Fun With Sugar

By / Food / July 19th, 2013 / 3

Neither hubby nor I have ever been impulse shoppers. We usually spend a week (or longer) considering whether we really need something, what kind of impact buying it will have on our bank account … We’re really not very exciting shoppers. So, a couple of weeks ago, hubby and I happened to be at Target. I can’t quite recall why we were there. All memory blacked out when I spied a certain object in the small appliances aisle. It was a Jelly Belly candy floss maker. I don’t love candy floss. Yet, it was calling me nonetheless. Hubby was no help. I could tell he wanted it, too. We held firm, though and walked away. All the way back to the car, this is how the conversation went:

Hubby: Do you want it? ‘Cause if you do we’ll get it.”
Me: No, no. It would be silly. But, if you want it, we’ll go back and get it.”

And on like that.

The whole of the entire week that followed I thought of that candy floss maker. How fun it would be! How creative I could be! The marketing genius who gave the machine its bright carnival colours and aura of fun knew exactly how to rope me in. I was hooked. And although hubby didn’t say a word about it all week, I bet he was, too. The following Saturday, all I had to say was, “ok, let’s get it”, and off we went.

Candy floss is actually pretty trendy right now. I’ve seen it top all kinds of desserts and even cocktails. What’s even better is that you’re no longer limited to making the traditional pink or blue candy floss of the carnival variety.

First, a word about how the machine actually works. Inside the plastic casing are two heat rods. On top of those is a circular metal disk. In the middle of that is a well. The well is where you put 1 tablespoon of sugar. When you turn it on, the rods heat up and the metal disk spins very fast and gets very hot. Some of the sugar goes flying; but the amount that remains melts after a few minutes and the disk’s motion pushes it out into webbing. All you do is gently spin the plastic cone around the edge of the spinning metal disk to catch all the floss.

The candy floss maker comes with a couple bags each of pink and blue sugar. So, of course, we whipped up a batch of each. But, that’s where ordinary met its demise. I pulled out my containers of brown sugar, maple sugar and coconut sugar. Then the fun began.

Here’s what you need to know:

*concerning the amount of sugar – these are guidelines. I taste-tested along the way. I stopped adding sugar if the distinctive taste of each sugar was no longer coming through. My advice? Experiment at will.

Brown sugar – Because it’s naturally so moist, this is not a stellar sugar for a candy floss machine. Like maple sugar below, it can work with the right mix of brown and white sugars. I used a combination of 1/3 cup brown to 1 cup sugar. If you love the taste of crème caramel, this is the candy floss for you.

Maple sugar – 1/3 cup maple to 3/4 cup white. I was so looking forward to noshing on this one, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s like drinking maple syrup from the bottle. Who wants pancakes topped with maple candy floss?

Coconut sugar – This one came to mind the first time I laid eyes on the candy floss maker. Coconut sugar’s claim to fame is that it’s low on the glycemic index and packed with B vitamins. Plus, I love coconut. So again, I used 1/3 cup coconut sugar to 1 cup white sugar. This one was a bit of a failure, taste-wise. The coconut didn’t come through at all. It just had a kind of burnt molasses taste that sounds worse than it actually was. I wonder if the sugar just has a really low burn point. In any case, I might try this one again with even more white sugar added to the mix.

Here they are. The brown, maple and coconut candy floss all turned out to be the same off-white, beige colour. IMG_cc2

Have I piqued your interest in candy floss?


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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