Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Homemade salt water taffy

Salt water taffy is a must-have candy when visiting the beach. Make your own salt water taffy at home - while keeping the sand out of your car!


Like most people, salt water taffy reminds me of my childhood. My family and I used to go to the Jersey Shore and the Delaware beaches, and I always loved going into the candy stores to browse around. One of the best places in Rehoboth Beach (Delaware) is a place called Dolle's. They have countless flavors of salt water taffy, and I could never resist buying a box or a bag. In fact, I'd usually eat half the bag before we even made it home.

I haven't visited the beaches lately because we've been so busy. And I definitely miss my salt water taffy, so I made a decision to make it myself. I've always wanted to try my hand at taffy pulling, so this was my chance.


The first batch I made turned out way too hard. My stove got too hot, too fast, and I'm fairly certain the candy mixture's temperature made it closer to 260 degrees F, which made it too hard. Not satisfied with my first batch, I made a second batch and turned the heat down significantly. I watched my thermometer like a hawk, and as soon as it hit 250 degrees F, I turned off the stove and moved my pan off the heat. This time, my taffy was successful.

This candy is a fun project for kids - they can help you pull and shape the taffy after it has cooled down significantly. I made this while Addie was at school so she didn't help this time, but I have no doubt that she would have a blast pulling and taste testing the candy. The resulting taffy is soft, chewy, and reminiscent of the ocean.

So if you're not heading to a beach anytime soon, consider making this salt water taffy instead. It takes about an hour from start to finish, and you'll have plenty to share.  Well, unless you're like me and want to eat it all yourself.

Homemade salt water taffy
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 Tablespoon unsalted butter (plus more for greasing)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon extract of choice, optional
  • 1-2 drops of food coloring, optional
Directions
Generously grease a standard 8"x8" baking pan and set aside.

In a small or medium sized saucepan, heat the sugar, corn starch, corn syrup, butter, water and salt on medium-high heat until bubbles form. Keep stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F. (My new Thermapen worked wonders here!).  

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the extract and food coloring if using. Pour it into the greased baking pan. Using a well-buttered bench scraper, fold the liquid onto itself until it is cool enough to touch.

Generously butter your hands and stretch the candy into a long rope. Fold it in half so the ends meet and stretch again. Repeat for about 5-10 minutes or until the candy gets lighter and lighter in color.

Finally, pull the candy into a rope about 1/2" wide (or whatever thickness you'd like). Set it down and using a well-buttered pair of scissors, cut into small pieces.

Allow the candy to rest for about 30 minutes before wrapping in parchment paper or waxed paper.

Salt water taffy should be stored in an airtight container and will keep for at least a month.

Yield: About 30 small pieces of taffy

Source: Slightly adapted from Cupcake Project

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