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Candy Floss Questions, FAQ’s

11 July 2021

Over the years we have come across a multitude of questions about candy floss. Some are quite sensible, others belong in a joke book. We are going to look at, and try to answer some of our favourites.

Can Dogs Eat Candy Floss

Candy floss in itself isn’t harmful to a dog. It is basically pure sugar. However it will lead to a blood sugar spike, then subsequent drop, which isn’t the best thing for your pet. Because most breeds tend to be smaller than humans this will be more pronounced, and because dogs aren’t used to a sugar intake that high it amplifies the effect. So we wouldn’t recommend giving them more than a pinch of floss.

Who Invented Candy Floss

A dentist. No really, it was a dentist. To be fair, he wasn’t just a dentist. He was a political activist, invented a method to purify Nashville’s water supply, wrote children’s books and invented a lard substitute. William J Morrison really was a dentist. He didn’t invent candy floss per se. Cooks had been making spun sugar for hundreds of years. What he did invent was the electric candy floss machine. Or as he called it then fairy floss. This enables large quantities of floss to be made very quickly. Previously making spun sugar was a tedious affair, suitable for topping small cakes and the like.

He debuted his machine in 1904 at the St Louis World Fair. It was an instant success, he sold 68,655 boxes of the stuff at $0.25 a pop. That’s the equivalent of selling $500,000 worth allowing for inflation.

William Morrison
William Morrison

Why Do Some People Call It Cotton Candy

If you call it cotton candy you are most probably from North America. Which is a little strange, because they originally called it Fairy Floss. Sometime after thew switched to Cotton Candy. The Australians and New Zealanders still refer to it as Fairy Floss. Us Brits Candy Floss, The South Africans Tooth Floss, though the Afrikaners call it Spookasem (Ghosts Breath). The French barbe a papa (Daddy’s Beard), Dutch Suikerspin (Sugar Spider), and the Persians Pashmak (Wool Like).

So the name all depends on where you come from.

Is Candy Floss Bad For You

We once read that there are no poisonous substances, just poisonous doses. For instance, water is widely regarded as one of the healthiest things you can partake of. However drink too much and you die. Candy Floss is the same, sugar, pretty much all it is made of, other than a minute trace of colouring. Is one of the basic requirements for life. No sugar in your body and you end up dead. So a little candy floss won’t do you any harm. If you eat nothing but floss, then you will become really fat, lose most of your teeth, and can trigger sugar diabetes. So our tip is everything in moderation.

Can I make Candy Floss At Home

You certainly can, chefs have been making it for hundreds of years. A simple recipe is available here. You can also buy cheap little electric machines that make it in the same way as the commercial machines do. Truth be told they are not very good, but they do work well enough for a kids party or similar.

Home Candy Floss Machine
Home Candy Floss Machine

Does Candy Floss Go Off

Not really. Bacteria, which is usually responsible for food spoiling, doesn’t like sugar rich environments. This is why throughout history sugar has been used to preserve food. You can’t get much more sugar rich than candy floss. Additionally the heat generated to make the floss, around 186 Celsius. Makes sure that the floss is pretty much sterile as it is being made.

However, what does happen, is that the floss gradually absorbs moisture. This leads to it shrinking back into its sugar form, so after a while you end up with a coloured sugar lump instead of a bag of floss. Happily popping it in the freezer means it will last months. The best bit is, you can eat it straight from the freezer as it doesn’t actually freeze. The cold air doesn’t contain moisture so it extends the life.

Sugar Cube
Sugar Cube

Is Candy Floss Halal

It can be. The ingredients are sugar, and basic colouring flavourings. Now sugar is just pure sugar so no problems there. The flavourings and colouring depends on what exactly is used. Red colour tends to contain the powdered shell of a species of beetle. Called cochineal it is a species native to North America. Alternatives are available, but if you want to be 100% sure then just eat white candy floss. That is made with nothing but sugar, and Silver Spoon brand is both halal and kosher.

Red Food Colouring
Red Food Colouring

Where Do I Buy Candy Floss Near Me

Any local funfair will sell floss. Many supermarkets have small tubs available. Or there are mail order sellers.

How Is Candy Floss Made

A band of happy pixies live in the bottom of the machine, merrily knitting the sugar in to candy floss and pushing it through the little holes in the centre of the machine for the operator to collect with a stick.

Of course some people claim there is a scientific explanation, personally we like the one above, but if you are one of those boring grown ups who think magic isn’t real, here is an alternative explanation.

The sugar mixture is poured into a rotating drum. The high speed of the drum forces the mixture against a wire mess around the perimeter. This mesh is heated to 186 degree celsius. This heat breaks the bonds of the constituent molecules (carbon, oxygen and hydrogen C12H22O11).

The hydrogen and oxygen atoms form molecules of water, which instantly evaporate due to the intense heat. This leaves only carbon behind, which burns and begins to caramelise the sugar.

As it caramelises the liquid sugar is forced through the tiny holes in the mesh and solidify as they meet cooler air. As this is happening thousands of times a second. You get a mass of candy floss composed of these filaments which are just 50 microns in diameter.

Why Is Candy Floss Pink

Actually it isn’t. Pure candy floss is white. The only ingredient is sugar. For other colours of candy floss you add a tiny amount of colouring. So it can be pink, blue, green, orange, yellow, purple and so on. It tends to come out as pastel colours, so you dont really get a deep red, it comes out pink.

Does Candy Floss Have Gelatin In

As a general rule no it does not. But, you would need to know the food colouring ingredients list used to change it’s colour. There are literally hundreds of different food colourings out there, so some may contain gelatin. To be absolutely safe, eat white candy floss, as this is entirely pure sugar.

What Goes Well With Candy Floss

Far and away the most popular is popcorn. The two can be combined on a single cart and are ideal for weddings, parties or events.

Victorian Catering Cart
Victorian Catering Cart

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