Introduction: Hand-Pulled Chocolate Cotton Candy

While hand-pulled cotton candy floss is fairly ubiquitous in certain regions of the world, I have not found a single variation nor recipe that uses chocolate in the actual candy. Hand-pulled "chocolate" cotton candy is typically just dusted with a mixture of cocoa and starch.

For this chocolate contest, I pulled up my sleeves to pull my very own DOUBLE CHOCOLATE cotton candy. Meaning, the candy itself is made with cocoa, then further dusted with more cocoa and nutty toasted flour while being pulled. Cotton candy cannot get more chocolatey than this!

Not only is this double chocolate cotton candy, it is also BROWN SUGAR cotton candy. Brown sugar is an ingredient I wanted to use for its softer texture and deeper flavor.

I was worried that my variation was too far a stretch for hand-pulled cotton candy, however, the results were absolutely gratifying. The overall flavor is richly chocolate with intense caramel notes and the texture provides a lovely chew, thanks to the combination of cocoa and dark brown sugar -- think chocolatey, chewy, fudgy BROWNIE in candy floss form!



1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, do not pack

2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used dutch process for a richer color)

1/4 tsp cream of tartar or white vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp corn syrup


1 tbsp butter

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder


Candy or food thermometer

Round plastic container


Cotton candy is essentially made from sugar syrup that reaches the soft crack stage (270F), then cooled to set. It is this soft crack stage that allows the set sugar to be malleable to pull into very fine threads.

1. Add dry ingredients (sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, cream of tartar) to a sauce pan and stir together until fully combined.

2. Add water and corn syrup and stir until combined.

3. Turn heat to medium and bring mixture to a heavy boil. DO NOT STIR.

4. Without stirring, closely monitor and allow the syrup to reach 268F, then remove from heat. There will be enough residual heat in the syrup and pan to reach above 270F, which is the soft crack stage.

5. Allow syrup to cool to about 200F then pour into a lightly greased round plastic container.

6. Let cool to touch, at room temperature (about 1 hour).


Some cultures use corn starch while others use toasted flour to dust the cotton candy while pulling. I prefer the method of dusting using buttered toasted flour. The toasting of the flour provides a nutty richness to the cotton candy. Of course, cocoa is added to the flour. It is this combination of buttery toasted flour and cocoa that adds a further brownie flavor to the cotton candy.

This step can be prepared while the syrup is boiling.

1. In a wide pan over medium heat, melt butter.

2. Add flour and stir continuously to prevent burning.

3. When the flour reaches a beautiful beige hue (think oatmeal color), remove from heat and transfer the toasted flour in a bowl to quicken the cooling time.

4. Once the toasted flour is cool to touch, add cocoa powder.

5. Stir thoroughly until combined.


Once the chocolate sugar syrup is cooled to touch, remove from the plastic container. Since the container is lightly greased, the candy will easily pop off into a disc.

1. Generously dust your work surface with the chocolate dusting powder. Coat the disc generously.

2. Using your thumbs, gently push a hole through the center of the disc to create a donut shape.

3. You will notice the candy is very pliable. Gently pull and stretch the donut shape into a large ring, while ensuring even thickness.

4. Stretch out the ring to about 14" in diameter.


1. Twist the ring into a figure 8.

2. Bring the two halves of the 8 together to now make two rings beside each other.

3. Gently pull and stretch until the rings are large, about 14" in diameter.


The cotton candy floss is made by repeatedly making rings and figure 8's. For each twist, you are doubling the number of rings. Essentially, this step is exponentially increasing the ring count.

Stretch the rings, twist into a figure 8, bring halves together into rings, and stretch again multiple times to create countless threads of candy floss. Don't forget to keep adding chocolate powder to dust the rings and prevent from sticking.

Step 6: Fine Floss

I didn't count how many times I twisted the rings, I just continued with twisting and stretching until I got the desired thickness of candy floss -- and that is very, very fine floss.

Step 7: Eat This Sweet

Whether you want to use your hands or a fork, enjoy this sweet moment with your very own hand-pulled chocolate cotton candy floss.

Serve immediately for a wonderful brownie-like chew or let it rest for a day to experience melt-in-the-mouth shortbread-like crumble in the form of candy floss.

Chocolate Challenge

Grand Prize in the
Chocolate Challenge