Do try this at home, but don’t burn your house down!

This turned out to be one of the more dangerous machines I’ve ever built.  The goal was to make a cotton candy machine out of parts I had lying around.  The finished product was an aggressive, 1/2 horsepower, 4000°F beast of a machine that lasted long enough to prove itself before dying of awesomeness. 

If you want to build a cotton candy machine at home, all you need is:

  • A tin can, like a tuna or dog food can
  • A drill with a very small drill bit
  • A motor (ex, your drill, an old CD player, a blender)
  • A heat source, such as a propane torch, a lighter, or the coils from an old toaster
  • A bucket to catch the cotton candy, or alternately a sheet of paper to wrap around the assembly
  • Sugar

Follow the steps in the video to see just how easy this machine is to build.  Oh, and don’t forget… safety first.  My favorite part of this project was setting up a blast shield in front of the camera before we turned on the machine.

cotton candy build
Special thanks to Victor (@sphing) for filming!

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If you haven’t noticed, flavored salts are becoming wildly popular.  On a recent trip to Whole Foods, I spotted an aisle-end display with no fewer than a dozen varieties: some infused with spices, some mined or harvested from exotic locales, and some smoked.  Smoked salts – salts that have taken on the flavor of a particular burnt wood – are an excellent way to add a deep, campfire flavor to dishes.  I use them all the time in dry rubs, and as a substitute for the flavor you get from actually cooking over wood.  In this video I’m using hickory chips, but another popular option is to flavor your salt with by smoking the wood from old wine barrels.  Needless to say, you’ll save a ton of cash on specialty salts, which, of course, you’ll need to import all those ancient wine barrels from Bordeaux!

Salish Smoked Salt on Foodista

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It’s been a little while since I checked in, but I thought I’d give a quick update.  I’m hard at work getting production versions of my sous vide heating immersion circulators ready for sale.  The picture above is of my current prototype, based largely off of the DIY design I published a few months ago.  As you can see, I’ve got a custom-made heating coil and a slightly prettier enclosure.  The controller I’ve selected is also far more user-friendly, and I’ve upgraded other components after months of intense testing (and a handful of literal meltdowns). 

Anyhow, I’m still working as hard as I can to bring you all a sub-$200 sous vide heating immersion circulator accurate to .1C!  If you’d like to be on the email list when the first units are ready for sale, please leave a comment below.

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