Taffy Recipes

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Homemade Taffy

My Great- Grandpa Henry lived to be 100 years old and was sharp as a tack until the last year or two of his life. I have many, many wonderful memories of my great-grandfather.  He would always chase us kids down and try to get our funny bones and would always have those white and pink powdery mints at his house. We called them whities and pinkies. We would give him a rough time about eating his beer cheese because it would always stink up his entire kitchen.  Besides all of the fun times I remember, I will always remember his love for his family, his hard work and the example that he always set for us through his generosity.

One of my fondest memories that I have is going to Grandpa Henry’s house and making clothesline taffy. I honestly don’t know how I remember this experience because according to my Mom, I was extremely young when we did this. For some reason, this experience sticks out in my memories as a fun time with family. We did this in the winter time because as the name suggested we actually hung the taffy on the clothesline. This allowed the taffy to cool properly once it was ready. This definitely wasn’t the most sanitary practice, but it worked well.  Taffy recipes aren’t very common place and yes this will take some hard work and diligence, so hold onto this one.

The most fun part about this experience was the pulling of the taffy. Pulling the taffy incorporates air into the candy and helps it become lighter. We would get to put butter all over our hands and then take the hot taffy and start pulling it until it became too difficult to pull anymore. We would sometimes have partners that we would pull the taffy with and we’d have long strings of taffy between the two of us. All in all, it was just a wonderful time with family and that’s why this year we decided to try this again.

This time we did this at my Grandpa Bob (grandpa Henry’s son) and Grandma Jane’s house. Sarah and I and my parents all went to their house and attempted to replicate the experience and the great tasting taffy that I remember. We definitely replicated the experience and we came awfully close with the taffy. Taffy making definitely is acquired skill that takes time sharpen, so if you attempt this taffy recipe and don’t get it right the first time, don’t fret. Just give it another try and learn from your mistakes.


5 c granulated sugar

2 1/2 c milk

1/4 c butter

2 1/2 c light corn syrup

1/4 c shredded paraffin wax (I found this in the canning section at the grocery)

1 pkg gelatin

Vanilla extract

(We made several different flavors of taffy during our most recent taffy making night. We made the standard vanilla, but also made cinnamon, blueberry, and banana flavored taffy. We used flavorings, oils and extracts from the Great American Spice company to add the flavors we desired)


Dissolve the gelatin in warm water and set aside. Mix the remaining ingredients in a very large, heavy pot. Add the gelatin to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat stirring constantly. A long handled wooden spoon will work the best here because this is going to get very hot. You can also use a spatula, but if you do, make sure that the spatula is designed to withstand high heat or else you may end up with pieces of melted spatula in your taffy. Continue to stir and heat the mixture until it reaches the hard ball stage. This happens when the mixture reaches approximately 250 to 265 degrees. There are two ways to tell when you reach this stage. The first would be by using a candy thermometer. The second would be by using a bowl of cold water. If you drop a little bit of the hot candy into the water it should form a hard ball. When you reach this stage remove the pot from the heat, add the vanilla or any other flavoring you are using and pour the candy into several very, very well buttered pans to cool. Now comes the fun part. When the taffy is cool enough to handle (but still very warm) begin to pull the taffy. This is done by taking some of the taffy and stretching it until it just about pulls apart and then bringing the ends of the string of taffy together and doubling the taffy onto itself. Keep doing this until it is too difficult to pull any longer. Place the pulled taffy on buttered wax paper and put in a very cold location to finish cooling. Some of the recipes that I have seen suggest that taffy be made when the outside temperature is no warmer than 15 degrees. While I don’t suggest putting the taffy outside to cool that would be one option or you could use a cold garage. We put it on my grandparents enclosed back porch that wasn’t too terribly cold, but it got the job done. The way that you know you made this correctly is that when the taffy has cooled, it will shatter when you drop it or hit it with a hammer. Yep, that’s what my recipe says. I love old recipes like this. Like I said before, if you don’t succeed with this on your first attempt, don’t give up because the finished product when this is done correctly is wonderful winter treat that is the product of a very fondly remembered family tradition.


Since Sarah & Coley first met, they have enjoyed sharing their love of food--cooking, baking, and culinary exploration. Random fact: when vacationing, they won't eat at any national chain restaurants. For their day jobs, Coley is a Financial Advisor with Investment Centers of America and Sarah is Adjunct Faculty at two local universities and CEO/Social Media Strategist at SociallySeasoned, LLC.
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