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Mix the Ingredients for the Sugar Syrup
Taffy begins with a basic sugar syrup cooked to soft-crack stage. Specific recipes may vary, but a basic recipe would be:
Continue to 2 of 10 below.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1.5 cups light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
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Boil the Sugar Syrup to Soft-Crack Stage
Allow the sugar syrup to continue to cook, without stirring, until it reaches soft-crack stage (270 degrees). Taffy can be cooked slightly less, to hard-ball stage (260 degrees), if desired. Candy cooked to soft-crack will be brittle and hard, while candy cooked to hard-ball will be slightly softer and stickier.
Once the candy has reached the desired temperature, remove from the heat and immediately stir in the desired flavored extracts and food colors. For this recipe, ½ tsp flavored extract... and 3-4 drops of food coloring should be sufficient. Feel free to experiment with various flavor and color combinations. If you are making multiple colors from the same batch, remember to divide up the syrup before adding the colors. Place any syrup you will not be pulling immediately on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven to remain warm and pliable.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Cool and Work the Syrup
Pour the syrup from the pan onto a cool, oiled work surface. A marble slab or heat-safe cutting board works perfectly. Allow the syrup to sit and cool for a minute, until a skin has formed on the surface. With an oiled metal bench scraper or metal spatula, begin to work the syrup by folding the edges into the center. Continue turning and working the syrup until it is just cool enough to handle.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Begin to Pull the Candy
Pulling and stretching the candy is intrinsic to the texture of taffy, but it can be dangerous. Be very careful not to burn yourself when pulling taffy. Do not handle the candy until it is cool enough to touch, and beware that candy that feels cool on the surface can be burning hot underneath. I recommend wearing a pair of latex gloves (or two) while pulling candy, to prevent burns and overheating. If you do not wear gloves, make sure your hands are well-oiled so the sugar will not stick and... burn your skin.
To begin pulling the candy, lift it from the work surface with an oiled scraper or spatula and push it into a cylinder. Stretch it between your hands. It will be very soft and will sag in the middle.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Pull and Twist the CandyBring the syrup back together and again stretch it out between your hands. Repeat until the syrup begins to hold its shape when stretched out. Begin working the syrup with a twisting motion.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Fold Candy Together in a HorseshoeFold the pulled, twisted syrup together into a horseshoe shape. Twist the two halves together, working evenly and firmly.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Pull the Twisted CandyPull the twisted syrup to make a long, even rope about ½ inch in diameter. Continue to repeat the folding, twisting, and pulling pattern as long as the syrup is supple. You will notice that it gets firmer, and the color changes to a glossy, pearly opaque color.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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How to Pull Taffy Candy: The Final FoldWhen the syrup has reached a point where it is becoming difficult to pull, fold it in two and then fold it a gain, for a 4-strand horseshoe design. Gently twist the four strands together.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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The Final PullPull the four-strand candy a final time, gently twisting as you pull, to make a long, thin, even rope.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Cutting the CandyUse oiled kitchen shears or scissors to cut the candy rope into short pieces of equal size. Allow them to dry and harden completely at room temperature. If the candies won’t be served immediately, wrap them individually in waxed paper to prevent them from sticking together. Store in a cool, dry place.