The ups and downs of making homemade taffy! Stick around and see what happened. Shout out to Nissania Hazghia for sending me the recipe. If you have any recipes that you want me to try, just post them on my fan page. Maybe you will get a shout out too!
I was so excited to make my own taffy and the recipe seemed so simple. To be honest, you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. The one thing I was missing was a candy thermometer, and that was the biggest mistake I made during my first attempt at making taffy.
Homemade Taffy Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups white sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tbsp butter (plus lots of extra for your hands while pulling the taffy)
1 tsp salt
1 package (21 oz) unsweetened, fruit flavored drink mix (I used crystal light punch flavor), makes 2 qts
1/2 tsp vanilla
Attempt #1: no candy thermometer
If you think you can read the hot sugar and know it inside and out, make this taffy without a thermometer. Go ahead, I dare you! You will see what could happen in the pictures to come!
Until I took the sugar off of the stove, everything was going just fine. I buttered a cookie sheet really well and set it aside. I then stirred the sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan and added corn syrup, water, margarine and salt until the margarine melted. So far, so good!
I brought the mixture to a boil over medium heat and then stopped stirring. This is where the sugar should cook to 250 degrees and the thermometer can be very helpful when you need to know an exact temperature. It can take a while for the sugar to reach 250 degrees, so be patient. If you stare at the bubbles long enough, you might even fall in to a trance. I kinda did!
So if you don’t have a thermometer, there is a test you can do with some cold water to see if the sugar is ready. At 250 degrees, the sugar should be in the firm ball stage. First, take the saucepan off the stove (I forgot to do that), then take a small spoonful of the boiling sugar and drop it in to a clean cup of cold water. Be careful near the sugar because it will burn your skin very badly! My mom, who makes peanut brittle all the time, has experienced some horrible burns from the hot sugar. Not fun. Once the sugar is in the cold water, it should form a stable ball but lose its round shape once pressed.
Not realizing that I cooked my sugar too long, I went on with the recipe and stirred in the vanilla and the drink mix (I used punch flavor). Stir very well, or you might end up with dark spots on the taffy…when you do it correctly! I then poured the mixture on to the cookie sheet very carefully and then let it sit to cool for 15 minutes. I expected to come back to soft taffy but when I put my hand in the bright red candy, it was as hard as a rock! All I could do was laugh. It was so sad. If this ever happens to you, just throw away the candy and start over with a thermometer! It will break your teeth.
I went out the following morning after dropping Zach off at school and bought a thermometer. I couldn’t stop thinking about the mistakes from the night before and I had to fix it right away! That night, I started over and followed all of the directions above, but this time, I put a candy thermometer in the saucepan from the beginning. Important tip: don’t touch the thermometer during the process because it gets really hot!
Once the taffy was cool enough to touch, I buttered my hands and picked up the candy to start pulling. Justin continued to butter my hands while I was pulling to keep the taffy from sticking. I pulled and pulled…pulled and pulled…
Once the taffy became more opaque and lightened in color (about 10-15 minutes of pulling), I stretched it in to long strips on the newly buttered cookie sheet and then cut pieces. I cut SO MANY pieces. I wrapped each in waxed paper, gave a good twist to each end and the taffy was done! Success was mine and the taffy was delicious.