WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I DARE You, Molasses Taffy

Innocent looking bowl of wrapped homemade Molasses Taffy? NOT.

I had to make taffy. We were talking the other night about the best salt water taffy we have ever eaten that we would buy at Depot Bay in Oregon.. I didn't have any safe flavors so when I was searching recipes I ran across one for BlackStrap Molasses Taffy- Sounded Perfect! What a fab way to combine blackstrap,sugar, and candy into a tasty treat that also had a little value..

Dug through the cupboard and was delighted to find I had just enough blackstrap.. little did I know what I was getting myself into..

Got everything into the pot, and got it boiling.. I stared with admiration at the lovely almost iridescent color of the boiling taffy, daydreaming about surprising Abby with what I just knew was going to be the most amazing treat ever!

I got it poured onto a parchment(greased too) lined cookie sheet and cheerfully tidied up and put stuff away while I waited for it to cool so I could get to the "fun" part and start pulling....

The recipe said as it cooled to start from the edges and fold it in on itself.. well after 10 minutes it was still running and not folding.. somewhere in my brain it triggered a subtle sound of alarm that perhaps this wasn't going to be as "joyful" as I had anticipated.. but stupidly, I ignored that warning bell. I used my spoon and spread it back and forth... 10 minutes later and the temperature was nearing room temperature I figured it wasn't gonna fold.. but you know I cannot stand to toss a mistake, I am so arrogant I guess I thought I could pull that syrupy taffy till it firmed up into perfect pieces of delicious taffy.. what is a little more work, right? Plus, when you figure out how to fix something you feel twice as proud of the end product.

Bravely I smeared grapeseed oil on my hands and grabbed two fists full.. I admit, I immediately panicked.. never have I had anything not only stick to my hands, but glue, adhere.. I started pulling threads of taffy and it dripped and rolled, I ran for the sink and dribbled threads of the sticky stuff everywhere.. after about ten minutes it did seem to be working more like I had read it should.. but they talk about it getting harder to pull.. this had not happened -yet. In 10 more minutes I was still pulling, and pulling and pulling.. the muscles in my arms ached like nobodies business. The phone ringing off the hook, the poodles were dancing around me hoping to catch flying threads of taffy(which they did in their FUR!)... I ran to the laptop hoping the screen would tell me how to detach this clump of sticky threads from my fingers, hands, and even wrists at this point. However to my horror the screen saver had started-NOOOOOOO!!! I tried hitting the mouse with my elbows.. this wasn't working.. finally scrapped the worst of it back on to the tray of tar(as I was calling it at this point, plus some very choice words I will let you imagine..)I managed to get the hot water on and willing scorched my hands to be free- took forever! Pretty sure I have mild burns but I was freeeee!!

Okay, so at this point if I had not been an idiot before, what I did next tops any kitchen idiocy of my past...

I went back for more. Yes, I did. I was angry now. No way that stupid sticky pan of tar was gonna beat me!!!

I quickly searched google and saw someone had used starch on their hands to tackle their taffy! Well bingo I thought- that is where I messed up!

Ran for a bag of tapioca starch and filled a bowl. Covered my hands and even sprinkled the taffy- and against that warning bell in my head, I dove in again!

I did win in the end- but at what price? Abby actually came out in the middle of all that and looked at me in horror for 3 seconds and ran away! Abby doesn't run. So you can only imagine. I had it in my shirt, in my flip flops, down my jeans, some how in my cleavage.. down the cabinets, on the dogs, every counter...

And all that for what? It looks like a yorkie turd! LOL Seriously- I did all that for that tiny turd looking piece of candy? I figured, well it is gonna taste amazing- nope. Not bad, but no where near anything I would ever pay for!!!

So in the upcoming years.. as we sit around during the holiday's, Abby's face will light up as she starts telling the story of that one Christmas where Mom decided to make Molasses Taffy........

I figure another couple hours, a couple dog baths and maybe a second shower and the worst of the sticky will be gone. Maybe. I do fully expect to run across sticky spots through out the kitchen, dogs, house(covered in taffy threads the poodles ran the house- good grief!!)at least for a couple weeks.

Imagine this mess covering every square inch of your kitchen.. I dare ya!

So I DARE you to make Molasses Taffy!

Old-fashioned molasses taffy is easily(lies!) made at home. Instructions are included for the pulling method. You can make this candy by yourself(don't do it!), but it is more fun(fun? need helpers purely for safety!!!) to have helpers to pull it.
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes(I have 3 hours into it and still have 2 more hours of cleaning to go! For less then a dozen yorkie turd looking pieces of candy!!LOL)


1 cups unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoons palm shortening
1 Tablespoons cider or white vinegar

Grease a platter or baking sheet. In a large saucepan, combine molasses, sugar, shortening, and vinegar. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F. (the hard-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water forms a ball that is hard enough to hold its shape yet is pliable.

Pour onto the platter. Using a spatula, turn the edges toward the center to speed cooling. Pull (see below). (This never occurred for me, so you might want to abort if it the edges spill in and don't turn in..)

Yield: about 1 pound

About Pulling Taffy
While taffy pulling is best known as an amusing group operation, it's perfectly possible to pull taffy all by yourself. (Really? I have been damaged for life! Taffy gave me a panic attack! Don't do this alone! :-)

Before you begin, grease a pair of scissors(believe me, at least 2 pairs of scissors in case you need to cut some out of your hair.) and have on hand squares of parchment paper for wrapping. (I found reynolds foil on the outside and parchment on the inside, however, I suspect it could be corny- so all that for something she cannot eat>!>!>)

Let your cooked taffy sit just until it is barely cool enough to work with. (If it gets too cool, you can warm it in a 350 F. oven for 3 to 4 minutes.)

Coat your hands well with tapioca or potato starch or grapeseed. Form the candy into one or more balls. Now start pulling.

Working fast, pull a lump of candy between the fingertips of one hand and the other until it's about 15 inches long. (pure instinct will drive you to pull this stuff trying to ESCAPE it!)

Now double it up and pull again. Continue pulling, as in step 1, until the candy is porous and hard to pull. (the color starts that nice dark black molasses color and after pulling turns the color of dark caramel)

Stretch the candy into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter.

Cut with the greased scissors into 1-inch pieces. To prevent sticking, wrap each piece of candy individually in a square of parchment paper; twist the ends to seal. Keep the wrapped taffies in a tightly closed tin. (Then DARE someone else to make it!)


Circus of 6 said...

Oh my gosh woman, you have me laughing! Laughing because I would have been just as ornery as you!! :D

Diane said...

LOL! I was just in the kitchen making paprika chicken and cabbage in the pressure cooker and went to open a drawer and got a handful of that evil sticky goo!!! LOL A day to remember for sure! I knew you would "get it" :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh Diane.... you had me laughing so hard I was crying. Everyone is looking at me :) I needed that. NOW..... I don't feel so bad with my flops with gluten free cooking :)

The Christians said...

You had me tears from laughing so hard!! I guess this is one recipe I won't try just yet... :-)

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