Cream Pull Candy (Taffy)
Remember taffy-pull parties? Probably not! But you've probably heard of them, well this is the candy that set the theme for those parties. Besides being a fun get-together and knowing there's a sweet treat in store, having a 'taffy pull' when you're making taffy is especially helpful because you'll have someone to help you pull the taffy—and hopefully others to take over when you both tire out.
And, why do you pull taffy? Pulling taffy aerates it, or incorporates many tiny air bubbles throughout the candy. This makes it lighter and chewier. Enjoy!
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into small bits
Powdered sugar or cornstarch for dusting
- Combine sugar, water, baking soda and salt in a heavy saucepan and stir over low heat until dissolved and boiling. Cover for about 3 minutes until steam has washed crystals from sides of the pan. Uncover and cook without stirring to 236°F (110°C) Reduce heat—but not below 225°F (105°C)—while adding gradually the whipping cream and butter.
- Cook over moderate heat without stirring, to 257°F (120°C) and pour syrup at once over buttered marble slab. Hold the pouring edge away from you, and a few inches above the slab. Allow syrup to spread over the slab. Do not scrape pot.
- General taffy-pulling instructions: Allow the syrup to cool briefly. This is the time to flavor the taffy. Because of the great heat, use flavoring essences based on essential oils. Sprinkle these over the surface of the hot syrup. Go easy, as they are very strong. If chocolate is to be added, grate it on the buttered slab before pouring. Nuts, fruits and coconut can be worked in during the pulling process.
- Begin to work the syrup up into a central mass, turning it and working it with a candy scraper until it is cool enough to handle with your oiled fingertips. Take care in picking up the mass. It may have cooled on the surface and still be hot enough to burn as you press down into it. (Taffy cooked to 270°F / 130°C should be pulled near a source of heat.) When you can gather it up, start pulling it with your fingertips, allowing a spread of about 18-inches between your hands. Then fold it back on itself. Repeat this motion rhythmically. As the mass changes from a somewhat sticky, side-whiskered affair to a glistening crystal ribbon, start twisting, while folding and pulling. Pull until the ridges on the twist begin to hold their shape.
- The candy will have become opaque, firm and elastic but will still retain its satiny finish. Depending on proper cooking, the weather and your skill, this pulling process may last from five to twenty minutes.
- Have ready a surface dusted with powdered sugar or cornstarch. Then form the candy into a ball in your hands and press it into a narrow point at the fingertip end. Grasping the narrow point in one hand, pull it away from the rest of the ball into a long rope about one-inch thick. Let the rope fall out onto the dusted board like a snake. Cut it into the size you prefer with well-buttered shears. Let it cool. If you do not want to wrap separately, put it in a rightly covered tin, dusting and all. Some taffys, especially those heavy in cream, will, of their own accord, turn from a pulled chewy consistency to a creamy one. This happens sometimes a few minutes after cutting, sometimes as long as 12 hours later. After creaming takes place, be sure to wrap the taffys in waxed paper or foil and store them in a closed tin. They dry out readily on exposure to air.
Makes about 1 1/4 pounds.
Recipe Source: The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (Plume Book - New American Library).