If playing with a wad of hot sticky bubblegum for 15 minutes sounds like fun, then have I got the project for you today! I’m kidding…kind of.
This past Saturday my daughter and I decided to try to make salt water taffy for the first time. I read through a bunch of recipes online, and one thing became immediately clear; making taffy is hard work and sticky…very very sticky! But I wasn’t going to be so easily scared off. I finally settled on a recipe (which we then adapted) from Cupcake Project. I chose her recipe, because she did a great job photographing the steps, I like the fact that her recipe calls for a lower final temperature (since I read on several blogs that their taffy turned out far too hard after using a higher final temperature), and lastly, because she said that the whole project could be done in an hour. That’s my kind of recipe!
For our adaptation, we used 1/2 teaspoon raspberry flavoring (we found it at Michael’s craft store) and 4 drops of blue food coloring; instead of the vanilla bean paste and candy sprinkles in her version. Once cooked to the correct temperature, we patiently waited for the candy to cool just enough so that we wouldn’t scald ourselves (we couldn’t stand to wait any longer than that), we then buttered our hands up, split the candy in two, and each started to taffy pull.
Right away I had problems with the taffy staying together. I think I might have had too much butter on my hands. But then when the butter wore off of my fingers the taffy stuck to my skin…and I mean really truly stuck to them. It was nearly impossible to remove. For some reason my daughter didn’t have the same issue. While I was getting frustrated with my portion, and in a near panic trying to remove the glob of candy from my fingers without losing a layer of skin, she was quickly turning her piece into a beautiful bit of candy magic.
In the end we determined that my hands were much warmer than hers, and this might have been the cause of the overly sticky situation. At one point I started working with my hands over the air conditioning vent, and that seemed to help quite a bit. Unfortunately my arthritic joints eventually gave out, so my daughter stepped in and finished pulling the rest of mine for me, while I wrapped the cut pieces of taffy in parchment paper.
They say that all is well that ends well, and in this case that is most definitely true! Even though my particular batch was stubborn, my daughter managed to salvage it, and we had a great memory making experience. Oh…and the finished candy turned out deliciously too! A winner in my book! Find the original recipe we used right here. Just prepare yourself ahead of time for a thorough arm workout!
Photos taken with iPhone 5c