In the February 2014 issue, writer Eric Pohl takes readers to La King’s Confectionery in Galveston, where saltwater taffy flies off the shelves year-round. Most fans of saltwater taffy have memories of making it (or trying to make it) at home; taffy-pulling is a time-honored group activity that has the added benefit of providing a decent upper-body workout. Don’t attempt a taffy-pull on a rainy or humid day; wait for a dry day and be patient. Here’s a recipe to try.
Vanilla Saltwater Taffy
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for pulling
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large saucepan (3-4 quart)
- wooden spoon
- candy thermometer
- waxed paper
- cookie sheet
In the saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Turn the heat to medium, and add the corn syrup, water, butter, and salt. Stir constantly with the wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves.
Continue stirring until the mixture begins to boil, then let it boil until the bubbles are versy small and close together, and the candy thermometer registers 270 degrees—the “soft-crack” stage. (You can test the mixture to see if it’s been cooked enough by dropping a thin stream of candy into a glass of cold water. If it makes a strand that is hard but still pliable, you’ve reached the soft-crack stage.)
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla. Stir, then pour the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet.
When the taffy is cool enough to handle, grease your hands with butter and pull the taffy until it’s white and satiny. Pull the taffy into several ropes, roughly ½ inch in diameter, and use a greased butter knife or greased scissors to cut the taffy into pieces. Wrap in waxed paper.