Cotton candy, fairy floss, dragon’s beard, wool candy, and the less attractive sounding hair candy are all essentially the same thing: sugar broken down to fine, thin strands. I, like most people, don’t have the luxury of an at home cotton candy machine (SOME DAY! #GOALS), so when I teamed up with the adorable Cloe Lane of Bon Puf, she suggested we pull our own cotton candy. Side note: Bon Puf is an amazing organic cotton candy company that Cloe created and runs all while finishing up college. Her flavors are insane – mango with chili, horchata, delicate rose petal – and are the most amazing addition to any event. I basically camped out next to her at my cousin’s baby shower and tried every flavor she spun, twice. The cotton candy is only 40 calories per cone, so I tricked myself into believing that cotton candy was a crucial pillar in my diet plan.
What I love about this traditional “dragon’s beard” candy is that it’s not too sweet, and the perfect task for two people, making it a bit social. In the Middle East, it’s stuffed with honey, spices, and nuts, so we took our cue from that flavor profile for our dessert today. The trick is in applying even pressure as you pull, so you don’t break down strands as you go. The goal is to create long ropes that continually get thinner. It’s so delicious, and yes, it’s a lot of rosewater, but it’s surprisingly subtle.
For 1 dozen mini bundles of pulled cotton candy
2 cups sugar
1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon rosewater
cornstarch for working the candy
1 drop food coloring (optional)
Combine everything in a pan, and over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil. Wait for it to reach 268F, then take off heat. Allow the candy to cool to 212 degrees in the pan, and pour into a lightly greased plastic container (a round one is best). Once the candy mixture is room temperature, pull it out of the container (we used a butter knife to help pry it).
Generously coat a baking sheet with cornstarch and roll the candy in the cornstarch and rub off the excess. With your thumbs and forefingers, burrow a hole into the center of the candy. Using gentle pressure, enlarge the circle. Keep the candy a uniform thickness around the rope. When the rope becomes long, twist it into a figure eight and bring the two halves together. Stretch it to double in length, then turn into a figure eight again. Repeat this process until you create super super thin strands.
To finish, gather up little bushels of the strands, drizzle with honey and top with pistachios.