Who doesn’t love the sugary deliciousness of cotton candies in fairs or at house parties? But if you are seriously intolerant to gluten, do you think it is safe to consume it? Is cotton candy gluten free?
Cotton candies contain naturally gluten free ingredients. But there are chances of cross-contamination if the facilities for manufacturing, processing, and storage of the product or its ingredients are not clean. So cotton candy may have gluten content.
However, it is not enough to know whether cotton candies are gluten free or not, as they are loaded with sugar that can seriously increase your daily calorie intake. So, here we will talk about all the critical aspects you should know before consuming it. So, read on!
Table of Contents
Is Cotton Candy Gluten free?
Cotton candies are basically made with just three ingredients: refined sugar, colors, and flavoring agents. Refined sugars are naturally gluten free. Besides, all the colors and flavoring agents are also supposed to be gluten free. Cotton candy is naturally gluten free, depending on the ingredients. Otherwise, there is always a chance of cross-contamination.
The same goes for refined sugar, where you need to check if the sugar is processed and stored in a gluten free facility. However, several companies first make sugar floss from refined sugar and then spin those into cotton candies. So, you must also find out whether the overall sugar floss manufacturing unit and spinning unit are entirely gluten free or not.
Basically, the key ingredient used to make cotton candies is gluten free in nature. However, there is always a chance of cross-contamination if they are not entirely manufactured, processed, and stored in gluten free facilities. So, if you really want to know, “is cotton candy gluten free”, it perhaps is – if the units used for the product and the ingredients are gluten free.
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What is Cotton Candy?
Cotton candy is a sweet delicacy that is extremely popular all over the globe. However, it has different names in different countries. But yes, everyone enjoys this sweet overload due to its sugary taste and the light and cloud-like shape and texture. This sugary delight is mainly served on either sticks or cones. And you can find cotton candies at every fair and expo.
Although all the cotton candies are made with refined sugar, colors, and flavoring agents, different manufacturers use different additives to give them a distinct look and taste. However, there are such cotton candies available that don’t even use any colors or flavoring agents at all, mainly to maintain the natural taste of sugar floss.
Cotton candies are usually made in automated machines, where refined liquified sugar spins through tiny holes. The machine rotates at high RPM to create enough centrifugal force to make the liquified sugar into thin strands of sugar floss. And once it cools down and makes a web-like consistency, it is then served on a stick or a cone.
Cotton Candy Nutritional Facts
You now have the answer to “is cotton candy gluten free?”. But you also need to check its nutritional values. It is essential as cotton candies are entirely made of sugar, and consuming too much of it can disturb your daily calorie intake.
A single serving of cotton candy has an approximate weight of 40 grams, and it has nearly 150 calories in it. And the detailed nutritional values are as follows.
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Note: The percentage of daily values mentioned in the table is purely based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet plan. However, your daily value can change depending on your calorie needs and consumption.
Is Cotton Candy Vegan?
As we have already said, cotton candies are made entirely of sugar. And refined sugar can be derived primarily from two sources: beet and cane. Most beet-derived sugars are made of pure vegan additives. Besides, this sugar is primarily made in vegan-friendly facilities without any chance of cross-contamination.
Things get a little fuzzy when it comes to cane sugar. The process of making cane sugar often incorporates bone char (typically derived from cattle bones by heating them until bones deformed into completely black grains) to increase the crystallization efficiency. Bone char also gives refined sugar its iconic crystal-white color.
There are two types of flavorings typically used to make cotton candies: natural and synthetic. Most natural flavoring agents are derived from plants, making them completely vegan. However, some flavors are also derived from animal byproducts, such as honey and castoreum.
On the other hand, synthetic flavors often go through animal testing, although they are not derived from animals. So, in both cases, cotton candies may not always be vegan.
Cotton Candy Health Effects: Is Cotton Candy Bad for You?
There is no doubt that the gluten content in cotton candy is genuinely a concern for celiac and gluten-intolerant people. However, you also need to emphasize the health effects to know if cotton candies are safe to consume or not. Besides, it is necessary to understand the caloric value of this sweet delicacy to maintain your sugar intake level.
Cotton candies are basically granulated sugar that is heated to a certain degree to break the chemical bond. And when the bond breaks, the sugar crystals are split into raw sugar, glucose, and fructose. A typical serving of cotton candy delivers around 30 grams of sugar, 9 grams less than a can of Pepsi.
While cotton candies don’t have any fat, sodium, or preservatives, a single serving of this sugary goodness can load you with 115 calories. So, consuming that many calories in a single shot, that too, each day, can heavily increase your calorie intake, and hence, your weight.
