesting links: