I have read books and heard stories about old-fashioned taffy pulling parties. Folks used to get together on a winter night and make molasses taffy. It was quite an occasion for the young people, because they got to pull taffy with their sweethearts. :) The teens used to try to make the fanciest designs and sometimes even their initials with the taffy.
Last night I was trying to think of something fun to do, and remembered the stories about pulling taffy. So I thought we would try it! I found some salt water taffy recipes, but I wanted to make the old fashioned molasses kind. I also wanted it to be a little more flavorful than just plain molasses so I added some spices. The way this recipe turned out, it tastes a bit like a ginger molasses cookie. Delicious! And also very sweet and sticky! :)
You will want at least a couple people there to pull the taffy. The more the merrier! This is great for older kids and adults, but the taffy gets kind of hard for little tykes to pull after a while! This would be great fun for a party!
Old Fashioned Molasses Taffy
2 cups sugar
1 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
First, lightly grease a baking sheet, or pan. Make sure it has edges on it. Set it aside. Mix first 4 ingredients, plus spices if wanted, in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil and use a candy thermometer to bring the mixture up to about 260º F, the hard ball stage. If you drop a bit of the candy into a glass of cold water, it should form a hard ball that isn't easily squishable.
Remove from the heat and stir in butter and baking soda. This will make the candy bubble up and lighten in color. Pour the candy onto the prepared pan. Let it cool for about 10 minutes or so, or until you can touch it without being burned. As soon as it is cool enough to touch, divide the taffy so everybody gets a chunk, and pull away! You might want to butter your fingers so it doesn't get so sticky! You'll want to keep stretching it out and folding it back on itself for about 15 to 20 minutes. When the taffy gets stiff and harder to pull, make a rope and cut it into bite sized pieces. Wrap each piece with wax paper. Now you have a bunch of great candy to eat (if you've got a real sweet tooth), or to share with others!
I didn't get pictures of it because my hands were all sticky, but when you are pulling the taffy, it looks like spun gold. It's such a beautiful metalic looking color, but once you stop pulling it just turns brown again. Try it out and see for yourself! Make some memories with your family or friends! :)