Cotton candy has a bright and sweet flavor that never fails to cheer anybody up. It’s a sugary pick-me-up that instantly tickles your taste buds and even gives you an energy boost. But have you ever wondered what this flavor is, exactly?
We all know that cotton candy is made using sugar, with maybe some other flavoring mixed in there. But when it comes to the classic cotton candy flavoring, it’s much more than just sugar. It’s actually a mixture of artificial flavorings, namely ethyl maltol, strawberry furanone, and ethyl vanillin. Put together, these flavors make a profile called “pink vanilla,” which is what we associate with normal cotton candy—and the flavor you’ll get with Skinny Mixes’ Sugar Free Unicorn Syrup.
The History of Cotton Candy
Ironically, cotton candy was invented by a dentist named James Morrison in 1897, alongside his confectioner friend John C. Warton. The pair created an “electric candy machine” that they used to make “fairy floss.” Their invention was a hit, but their contraption had a lot of faults. When their patent lapsed years later, another dentist named Josef Lascaux attempted to recreate the machine in 1921. He was also unsuccessful, but he was able to change the name of the treat to “cotton candy.”
The cotton machine we know today stems from the first successful mechanism created by the American company Gold Medal Products in 1949.
How Is Cotton Candy Made?
Cotton candy is made by processing sugar in a machine. Fine granulated sugar is added to the machine’s extruder, where it melts into a hot liquid form of sugar. This liquid then spits out by the machine as long cottony strands.
Once an adequate amount of strands are formed, a cone-shaped stick is slowly moved around the machine’s collecting bowl, forming circles to gather the strands and create a big cloud. This is how the process goes in on-the-spot cotton candy making with a portable machine. When done in bulk, cotton candy also goes through cutting and packaging for easy distribution.
What Flavor Is Cotton Candy?
Regular cotton candy–the classic pink kind–is often associated with the flavor of pink vanilla. There are three key ingredients that go into making this distinct taste, often lumped together in cotton candy’s ingredients list as “artificial flavoring.”
Ethyl maltol is a synthetic flavor used as a flavor enhancer in various confections. It gives sweets a richer, fuller, and creamier taste, as well as a caramelized sugar and cooked fruit flavor. It’s the main ingredient in cotton candy flavor.
Strawberry furanone is a derivative of a compound called furan, which naturally occurs in strawberries. It’s sweet and fruity, and also tastes—and smells—a bit like burnt caramel.
Vanillin and Ethyl Vanillin
Vanillin and ethyl vanillin both produce the vanilla flavor. The former is natural and made from the extraction of vanilla beans; meanwhile, the latter is a synthetic version made in a lab.
Are All Cotton Candies the Same Flavor?
When you think of cotton candy, two images usually come to mind: pink cotton candy and blue cotton candy. Pink cotton candy is associated with the pink vanilla taste, while blue cotton candy is more similar to the blue raspberry flavor. Are blueberry and blue raspberry the same thing? They’re not–blue raspberry is an artificial flavor taken from a type of raspberry (that’s actually more purple than blue), then colored with blue dye to make it stand out.
Cotton candy can also come in various flavors, such as mint, bubblegum, marshmallow, etc. Nowadays, there are even gourmet cotton candies, such as bacon cotton candy.
Cotton Candy Flavor in Unicorn Syrup
Cotton candy is a versatile flavor that works in multiple uses—anything that would do well with a fruity and sugary taste. Skinny Mixes has incorporated it in its unique Sugar Free Unicorn Syrup, alongside the flavors of creamy frosting and blue raspberry.
How to Use Unicorn Syrup
Skinny Mixes’ Unicorn Syrup is a great addition to any beverage or baked good that would do better with a touch of sugary sweetness—without the actual sugar. The syrup is sugar-free, calorie-free, and carb-free, not to mention Kosher, gluten-free, and keto-friendly. You can use it in your favorite drinks, from flavored water to cocktails, as well as fun cakes and pastries.
Sugar Free Unicorn Syrup from Skinny Mixes
Skinny Mixes’ one-of-a-kind sugar-free syrup is great to have on hand when you need a quick pick-me-up (unicorn water is the answer!) or are looking for a way to dazzle up what you’re serving at a party. Buy it online with other Skinny Mixes’ syrups, sauces, or mix-ins, or find it in a local retailer near you!