How To Make Cotton Candy By Hand, Using an Ancient Chinese Method

– And that, ladies and gents, is 16,000 strands of hand-pulled cotton candy. (funky techno music) We’re gonna make cotton candy using the hand-pulled noodle technique, also known as Dragon’s Beard. Started in ancient China, and it’s just this pulling technique that they do with noodles, but you would do it with sugar. We got about a thousand grams of sugar here and we’re gonna do a hundred grams of corn syrup. We’re gonna be adding corn syrup to it and a little bit of vinegar

. What that does is we’re gonna invert the sugar. You can just buy inverted sugar, this is the long way to do it, which is no surprise for this show. Inverting the sugar reduces the chance of crystals forming. Crystals are gonna be your worst enemy during this because crystals make sugar flaky. We want it smooth so we can pull it. We have two cups of water. So that’s about five drops of food dye. Now, here’s the very, very, very, very, very, very important part. The reason why I’m dying the water and I’m not stirring the food coloring to this is because once this gets going you do not want to stir it. Why? Stirring it will create the crystals.

We’re looking for very smooth, very workable sugar that’s still hard. And that’s why we’re doing an inverted technique on the top. So whatever you do, don’t stir it. Dump your ingredients in, the sugar and our blue water, just like so. A little bit of vinegar, one teaspoon. We’re gonna take this to 271 degrees, that’s right below where we get to what’s called the soft crack. You can see it right here, there’s soft crack and hard crack, firm ball down here. What we want to do is we want to take it to around 269, 268 and then cut it off because it will have a natural carryover on temperature of a couple degrees. Temperature is on, don’t touch it.

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We want the cooking time to be anywhere between 20 and 25 minutes, we’ll just leave it be. ‘Cause as soon as you start working it, as soon as you start stirring it you’re introducing air, you’re introducing agitation, and that is gonna be crystal city. We’re at about the 220 mark right now, so at this moment this is gonna stall. As a lot of the water evaporates out then we get to a point where the sugar starts taking over more and then the temperature will start to go back up. So, we’re just past that 220 mark. There’s gonna be little sugar crystals that are gonna form on the outside. All you want to do then is just take a damp brush and then just wipe them off. So, we’re at 252 right now, we’re about 16 degrees away from pulling it. Seven, eight. Kill it.

I’m just gonna slide this ever so gently off the heat. So those air bubbles are gonna work their way to the top, what you’re gonna have is like a very beautifully crystal clear syrup. We’re gonna pour these into our containers. So we’re gonna set these aside and let them fully cool. They’ve set, okay? If it’s a little too hard and it’s not malleable, you can pop it into the microwave for ten seconds. About nine but… Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s workable. Should be able to just pop this puck out.

I’m gonna start working this. Now, what we need to do is make sure it doesn’t stick. So to use that we’re using corn starch. This is where kind of the hand-pulled noodle technique comes in. We’re gonna basically make a donut. Now some people may be a little bit smarter than me, you use donut rings to do the sugar in. So very smart, but this is the way I learned how to do it, so (mumbles) So we have a donut now, so I’m gonna start to extend this a little bit. We want to keep the ring the same size all the way around. See how it’s starting to increase in size here? This first bit is like the hurdle, like this is where kind of your hands are gonna need the most strength.

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Once you get to around this, which is maybe 18 inches. So I’m gonna take this, I’m gonna dip it in and I’m gonna do the figure-eight technique, right? Figure eight, just like so, then I’m gonna bring it together. Then we have two noodles, right? So this point we’re gonna start doing this overhand method that my man Dave Arnold taught me, where you’re slowly working it out. So each time we do the fold we’re increasing the noodle size times two. Ready? Figure eight. Over. Now we’re in four. So, four. We’re gonna flip it again, figure eight, together, eight. So you notice how I’m just keeping the bottom just running through the corn starch here? 16, ready, boom. 32. 32, boom, 64. This is basically noodles ready to go. A few turns, hand-pulled noodles done. We’re gonna keep going until it is like long, beautiful strands of hair. 64. Take this up. 128. Now if you notice you’re losing a couple strands here and there, don’t worry, just keep going. Flip, figure eight, 256. (mid-tempo music) 256. 512. 512.

Now we have 1,024. I’m being very gentle as these are getting thinner and thinner. I’m not trying to muscle it. I’m listening to the sugar telling me how much it can stretch. Ready? 4,096. (techno music) 8,000 strands. We’re at 8,000 strands right now. Ready for the grand finale? 16,000. This is 16,000 strands of hand-pulled cotton candy. And if you don’t believe, look at that, as it comes down. 16,000 strands made out of one puck of sugar. (techno music) If you like using super high-tech equipment, or using ancient Chinese techniques, click below. What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna get salt inside the French fry. Why do you want to get salt inside the French fry? Because as you know, salt draws out moisture, so when you throw salt on French fries…

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