Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Ooo, what’s that? Turkish Cotton Candy.

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Ooo, what’s that?  Turkish Cotton Candy., Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

There’s a great Middle Eastern market I frequent here in Winter Park called Abu Maher International Grocery (6148 Hanging Moss Road). It’s sort of tucked away on this no man’s land of a road that leads to a warehouse district. Zero visibility from the road, but I came upon it making an illegal U-Turn one day. They’ve got a great selection of imported spices & teas, canned & jarred ingredients and trinkets & treats…all kinds of cheeses, giant vats of olives and the freshest, softest, biggest pitas I’ve been able to find.

It’s a little place, but I can spend an hour in there walking the aisles and asking questions about every other thing I pick up. The other day I spotted some packages of what looked like the most delicate cashmire yarn sitting among some other candies and dessert items. Beautiful…but edible?


Yes, Turkish cotton candy, or pismantye, is both. Pismantye is combination of flour, butter, sugar and often pistachio or cocoa that’s pulled or spun into threads. It’s light and fluffy with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, rather than sugary, fruity and artificial one.


I feel like it’s what cotton candy was intended to be before someone decided it should turn your tongue blue. Seriously, heavenly. Like strands of cookie that melt in your mouth.

And by total coincidence, I came across this video on cookingissues.com that shows how the traditional hand-pulled version made. Really cool. You can totally do it at home!


  1. Posted January 3, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I have never seen this before. It’s amazing how different this is the one that my daughter always wants at the local fairs.

  2. Hanima
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    I have had this cotton candy! A family friend is from Turkey and we get Turkich coffee, cookies for the baby, real Turkish Delight, and dried chick peas covered in sugar (called Lib-Lib) a few times each year. So yummy!

  3. Posted January 3, 2011 at 9:14 PM | Permalink


  4. Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

    It almost looks too pretty to eat!

  5. arpita
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 4:46 AM | Permalink

    This is called soan papadi or Buddi ka baal(old womans hair!) in India. it is made with flour, sugar, ghee and nuts and tastes quite yummy( unlike the coloured and artificial cotton candy) also, it keeps for a very long time, with teh shape intact too.. making it is a real skill.. one normally does not attempt it at home, but get it from speciality patisseries called “mithai”(sweet in hindi) shops or Halwais ( traditional sweet makers, who have been practising the skill for generations)

  6. Geneviève
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    I remember having this in Thailand as well! Totally looked like string, but this stuff tastes amazing…

  7. Posted January 4, 2011 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    So cool! I’ve heard of Dragon’s Beard, but only in passing. I wish we would’ve tried making this in culinary school! Looks like I’ve got my project for this month.

  8. Posted January 5, 2011 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

    Oh, wow. This looks amazing. I have never seen Turkish cotton candy! i’ll have to go explore the Middle eastern store in my neighborhood. I want some!

  9. Posted January 5, 2011 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

    Wow, that looks incredible!!!

  10. Posted January 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    In Hong Kong you can often find street vendors selling Dragon’s Beard candy, starting from a single lump of sugar dough and stretching it out to thousands of little strands, like making hand-pulled noodles. The Dragon’s Beard in Hong Kong is much stringier than the Turkish ones, judging by your photos. I didn’t realize it was also popular in (or originated from?) the Middle East.

  11. beth
    Posted January 6, 2011 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    totally mesmerizing!!

  12. gabi
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    Hi Diana! Wow, hand pulled dragon beard on the street – that sounds like a beautiful sight to see. I’m not sure pismantye originated in Turkey, though apparently there are rererences of it as far back as the 1400s.

  13. Posted January 8, 2011 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

    we have a similar thing in Indonesia, called “arbanat”, the seller peddles it around while playing a violin, seriously.
    but it’s hard to find one nowadays.

  14. Posted January 8, 2011 at 4:52 AM | Permalink

    did u like it?very difficult to do at home…actually i should to send a Turkish gift:)

  15. Posted January 10, 2011 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    I want someone to knit me a blanket from this so that I can wrap myself up in it and munch on it while it snows.

  16. gabi
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    That’s adorable, Jen!

  17. Posted January 12, 2011 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    I’m beyond intrigued!

  18. Posted February 1, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    aww… I grew up with this stuff in Iran. It was so much fun. It used to come in cool tins that were jam-packed with the candy and we would pull it out and fluff it and sprinkle crushed pistachio on it… nostalgia…

  19. Posted February 13, 2011 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Oh my! I remember trying this when I was a kid and I thought it was the most delish thing ever. Thank you for reminding me about it, I will look for it in Turkish supermarkets when I’m back in Toronto.

    BTW, I love, love, love your blog. I’m a new subbie , please keep up the awesome work! :)

  20. Posted March 2, 2011 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    that looks so much more appealing than the pink and blue cloud-like stuff. MMM

  21. Posted March 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    I love TR pismaniye..Hope it was fresh! It should melt away easily on the top of your toung or your mouths roof top! Delicious! Great Blog!

  22. charlis
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    ohhh wowwwww, chef I ve been looking for this recipe for a while I love this, I am originally from syria and there we have a different one, the cotton candy ends up shiny don’t know why maybe is the flower they use , but this one I love it too.
    This is going to be my wedding dessert, well one many. Thank you again for posting this.

  23. Tammy
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    I just had this for the first time yesterday and it was amazing! Very intriguing flavor and texture. Thanks for the great video.

  24. Posted May 29, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    It’s really impressive watching the traditional making of this sweet. A group of men will sit down and stretch it in circles rhythmically -there’s a few vids of this on youtube.

  25. Posted June 11, 2011 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    This reminds me alot of the chinese’s ‘Dragon Beard’ Candy with crushed peanuts & sugar inside :) WOuld love to try this one day!

  26. Posted July 28, 2011 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Ooh, haven’t had that since I was in Australia. Love your website, it is beautiful!

  27. Posted September 10, 2011 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    Turkish cotton candy , is so sweety!

  28. Donna Young
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 12:40 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this—it is so fascinating! I can’t wait to find the pismaniye to try it. It is my new mission! ;)

  29. Renan
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

    Pişmanye (without “T”) is originally Turkish and comes from a city called Izmit.

  30. Zeynep
    Posted March 12, 2012 at 3:41 AM | Permalink

    Hi everyone . As it says on the package, it is originally Turkish. and it means something like regret. Which brings us to the saying. If u don’t eat it, u will regret it;) and turkish word ‘tel’ means string in English .

  31. Posted October 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    I miss my childhood days! Cotton candies are the best and I was amazed by this turkish cotton candy.

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