Most everyone loves salt water taffy, a classic chewy, sweet treat that makes everybody smile. But where did the name come from? The most popular explanation of the name is that of a candy-store owner, David Bradley, whose shop was flooded during a major storm in 1883. His entire stock of taffy was soaked with salty Atlantic Ocean water. Shortly afterward, a young girl came into his shop and asked if he had any taffy for sale. Mr. Bradley jokingly offered her some “salt water taffy.” After sampling a piece, the girl purchased the candy and proudly walked down to the beach to show her friends. Bradley’s mother was in the back of the store and overheard the whole conversation. She loved the name “saltwater taffy”, and that’s what it was called from then on. (Bulk Candy Store)
Now you can have fun making your own either by yourself or you could get your kids or grandkids involved for a fun summertime activity! It really doesn’t take long to make. Maybe about an hour total and it uses ingredients that, if you’re a regular baker, you probably have on hand all the time.
Get creative with your flavors too. We have so many LorAnn flavoring oils for you to choose from. Choose just one flavor or combine them to make gourmet flavors, like cherry pound cake, by using a combination of cherry, almond, and vanilla. Remember that LorAnn flavoring oils are stronger than extracts. I used 1/4 teaspoon of flavoring per batch and found it perfect. Use more if you’re using an extract.
And here’s a tip for you. Like bread, candymaking is affected by altitude because water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes. Therefore, you’ll need to adjust the temperature your candy cooks to. A good rule of thumb is to reduce the temperature by 2 degrees for every 1,000 feet you are above sea level. This recipe calls for cooking the taffy to 254 degrees at sea level. Since I’m in Ogden, Utah at about 4,300 feet, I reduced my cook-to temperature by 8 degrees. So, I cooked it to 246 degrees F. Had I not made that adjustment, my taffy would have turned out too hard.
Go ahead and give this recipe a try! I think you’re gonna love it and have fun along the way.
Salt Water Taffy
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 – 1 teaspoon extract/flavoring
- 3 drops food coloring (optional)
- Grease a marble slab or cookie sheet. Set aside
- In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the corn syrup, water, butter, and salt.
- Mix well over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring and insert a candy thermometer.
- Brush the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush if you see sugar crystals.
- Continue to cook until it reaches 254 degrees for sea level. Subtract 2 degrees for every 1,000 feet you are above sea level. Remove from heat and add flavoring and food coloring.
- Pour the hot taffy mixture on your greased slab or pan and wait until it is cool enough to touch, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Once it is cool, lightly grease your hands and begin pulling, folding the candy over itself, and pulling more. You’ll need to pull the taffy for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Pull the taffy into a long, thin rope and use your kitchen scissors or a knife to cut out your pieces. Wrap them individually in wax paper or parchment paper squares.
Recipe adapted from A Cookie Named Desire.