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Pioneer Taffy!

Pioneer Taffy!
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Good Monday morning everyone! How is your summer shaping up so far!? We can’t seem to get out of these crazy rain storms here in Utah.
(Does it seem to you like the Global is Warming?
Each June just keeps getting colder than the last around these parts….
but that is another subject for another day.)
I have a lot of fun recipes planned for this week.
Seven recipes to be exact!
All of these recipes are KID PLEASERS!
Some recipes are great for
keeping little (or big) hands
busy helping with fun cooking projects.
Other recipes are great for feeding hungry kids this summer.
I hope you enjoy them all, and find at least one little recipe you might like trying this summer with your kids.
The first recipe I have for you is Pioneer Taffy. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I worked at The Lion House for quite some time when I was in college.
I learned to make this fun Pioneer Taffy while I worked there hostessing birthday parties.
Many a batch of taffy did I make.
(It used to be the only thing I knew how to cook….. and THAT is the darn, spankin’ truth.)
This is a great project for kids of all ages. The taffy takes between 35-40 minutes to cook. It needs to cool for about 10 minutes, and then you are ready for a fun taffy pull. Everyone in your family can have their own piece to pull.
Let the good times roll!
Pioneer Taffy
Yield: 12 pieces
Time: 40 min. cooking + 10 min. cooling + 10 minutes pulling
Recipe from The Lion House Cookbook
2 C sugar
1 1/2 C water
1 C white corn syrup
1 t salt
2 t glycerin (found at the pharmacy)
1 t vanilla
2 T butter
1. Place all ingredients but the vanilla and butter into a heavy sauce pan. You can find glycerin at most pharmacies. It is a very important ingredient. The taffy will not turn out well with out it.
2. Bring your taffy to a boil over medium high heat. Let it keep on a boiling until your candy thermometer reaches 258 degrees. This should take about 35-40 minutes.
3. I like to check the temperature of the taffy by dipping a spoon into the pan and then running cold water from the tap over the top of it. See how the taffy is kind of stiff looking…that means it is ready to go. If you cook it much past this stage you it will be really hard when you pull it. If you under cook it…you may have a sticky mess. This water trick really helps. However, you can rely on your candy thermometer as well.
4. When your taffy is cooked take it off the heat and pour in your vanilla.
5. Add your butter to the pot and give the bubbling beauty a good round of stirring. Stir until the butter is all melted.
6. Butter a large cookie sheet.
7. Pour the taffy onto the sheet.
8. Let the taffy cool for about 5 minutes, or until it is cool enough to handle. The edges will start to set up a bit faster than the middle.
9. Pinch the taffy into 12 separate pieces.
10. When the taffy is cool enough to pick up, hand out a  piece to each lucky participant. Then you can start to pull the taffy. The trick is the stretch it out……
…..and then fold it back together. Stretch and fold, stretch and fold…..
……until your taffy turns a beautiful white color. Or if some of your pullers are 3 years old, until they get tired of pulling. It still tastes mighty good, even if you don’t pull it long enough for it to turn white.
11. Stretch the taffy into a long rope shape and set on a piece of wax paper. You can break the taffy into pieces by holding it in the palm of your hand and tapping it with the handle of a butter knife (thanks for the tip, Grandma Barb!)
Taffy pullers of many ages……..enjoy a fun family project!
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  1. 1
    June 14, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    What a fun family project! Thanks for sharing! I love your blog!

  2. 2
    June 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Great step by step photos on how to make taffy. Looks like so much fun stretching it.

  3. 3
    June 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Hahaha!! That looks like tons of fun for everyone! I especially love the first picture with the taffy as a heart. Great job and thanks for sharing! I'll have to bookmark this to make with Little Butt someday.

  4. 4
    June 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    !!!!!Love your Blog!!!!!
    Have you tried making different flavors?

  5. 5
    kelly lim
    June 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    i might not have started on any of your marvelous creation but i certainly do enjoy reading the recipes.

    i love the attractive pictures and i have loads of fun just by running through your blog every day. thank you so much for sharing,Jamie!!

    god bless, Have a nice day!

  6. 6
    June 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    This looks super fun! I am excited to try it out!

