The 9 Best Cotton Candy Machines
9. Great Northern Popcorn Company Vortex
8. Nostalgia Electrics Vintage
7. FunTime Candy Cloud
6. Nostalgia Electrics Hard & Sugar-Free
5. Yescom Carnival
4. Paragon Spin Magic 5
3. Cotton Candy Express
2. Vivo Electric
1. Clevr Commercial
Nostalgia At Its Sweetest
Everyone who's ever been a kid remembers a time in their life when candy was almost considered a religion. Recall those days from childhood when you used to save up your weekly allowance money to go to the nearest drug store or candy shop and load up on all those delicious confections. Now, consider those times when you used to go to carnivals, the circus, or amusement parks. Perhaps you still go to these places today with your own kids.
One of the quintessential parts of your experience at these locations is the food, which consists of all types of sweet and fried goodies that you wouldn't typically eat on a daily basis. One of these sweet indulgences was most likely a big ball of cotton candy. If you've ever wondered where it comes from, how it's prepared, and how to reap the sweet benefits of the treat from home, then look no further.
Also referred to as fairy floss, cotton candy is a special form of spun sugar. It is crafted through a process of heating, liquefying, and spinning granulated (and often colored) sugar into very thin strands. These strands are referred to as sugar glass. The resulting ball of cotton candy is made mostly of air, the sugar strands, and weighs around one ounce per serving. Cotton candy is usually sold at fairs, carnivals, and even at Japanese festivals. It's typically placed on rolled-up paper or some type of plastic stick. In many cases, food coloring and flavoring are used to give the cotton candy a kick.
The majority of cotton candy machines in use today feature a spinning head that encloses a small reserve bowl meant for pouring granulated sugar and food coloring. Built-in heaters near the spinning head's rim then melt the sugar. Thanks to the use of the machine's centrifugal force, the molten sugar is then squeezed out of tiny holes where it solidifies in the air before falling into a larger bowl that surrounds the spinning head. As this process continues to happen for an extended period of time, the spun sugar continues to collect inside the large bowl. The machine operator then winds the spun sugar from the rim of the bowl around a paper cone or stick for distribution.
Today, single servings of cotton candy can even be sold through vending machines. The majority of cotton candy machines available today range from tabletop size in the home to the large, commercial size machines that hold up to three pounds of sugar with compartments for storing a variety of different flavors.
A Brief History Of The Cotton Candy Machine
Believe it or not, the first electrical cotton candy machine was invented in 1897 by dentist William Morrison in cooperation with confectioner John C. Wharton. Yes, you read that humorous sense of irony correctly. One of the inventors of the cotton candy machine was actually a dentist. Together, Morrison and Wharton introduced the machine to a large audience at the 1904 World's Fair and referred to the confection as fairy floss. This cotton candy machine melted sugar and also leveraged forced air to push the sugar through a wire screen.
In the year 1900, Thomas Patton received a separate patent for developing a machine that formed long threads of caramelized sugar that could be wound around a fork.
If the astonishment of one dentist inventing a cotton candy machine wasn't enough, consider that Joseph Lascaux, a Louisiana dentist, invented a similar machine in 1921 and was responsible for patenting the product under the cotton candy label. In 1949, Gold Medal Products of Cincinnati, Ohio introduced a cotton candy machine that featured a spring base, which significantly improved production of the confection. Today, the company still produces a majority of cotton candy machines on the market.
Up until the 1970s, cotton candy machine automation wasn't very common, so the lack of ability to produce it in mass quantities for wide distribution kept its production scale rather small. All of this changed in 1972 when the first automatic cotton candy machine was patented.
Today, cotton candy is not only produced quickly, but is also available in many different flavors that include banana, raspberry, vanilla, watermelon, and chocolate using both natural and artificial flavorings.
Consider Your Options
Whether you own a small business or your kids just happen to love the occasional treat of cotton candy at home, there are plenty of available machines to suit virtually any need. However, several factors should be taken into account.
Power, speed, and durability of the machine's motor and heating elements are all important, particularly if you plan to use the machine often with your small business or when planning a birthday party with a lot of kids. One must also be sure that the included bowl has a capacity large enough to accommodate several servings at a time.
Some cotton candy machines also include their own carts and built-in cash drawers, both of which come in handy when transporting the machine to different locations to sell your confections on the street or at fairs and events.
Additionally, having a mechanism that makes it easy to detach the cotton candy bowl is important for cleaning purposes. The ability to control and adjust the temperature is also a helpful feature for any cotton candy machine, as this helps to ensure that the mixture comes out just right.