Cotton candy brings up mixed emotions for me. I realize that is probably the stupidest sounding sentence ever, but it’s true.
On the one hand, I think cotton candy is genius. Here’s a crazy paper cone with a bunch of what amounts to a spider web spun out of pure sugar on it!
On the other hand, spider webs are gross and sticky when they get on you, and so is cotton candy. One of my biggest pet peeves is having sticky hands.
Cotton candy is often associated with the fair. I hate the fair. Oh sure, it’s supposed to be fun, but to me, it’s just a giant mash of sweaty bodies, hay, and sad livestock. Fuck the fair.
I once volunteered at a booth at my local street fair, which is a different beast, in that it had no beasts. Or hay. I was in charge of making cotton candy cones, which was awesome for the first ten minutes, and then my arms started to hurt and the screaming children and people drunk on German beer made me remember why I don’t volunteer for things.
But on the third hand, I’m pretty fuckin’ good at spinning cotton candy, which is something I should really add to my résumé. Minus the “fuckin’” part. Because that would be unprofessional.
Check out that carton, though. B&J really knows how to make their flavors look fun. Their signature cow is holding some cotton candy, which is pretty amazing given that it’s a cow. Despite a lack of facial expression, she looks like she’s having a great time. Even though I hate the fair, I want to hang out with her. We could ride that Ferris wheel. Maybe I could win her a goldfish in a plastic bag. I’m not sure what she’d do with it, but I know she’d be delighted.
As if cotton candy wasn’t a fun enough flavor, Ben & Jerry upped the ante with candy sprinkles! Check that, it’s not just Cotton Candy Ice Cream with Candy Sprinkles, it’s Cotton Candy Ice Cream loaded with Candy Sprinkles!
Who doesn’t like candy sprinkles? They make pretty much everything better. Donuts. Cupcakes. I’m well into adulthood and I still have to resist buying Funfetti frosting, just because I remember those little multicolored chips being so awesome.
Tiny Tangent Time: I went to look up Funfetti frosting, and it was not what I remembered. The current incarnation of Pillsbury’s Funfetti frosting just has a container of sprinkles on top. The Funfetti I remember had little mini-chips of candy in it, yet I couldn’t find Funfetti like that anywhere on the Internet. Not even an old picture.
What I did find, however, were cans of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip frosting, which just made me confused. The can was boring, and I distinctly remember the exciting look of Pillsbury’s Funfetti can as the can that contained the frosting I so loved.
I even went so far as to email my mom about this dilemma, since she was the one who made me oh-so-many graham cracker sandwiches containing what I thought was rainbow chip Funfetti frosting. Thank goodness my mom accepted my weirdness a long time ago; otherwise, an email with the subject line “Can You Help Me with Funfetti Frosting?” might raise some eyebrows.
I don’t know if it was a result of mutual hysteria, something my mother and I often share, but she completely agreed and was adamant that those little chips were Funfetti, and even agreed about the can design. But the Internet seems determined to prove us both wrong.
If you’ve managed to survive reading the last four paragraphs about frosting dilemmas, and can shed any light on this situation, please leave a comment! The Funfetti Question is now haunting me.
[Edit: If you read the comments section here, it seems like my mom and I are not alone in our memories. Credit my friend Andy for the link!]
Okay, seriously. Back to the ice cream.
Soooo, I should have deduced this from the carton, but I was too enamored with the opposable-hooved cow and the idea of riding the Ferris wheel with her that I kind of ignored what the ice cream actually looks like.
The carton’s color scheme is pretty accurate, but seeing it in person, it’s a little off-putting. The cotton candy ice cream is, well, cream-colored, and the candy sprinkles are what I would describe as light magenta and pale indigo. I understand that they needed the ice cream to contrast with the sprinkles, but a blue or pink base for the ice cream itself would have been fun. I also would have liked the sprinkles to be brighter. Also, they weren’t exactly loaded in there, but they weren’t sparse, either.
For being little more than spun sugar, cotton candy does have a distinctive flavor, and Ben & Jerry’s brings it to life in ice cream form, which is not surprising. They almost always nail their flavor, for better or worse.
In this case, I’d say it’s both. Have you ever gotten a tummy ache from eating too much sweet stuff at the fair? If you’ve ever been to the fair as a kid, the answer is probably yes.
That’s what B&J’s Cotton Candy Ice Cream is like. The first couple of bites are like, yeah, this totally tastes like cotton candy! But as I continued to eat, it became, yeah, this is like, when I’m almost done with a cone of cotton candy and I can feel a ball of concentrated sugar in my stomach. They nailed the flavor, but they did it too well. It’s so rich I could never imagine having a whole bowl of the stuff. (Although really, who eats B&J’s out of a bowl, anyways?)
But what about those loaded sprinkles? I’m sad to report that not only did they not add any extra flavor to the party, their texture was barely distinguishable from the ice cream itself. I would get a little hint of candy crunch on some bites, but for the most part it seems like they assimilated with the ice cream and lost all their crunchy powers, rendering them not much more than decorative dots.
So many things went right and wrong with Ben & Jerry’s Cotton Candy Ice Cream. They nailed the flavor, but it was too rich to really dig into. They had fun-colored sprinkles, but the base color was unappealing, and while the sprinkles looked like they should have crunched like Nerds, they just disappeared into the ice cream. The carton promised fun fair times with a cool cow, but instead I felt like sitting down on one of the dirty picnic benches and waiting for my stomach to recover.
I hate the fair.
Ben & Jerry’s Cotton Candy Ice Cream
- Score: 2.5 out of 5 opposable-hooved cows
- Price: $2.98
- Size: 1 pint
- Purchased at: Walmart #3799 (Walmart exclusive)
- Nutritional Quirks: At 23 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup, it’s definitely living up to cotton candy sugar standards!