  7. 7
    June 15, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I'm getting the Glycerin while my daughter is at VBS tomorrow and I'm going to surprise her with this recipe. She has Severe food allergies and All taffy we have ever found says may contain Nuts. So I can't wait to surprise her tomorrow!

  8. 8
    June 15, 2010 at 3:21 am

    I have tried using cinnamon candy flavoring instead of the vanilla. It was great as well.

  9. 9
    June 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    My mom used to make this for us when I was a kid and we loved pulling and pulling it. I had all but forgotten her taffy! thanks for the reminder and the recipe. My mom probably wouldn't be able to find it if I asked. :0)…LOL!

  10. 10
    June 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Mine turned out a sticky mess. I don't know what I did wrong….I tried the spoon trick and I was at 260. Oh well, maybe next time. I love your blog

  11. 11
    March 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Would this be the same as Honey taffy? Would you add honey instead of vanilla?

  12. 12
    March 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Honey Taffy is something different. Not sure how to make it…this recipe just needs the vanilla. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out. Thanks!

  13. 13
    October 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Just wanted to give a heads up, I've been researching glycerin and have discovered that the glycerin depicted in your picture which is spelled without an “e” at the end is not supposed to be consumed. Make sure your readers get vegetable glycerine with an “e”. The backs of the bottles without an “e” should explain that it is not to be eaten.

  14. 14
    October 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Effie, when I made this recipe I called a pharmacist to ask which glycerin I should use. He told me that because of the small quantity of glycerin, this one is fine to use. Ingested in large amounts this glycerin is not edible. I used this exact same glycerin when we made taffy and none of the seven 14-year-olds who helped me got sick.

  15. 15
    September 16, 2012 at 2:03 am

    This sounds like so much fun. Can you add food coloring? I would love to try this for a young women activity. It might be fun to add colors for the values. I just need to have my son send the glycerin here to me in Japan. I LOVE your blog!!! It is amazing. There is nothing that I have tried that I have not loved. Thanks soooo much for your hard work.

    • 16
      September 17, 2012 at 6:23 am

      Hi Tammy,
      You can add food coloring, and different kinds of candy flavoring. Add them after the taffy has finished cooking along with the butter. Good luck! Fun idea to do the YW values. Good luck!

  16. 17
    December 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm


    Is it possible to make this recipe in advance or do you have to be pulling it withing the 10 minutes after it has cooled?

    Thanks, I’m so excited to try this at my daughter’s birthday party!!


    • 18
      December 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      You can’t make this recipe in advance. Once the candy has cooled all the way down it will be impossible to pull. :) Good luck!

  17. 19
    January 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    My son has many allergies too, one being dairy. Can you use a non dairy butter in this recipe?

    • 20
      June 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      I don’t know if you tried it yet or not but I just made this using Earth balance butter. It turned out great!! So yummy!! My kids love it!!

    • 21
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  18. 22
    LaRene Olbeter
    June 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Jamie,

    Thinking of doing this for our upcoming pioneer trek! Do you know if the recipe is affected by humidity? Thanks for any suggestion :)

  19. 23
    June 20, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Question: any substitute for corn syrup?

    • 24
      November 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Corn syrup substitute

      For each cup of light corn syrup in a recipe, substitute 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup water.

      For each cup of dark corn syrup, substitute 1 cup of packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup water.

      For each cup of corn syrup, substitute 1 cup of honey

  20. 25
    July 17, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    We made this tonight and my kids loved it! I have one question: is the taffy supposed to end up soft like salt water taffy or is it supposed to cool to a hard, crunchy candy suited for sucking? Ours turned out to be very crunchy. Thank you!

    • 26
      July 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Hi Natalie,
      The firmness of the taffy depends on how long you cook it. If you want it to be a little softer just cook it one or two degrees less. Be careful not to under-cook it however, it will be super sticky and hard to pull. Good luck!

  21. 27
    June 2, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Do you butter your hands to stop the taffy from sticking to you?
    Or is it not that sticky?

    • 28
      July 24, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      Seth, when I was young, my mother had us use a little corn starch on our hands. It worked great and didn’t cause a mess.

  22. 29
    July 24, 2014 at 7:28 am

    We’ll be trying this today for Pioneer Day in Utah. Thanx for the great tips. We’re all excited!

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