Make Your Own Hand-Pulled Cotton Candy
When I set out to make this recipe, I had grand ideas about giving it away as Valentine's Day gifts. Now that I've gone through the process, I've changed my tune a little bit: make this recipe for Valentine's Day, but invite your loved ones to help you make it - because making it, in my opinion, was much more pleasurable than eating it.
Pulled cotton candy is another one of those things I didn't even know, and still wouldn't know, existed if it weren't for Pinterest. But it turns out hand pulled cotton candy is well known throughout the world, perhaps best recognized in its Chinese incarnation as "dragon's beard" candy.
If you've ever made candy you know that it's a finicky process. Just a few degrees make a huge difference. A difference between success and total failure. You must watch your solution closely while resisting the temptation to stir.
My first attempt at this was a total failure. I turned my back for a second, ok maybe a few seconds, and in that time the temperature went up by about ten degrees past the desired point. Then I let it cool way past the cooling point, which made it so rock hard it couldn't even be poured. I attempted to reheat it and salvage it, but it was too late... You think by now I'd have learned to pay attention. Luckily I halved the recipe and didn't waste a ton.
The amazing thing about this recipe, when you get it right, is witnessing the alchemy of turning a boiling solution of water, sugar and vinegar into a solid, which then gets manipulated into a soft, fluffy batch of stringy candy.