Frightening Jagged Glass Threads

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d. Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time! Round about the caldron go;  In the poison’d entrails throw.—  Toad, that under cold tone, Days and nights has thirty-one; Swelter’d venom sleeping got, Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot! 

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. 

Fillet of a fenny snake, In the caldron boil and bake; Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,— For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.  

Double, double toil and trouble;  Fire burn, and caldron bubble. 

Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf; Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark; Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark; Liver of blaspheming Jew; Gall of goat, and slips of yew Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse; Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips; Finger of birth-strangled babe Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,— Make the gruel thick and slab: Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron, For the ingrediants of our caldron.  

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. Cool it with a baboon’s blood, Then the charm is firm and good.

From Macbeth

It’s Halloween week! I’ve got some spooky treats lined up for you all as perfect additions to your scary celebrations. This will be a series of three (yep three!) recipes—two sweets and one drink—to round out that frightening table of yummy haunts. I’ll reveal the snacks one by one, so follow along each day (Tues-Thurs). Well let’s jump to it then! Or should I say, let’s soar through the air on a broom to it! Nope that doesn’t sound quite right… Okay I’ll stick to the recipes.

Today we’ve got frightening jagged glass threads to tantalize your Halloween guests with. Aka easy homemade cotton candy! When you make cotton candy at home without a machine, it’s harder to get the threads super small giving more of a glassy look and crunchier texture—as if you were chewing on threads of glass. Preeeetty freaky!

All you need is cooked sugar, and you’ve got yourself a fun, handheld, party centerpiece. Not to mention super spooky! Let the Halloween festivities commence!

One of the really cool things about cooked sugar is that it’s got a texture very similar to glass. Before you cook sugar with water, it’s a crystal—an ordered network. Think sugar cubes. Crystalline materials melt, but glassy materials simply transition between hard, brittle materials and soft, rubbery materials. That’s called a glass transition. The sugar becomes glassy when it’s essentially too difficult for the sugar molecules to move and line up in an ordered crystalline manner—aka when enough of the water boils out that the sugar becomes super concentrated.

Two things cause a glassy material to switch back and forth between its soft and brittle state. Heat and water. You experience the effects of heat when you cool a boiling sugar solution down—it becomes hard. As for water, you can actually observe this in cotton candy quite easily. When you take a bite of freshly-spun cotton candy, you see drops of moisture around your bite in the cotton candy. That’s the glass transition! This same effect happens if you let your cotton candy sit out for a couple of hours. The moisture in the air will be enough to turn those glassy threads rubbery, and then liquid-y!

I suggest you don’t prep this too long before your party, otherwise the cotton candy will turn droopy and you’ll have drops of sticky sugar all over.

The title of this recipe is meant to be spooky and Halloween-y but it’s also true. You are cooking this sugar to the hard-crack stage—almost all of the water is evaporated, so the sugar gets really hard. And there will be very sharp edges. Be careful not to cut yourself or burn yourself!

Ready to make these Frightening Jagged Glass Threads? Oh yeah these treats will be the best and most horrifying things yet for your Halloween bash!

And don’t forget to follow along with all of the recipes from this Halloween series!

See Tuesday’s Witches Brew Orange Rum Cocktail

See Thursday’s Ghostly Glowing Haunted Cupcakes

Frightening Jagged Glass Threads

Adapted from Alton Brown

Makes 3-4 Cotton Candies

2 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon water

⅔ cups corn syrup

Black gel food coloring

First let’s prep! You will need a decapitated whisk. Take a wire cutter and cut off the ends of a whisk you don’t care about.

Then you need to set up a station for your cotton candy “whisking”. Get two long utensils, such as wooden spoons, paint sticks, or dowels. Use something heavy to weigh them down letting at least 5-6 inches hang out over the edge of your counter with 11-12 inches between them. Put newspaper, plastic, or magazine pages below this on the ground.

Make some paper cones with tape, rolling from one corner to another the long way. If you want shorter cones like I used here, cut about 2 inches of paper off from the long end of a sheet of printer paper.

Put some shoes on (seriously, otherwise you’ll burn your feet), and let’s get started! Ignore my lack of shoes…I regretted it later.

1. Combine all of the ingredients except the food coloring into a medium saucepan. Heat over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved with a heat resistant spatula. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 300⁰F. This will take some time.

2. Meanwhile prepare a heat-safe glass bowl by putting a few drops of black gel food coloring into the bottom.

3. When the sugar reaches 300⁰F, very quickly pour it into the glass bowl and stir to combine. Dip your decapitated whisk into the mixture and sprinkle across your wooden supports forming threads out of the sugar. When you have a pile of threads big enough for one cotton candy, take the strands and form them around one paper cone.

4. Continue until your sugar becomes too hard to sprinkle. You will not be able to use all of the sugar syrup before it solidifies.


Enjoy these ghastly, terrifying, frightening, jagged, glass threads! I know your guests will.



  1. Judy
    October 28

    This is absolutely amazing… the pictures

    • Kelsey
      October 28

      Thanks Judy! 😉 xoxo

    • Kelsey
      October 28

      Thanks Kathryn! It’s so fun too :)

  2. This is so cool! You’re a genius. Now I know why you were so busy the day of the pumpkin party. 😉

    • Kelsey
      October 29

      :) Thanks Sara! Yes it was a busy day…

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