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Cotton Candy Reaches Epidemic Status in NYC

The sweet stuff is in places it doesn’t belong

Sugar Factory’s rainbow doughnut Sugar Factory

Celeb-loving dessert palace Sugar Factory has opened an outpost on the Upper West Side called Artisanal Donuts and Coffee Bar, and with it comes a new chef and gonzo novelty foods like cotton candy-topped doughnuts.

Despite the name change, this new store at 1991 Broadway is a carbon copy, design- and menu-wise, of the chain’s other locations, with its massive sugary cocktails, American comfort food, and gimmicky desserts (see the tie dye milkshake for proof). But here, new corporate executive pastry chef Max Santiago has also added an entire doughnut menu, including cookie-stuffed, cannoli-filled, and even cotton candy-topped versions.

The cotton candy doughnut is indicative of a larger trend airily descending on New York City — the sweet stuff is floating onto dishes where it does not belong.

In recent dining history, Oddfellows spearheaded the trend with its cotton candy-surrounded ice cream, and lots of ice cream shops have followed suit, like with Wu Kong’s UFO-like version. But it’s also making its way onto cakes — Naoki tops a sesame cake with it — as well as pizza over in South Street Seaport’s Industry Kitchen, where it comes with a rainbow crust, cream cheese frosting, and pop rocks.

Candy floss cookie dough ice cream

A post shared by Beth Whitehead (@bethvwhitehead) on

Sesame cake hidden in a puff of cotton candy, with matcha to melt it. Thanks for the +1 @j_settembre !!

A post shared by Nicole Lyn Pesce (@pescenic) on

Blame Instagram, since cotton candy is a surefire share on the social media site. Though to be fair, the idea does have a deeper history in NYC. The now-closed Four Seasons Restaurant had been serving comically large pink portions as an off-menu item, and it was oft requested. So far the dish hasn’t shown up at The Grill remake of the space, but with The Pool about to open, all bets are off.

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