"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."--Calvin Trillin

Vanilla Salt-Water Taffy Recipe

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This recipe for Vanilla Salt-Water Taffy, by , is from Every Day is a Thanksgiving Day!, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We help families or individuals create heirloom cookbook treasures.

Marge Peters
Added: Monday, November 2, 2009


2-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 c. light corn syrup
1-1/2 c. water
2 T. white vinegar
2 t. salt
1/4 c. butter
2 t. vanilla

Cornstarch for dusting hands
About 200 pieces of waxed paper (3 to 3-1/2" squares)

Note: For success, you need a very good candy thermometer. When cooked to exactly 258, taffy will have a chewy texture and be firm enough to pull easily. However, on rainy days, be sure to cook to 260 to counteract humidity.

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, stir together sugar, corn syrup, water, vinegar, and salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. When syrup nears boiling cover pan and boil about 30 seconds to dissolve any sugar crystals on pan sides. Remove cover and continue to cook, without stirring, until thermometer reaches 258. Remove from heat immediately, and gently stir in butter until melted. At once pour hot syrup into 2 well-buttered 10 by 15 inch rimmed baking pans.

As syrup begins to solidify around the edges, use a buttered spatula to turn edges into the center so it all cools evenly. Watch the cooling candy carefully; it takes about 7 to 10 minutes before it's cool enough to handle. (If you wait too long and syrup hardens, heat pans briefly in a 350 oven, removing before they're too warm to handle.) Then sprinkle each panful with 1 t. vanilla. Dust fingers with cornstarch and pick taffy up at corners. Gradually pull and squeeze to work in flavoring; keep fingers lightly dusted with cornstarch.

If there are only two people, squeeze taffy from both pans together before starting to pull. With four people, each pair can work on one pan. Each worker grasps one end of the taffy, pulls gently, then folds and squeezes it back together; repeat for 10 to 15 minutes or until taffy loses its gloss and forms small ridges.

Stretch taffy, a portion at a time, to make a rope about 3/4 inch thick; let rest on buttered pans until you're ready to cut into bite-sized pieces. Wrap them immediately in waxed paper squares or place in a single layer on buttered pans until you are ready to wrap. Store, airtight, up to a month.

Vanilla nut taffy: Follow recipe, except stir in 2 cups of finely chopped walnuts with the butter.

Cinnamon taffy: Follow recipe, except omit vanilla and add 1/4 t. each cinnamon oil and red food coloring to each pan.

Peppermint taffy: Follow recipe, except omit vanilla and add 1/2 t. each peppermint extract and green food coloring to each pan.

Wintergreen taffy: Follow recipe, except omit vanilla and add 1/4 t. wintergreen extract and 1/8 t. red food coloring to each pan.

Molasses or molasses-mint taffy: Follow recipe, except use a heavy 5-quart kettle for cooking. Substitute 2-1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar for the granulated sugar. Use only 1/2 c. light corn syrup and add 1 c. light molasses. Add remaining ingredients and cook as directed. If desired, omit vanilla and add 1/2 t. peppermint extract.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
2 pounds
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
One winter's eve, when Cliff and Anita and their dog Chester were visiting Tom and Marge and their dog Cisco it was decided we would make taffy. We had quite a bit of fun, particularly while pulling it. The dogs were watching and seemed to want to join in the project. Sweet Tom generously tossed them each a sizeable chunk. Nothing was quite as funny as watching the two big dogs attempt to chew the sticky stuff. Next, they tried to use their paws to get it unstuck from their mouths, therefore getting more and more entangled. When they rolled on their backs and even got their back paws involved, we just couldn't help it. Despite the fact that sticky taffy was being spread everywhere, we laughed so hard we ached, particularly when Marge kept saying, "Oh Tom, you're SO mean!" while wiping the tears of laughter from her eyes.

How the two oversized dogs managed to share one doghouse that night is another (ahem!) shaggy dog story...




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