A Pioneer Taffy Pull for the Modern FamilyWritten by Glynis Neves
A Pioneer Taffy Pull for the Modern Family
Last week was Fall Break in our school district. I took advantage of some non-school time and took my kids to visit my dad. Because great minds tend to think alike, my sister had the same idea, and we all descended on my dad's house. As usually happens when we all get together, we decided we needed a project to keep everyone busy. Sometimes we clean out a closet, sometimes we organize family photos, but this time we decided on a good, old-fashioned taffy pull.
Since my niece was working on a family history project for a class, my sister talked her into using our family recipe for honey taffy. It's a recipe that has been used in our family for over a hundred years and there are amazing memories mixed up in it. My favorite childhood memories include visits from my grandparents that always included my grandfather making this taffy. He was always reluctant to let any children pull the hot taffy, so he would do it himself. I can still remember his hands pulling the taffy. They were strong, large hands, that seemed able to do anything.
As we began the taffy making process, the smell of cooking honey filled the house. My father sat, surrounded by his grandchildren as he regaled them with stories about his father and taffy pulls of the past. It is a memory that is etched on my heart, and the hearts of all those there.
Honey Taffy Recipe
Try this recipe for yourself, and start your own taffy pull tradition!
In a heavy saucepan combine 2 cups granulated sugar, 2 cups honey and 1 cup heavy cream.
Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Stop stirring and let mixture come to a boil. Clip on a candy thermometer and let the mixture come to a soft crack stage. This will take some time. It's important to test your thermometer before you start, so you know the exact temperature to look for!
The mixture will boil pretty high, so make sure you have a saucepan with tall sides.
While the mixture is boiling, prepare your cooling surface. In these pictures, you will see that we used my dad's granite countertops, but if you have a marble candy board, I'd recommend using that. Butter your surface thoroughly! Once the mixture has reached the soft crack stage, remove the candy thermometer, and pour the mixture onto your prepared surface.
Immediately begin "turning" the mixture in on itself. A buttered metal spatula works best (as we found after trying a silicone spatula). You want to keep folding the mixture in on itself to help cool it down.
Continue doing this until the mixture begins to hold it's shape rather than spreading back out.
And now comes the fun part! Have your helpers butter their hands really well. This will keep the hot sugar from sticking to and burning the skin. Divide the taffy into smaller portions and begin pulling.
At first it will seem stringy and hopeless, but keep at it. The trick is to incorporate air into the taffy, so pull, pull, pull!
We found that after the initial buttering of the hands, a light spritzing of non-stick cooking spray was all that was needed. Just make sure that your hands don't start burning!
Keep pulling until the taffy reaches a light, golden color.
Roll it into a rope and score with a butter knife every inch or so. Let is harden for 10-15 minutes while you prepare waxed paper for wrapping. Cut strips of waxed paper into squares about 1 1/2 inches long. When you are ready to wrap, pick up the taffy rope, and, using the handle of the butter knife, lightly tap on the scored lines. The taffy should break apart easily.
Wrap each piece in waxed paper.
Enjoy this taste of my pioneer heritage!
Do you have a recipe that you have made part of your holiday traditions? Is there a special person that initiated this recipe?
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