I have always wanted to take part in a taffy pull. It's been a secret wish of mine. Reading L.M.Montgomery has done that to me. There is something so sweet about those days at the turn of the twentieth century. The girls and boys wore their best clothes, they sang songs, they ended the night with taffy and cider.
Since I began these Make Your Own Mondays, I have been waiting all year long for Autumn to have my own taffy with my family. It wasn't as exciting as it would have been if we'd all been been wearing long dresses and suit coats. None of us broke out into song. There was no cider to drink. But. The candy turned out perfectly and was really delicious. So, though the atmosphere was lacking, the end results were well worth the effort.
I combined two recipes from that I found from the turn of the last century. I think my high altitude stove plays tricks on candy thermometers. Hardball stage is supposed to be 260 degrees, but at 250 degrees my taffy came dangerously close to burning, so I took it off the heat. Therefore, my unscientific theory is that candy thermometers are meant for sea level and you have to adjust for height. Correct me, if you know any better.
Old Fashioned Molasses Taffy:
2 cups molasses
1 cup sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
In a heavy dutch oven, combine the molasses, sugar and vinegar. Put the remaining ingredients in a bowl and keep it handy. On medium low, head the molasses mixture to the hardball stage (somewhere close to 260 degrees Fahrenheit). The mixture will really rise a lot and even spit a bit, that's why you might want to use a taller pot and a long wooden spoon to stir it. When it gets to the desired temperature, remove it from the heat and add the other waiting ingredients. Stir the mixture vigorously and pour it into a buttered pan (I used a jelly roll pan).
Wait until the mixture cools down and then divide it up into tennis ball sized balls. Hand them out to four or five guests (read children) and start pulling.
(notice the Engineer trying to put bunny ears behind the Musician's head)
The taffy will immediately turn almost metallic gold color. Keep pulling until it becomes a uniformly light tan color. Form it into ropes and cut into pieces. Don't wait too long or it will get really hard to cut. Wrap pieces in waxed paper and store in an airtight container.Tweet