Monday, June 6, 2011

grape candies

This morning I thought I'd get a head start on this Mad Tea Party coming up soon, and make wonderland-ish candy using a recipe for Grape Saltwater Taffy I had bookmarked a little while back.

I've never pulled sugar before, but the recipe made it seem simple enough. Boil sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, water, margarine and salt until it hits hard ball stage on a candy thermometer. Then add flavoring and color, let cool and work the sugar until shiny. Then cut the candy and wrap it. Simple no?

It's funny because the blogger that shared this recipe had really soft taffy and had a hard time with it, whereas mine is more like a hard candy that you let melt in your mouth. Biting into it would surely cause a trip to the dentist! I might have cooked it too much. Or pulled it too much? The pulling part actually cause some blisters on the pad of my thumbs and fingers. Ouch!

Doesn't matter that it's too hard to be called taffy, it's still delicious! And quite fun to make, aside from the blisters.

Grape Salt Water Candy
recipe source: Wilde in the Kitchen

2 cups sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup corn syrup
¾ cup water
2 tbsp margarine
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp grape candy oil
Purple food coloring (if you want, I didn’t use any)

In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup water and margarine. Bring to a boil and stir until clear. Discontinue stirring and attach candy thermometer. Heat sugar mixture until it reaches 266 F, wash down any sugar crystals, from the sides of the pot, with a wet pastry brush.

Remove pot from the heat and add oil and coloring. Stir until the color is even then pour onto a greased cookie sheet or silpat. Allow candy to cool until it is easy to handle but still has some give.

Pull the taffy until it is lightened in color and shiny. Roll into a long rope and cut into 1-inch pieces. Wrap in waxed paper and twist ends to close.

A few notes: It takes a while for the sugar to reach 266F. And I was surprised to see how cloudy the mixture was, I guess from the cornstarch and margarine. Next time, I would probably combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt before adding the wet ingredients. I poured my candy onto a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and left it to cool before I tried handling it. The best way to remove the sugar from the parchment paper was to handle it like a band-aid, quickly and with a short movement, or else, you'd just be stretching the sugar forever, and it would still be on the paper. It was still quite hot when I started pulling, but not so that it was intolerable. I was picturing rolling the candy into a rope like I would playdough, but by the time I was ready to start cutting, there was no way that was happening, so I kinda formed a rope by twisting and pulling it, then laying it on the counter to cut pieces off with scissors. You really have to work quickly, because it hardens pretty fast. At least mine did. 

Oh and I don't recommend putting the candies in a glass jar like the one above. They might stick together, and you might have to use chop sticks and all of your strength to pry them lose, and you might break the glass jar while you're at it and have to throw out half your candies because of possible glass shards. Just saying.


  1. What a fun idea!! I love taffy...I need to give these a try!

  2. I'm glad you gave the recipe a try! Maybe the hardness difference is due to cooking it a little longer/hotter? It looks so pretty, and as long as it was tasty its a success! :)

  3. Très belle présentation. Je suis certaine qu'ils vont tous se faire manger. Bravo...

  4. Though I'm not sure I'd ever try to make these, the beautiful photos of the steps are a purple work of art!

  5. HI,
    Cool idea. Really like it.. Thanks for sharing..



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