Besides, the bacteria that live in your mouth chomps off the sugar at a rapid pace, thus resulting in teeth damage in no time. Too much sugar can also attract other health issues, such as kidney problems.
Gluten Free Cotton Candy Brands
Although not every brand is officially certified as gluten free, a few do exist. And here are the five such cotton candy brands that are certified gluten free, and you can try those with complete confidence.
Fun Sweets’Sweets’ Cotton Candy: This brand is not only gluten free but also allergen- and peanut-free. This non-GMO cotton candy has 110 calories in a single serving. Besides, it has just 28 grams of carbohydrate in it.
Just Snackin’Snackin’ Cotton Candy: Available in both pink and blue colors; this one is gluten, peanut, and fat-free. It has just 56.1 grams of carbohydrate and 220 calories in it. And this comes in a large tub that is ideal for party fun.
Swirlz Taste of Nature: Besides being a gluten free product, this one is kosher and completely sodium- and cholesterol-free. It has 110 calories with just 28 grams of carbohydrate in a single serving.
Charms Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy: Although it is a certified gluten free and nut-free product, this one uses a bioengineered ingredient made from US crops to enhance the taste. A single serving of it has 270 calories and 71 grams of carbohydrates.
Unicornucopia Unicorn Barf: Available in six distinct flavors; this one is officially free from gluten, soy, and dairy. It has just 114 calories and 28 grams of carbohydrate in a single serving.
How to Make Gluten Free Cotton Candy at Home without a Machine?
If you are concerned about the gluten and animal-derived ingredients in ready-to-eat cotton candies, it is better to make this sugary delicacy at home. And you can be extra-sure about all the contents used to make it. Besides, you can use refined beet sugar instead of cane sugar if you are not comfortable with the bone char.
- Refined sugar (beet or cane): 800 g
- Corn syrup (unflavored): 240 ml
- Water: 240 ml
- Table salt: ¼ teaspoon
- Fruit extract (for flavor): 1 tsp
- Food coloring agent: 2 drops
- Cardboard paper towel tubes: 8 pieces
- Use a damp pastry brush to wipe your pan so that no stray sugar crystals can form during the process.
- Take a large and thick-bottom saucepan and put it over medium heat.
- Put sugar, corn syrup, and water, and stir until those are completely melted and mixed.
- Stop stirring when the mix reaches 320 F temperature. You can use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.
- Pour the mix into a heatproof shallow container and mix the flavoring agents and color.
- Take 8 cardboard paper towel tubes and cover those with parchment.
- Dip a whisk into the mix and hold it 12 inches (30 cm) above the parchment.
- Now, swing the whisk like a pendulum (back and forth) and let thin strands of the mix fall on the parchment.
- Repeat this process until you have a nest of cotton candy.
- Spin the sugar nest on a wooden stick or serve it on a cone.
It is better to use the raspberry extract as the flavoring agent and baby pink as the food color. Using these two will help you get the classic appearance and taste of cotton candies.
Q. Is Cotton Candy Kosher?
Although the ingredients are completely meat- and dairy-free, thus making it kosher, some manufacturers may use animal testing for their artificial colorings and flavoring agents, which is unpermitted according to kosher. So, until a cotton candy is officially certified as kosher, perhaps it is not so at all.
Q. Is Cotton Candy allergy-free?
Most cotton candies are completely nut- and allergen-free, making them an allergy-free product. However, you need to be extra sure about the artificial flavorings and colors by reading the labels. Besides, you should also be cautious about cross-contamination chances.
Q. How to make cotton candy sugar?
Making cotton candy sugar is pretty easy. All you need is to heat a thick-bottom saucepan on medium flame, pour sugar and water, and then stir the mix until it completely melts. You can also add natural flavors and coloring agents to give it a tasty twist.
Q. What are cotton candy grapes?
Cotton candy grapes are a variant of grape that resembles the taste of cotton candies. This particular variant of grape is developed by horticulturist David Cain. It is loaded with antioxidants and minerals that help fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and boost your brain function.
Cotton candies are great to enjoy, especially with your friends at a fair. And all the cotton candies are made of naturally gluten free ingredients. However, is cotton candy gluten free? If you are seriously intolerant to gluten, you should reconsider consuming it.
There is always a chance of cross-contamination if all the ingredients are not processed in gluten free facilities. Cotton candies use some additives that may have gluten ingredients in them. So, if you want to know if cotton candy is gluten free or not, perhaps it is not!