Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

Difficulty Level: Beginner

The sweet and soft texture of cotton candy will leave you waxing nostalgic for childhood visits you made to your town carnival. Bring the flavor of the fair into your home by making cotton candy without a machine. With a few skills and DIY kitchen tools, rustle up cotton candy for the kids in 30 minutes using this recipe adapted from GoodtoKnow.

  • 5 cups white granulated sugar 
  • 1 1/4 cups corn syrup 
  • 1 1/4 cups water 
  • 2 to 3 drops of food coloring (optional) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and food coloring of your choice.

Set the stove to a medium-high heat and stir the mixture frequently until the sugar has melted. Add lemon juice to help prevent recrystallization of sugar in the saucepan.

Tips

  • If sugar crystals form, wipe the sides of the saucepan with a damp pastry brush. 
  • Experiment with food coloring to add a burst of color to your cotton candy. Stir in the food coloring when you combine the ingredients in the saucepan. 
  • Add 1/2 cup of maple syrup to the sugar while it’s melting for extra flavor. Use light or dark corn syrup, depending on your preferred color.     

Place a candy thermometer to the center of the saucepan; heat the syrup to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. This is known as the clear-liquid stage.

When the syrup reaches 320 F, carefully pour it into a glass bowl; immerse the glass bowl in cold water to prevent the syrup from cooking further.

Dip the modified whisk into the syrup and let the thick strands of syrup drip back into the bowl. Holding the whisk about a foot above the wooden handles, swing the whisk back and forth between the handles to create thin strands of syrup. Repeat this process until you have a nest of thin strands of syrup.

Wrap a paper cone in the strands of syrup until you have cotton candy stick and serve the treat.