Sunday, April 22, 2018

T is for Taffy

For "T" I wanted to make tiny tacos. How cute and delicious would that be?! I was immediately shot down by my husband and the Med School student, the latter of whom asked for taffy, because he didn't get any earlier in the day when we went to Silver Dollar City (an 1880s theme park near us). 

My great aunt used to make taffy for us when I was young. I remember her pouring it into a white, oval platter that had been buttered, and when it was cool enough to handle, we would pull it. Well, we would pull it for a little while. She usually finished the job, and she could pull it until it was light and a little airy and laid in ribbons without puddling.

I've never made taffy myself. Toffee, yes, taffy, no.  But I found a pin....

The ingredients are pretty simple: light corn syrup, sugar, butter, water, salt. This recipe also had a little cornstarch in it, and I can't say I remember my great aunt using it in hers, but whatever. 

The instructions said to bring the mixture to a boil and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reached 256 degrees Fahrenheit (also known as hard ball) on a candy thermometer.

I think that, not unlike with the Stovetop Chocolate Cake project, the stove at the lake house is a little off, because it took 52 minutes for the mixture to reach hard ball. 52 minutes. 52. Minutes. That's a hella lot of stirring constantly. Once it FINALLY reached hard ball, I added two teaspoons of vanilla (I bought some after i didn't have any for the Stovetop Chocolate Cake) and a few drops of red food coloring, so my son could see the color change when the taffy was pulled. This turned out to be an unfortunate choice of colors, as you will see in a moment.

The drops of red food coloring, mixed with
the brown of the vanilla, made for a
not-very appealing color of pink.

I had a barrage of "Is it ready to pull?" comments, which I ignored, since the one who made the comments convinced me to turn the Stovetop Chocolate Cake out of the pan when it was still warm, causing it to stick in the bottom of the pan. Besides, if you have ever pulled taffy before, you know that you DO NOT want to handle it when it's too hot, unless you don't care if you have fingerprints anymore or not.

Forty-five minutes later, it was finally cool enough to handle, and we buttered our hands and started pulling. The Med School student is much stronger than I am (he must take after my great aunt), and his taffy took on a paler shade of pink pretty quickly. We traded off and he essentially did all the hard work of the pulling and I'm not sorry.

I'm not going to lie. I was tempted to form this into
something not G-rated, and had my son not
been there, I would have done it.

We got tired of pulling after about fifteen minutes, and since it was becoming tacky rather than slippery, I decided to call it good, and we laid it out on a buttered cookie sheet, where the pinky color made it look like entrails. Yum....

"It looks like intestines," said the one who would
know what intestines look like.

Then we tried it.

Med School student's comments:

"It's not sticky, which I think is a positive."
"I'm hoping I burned some calories from pulling it."
"Tastes like a vanilla Tootsie Roll."


"Good. Delicious. Not sticky - that's very important."

And me? It tasted very, very much like I remembered from when my great aunt made it for us. And that's a very good thing.

And it was all gone by this morning. That tells you it was a win!


  1. Boy does this bring back memories. Sometimes after football games we went to a friend's house. Her mom always had the taffy boiling away. We buttered our hands and started pulling. I wonder how much skin I lost wrapped up in taffy.

  2. My uncle made taffy for us to pull a few times when my sister, cousins and I were up at his cottage. I remember it being fun to do, but never did it myself. I would have preferred the little tacos :)

  3. At the Boardwalk I love to watch the taffy pulling machine. It looks like parts of it are passing through some alternate dimension! Happy A to Z!

  4. I've made maple syrup taffy on the snow but never the kind you have to pull. It sounds like it came out great especially if it was gone by morning. Weekends In Maine

  5. FIFTY-TWO MINUTES of stirring constantly?!?
    I had to go lie down in a darkened room after I read that.
    You definitely deserve some kind of Determined Blogger award for that!

    And I have the marketing slogan for you when you go non-G rated.
    Lemme know when you're ready to roll with it...

  6. Unfortunate color choice yes for both the G rating and the intestinal distress. However a win nonetheless. I can't even tell you how many times I've failed at making Taffy. It never comes out they can offer something I don't think I boil it for 52 minutes maybe. Not to mention the fact that it's like handling molten lava. Zoe

  7. This sure brought back memories, my mother made taffy for holidays, many of our slumber parties, and sometimes just for Sunday afternoon fun. I do remember waiting impatiently for it to cool enough for us to pull it, and once pulled as long as we could mom would take over and pull it a bit more. I remember the taffy from her recipe hardening and the ropes could be broken into pieces to suck on. It was delicious, and now I want some!!! I also remember our little Pommy dog finding slivers on the floor, and getting them stuck on her furry face as she tried to eat them! I had to smile at your "intestinal pink" finished product and the fact that it disappeared so quickly, had to be delicious! LOL at the potentially not G-rated photo, you always make me laugh!