Kid-Friendly Pull-Taffy – Ask Annie
I want to make candy for Halloween this year, and I am looking for a recipe for something that would be fun to make with kids. Ideas? One of my criteria is that I want to make a healthier candy, if that is possible, one without artificial dyes.
I laughed when I read your question–healthy candy?–but you are right. Candy can be made at home that is healthier than candy bought from a store. You can make candy free of dyes, artificial flavors, and even refined sugar. Making candy is also a really fun project to do with children. Here are directions and a recipe for an old-time candy pull to make Molasses Taffy, and hey, molasses is actually nutritious!
1 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 cup sugar (substitute Sucanat, available in health food stores, for a whole food sugar)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Butter enough cookie sheets for each child to have one. Combine the molasses, vinegar, sugar and salt in a pan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Cover the pan and cook without stirring until the syrup has reached the firm-ball stage (240 F). (You’ll need to uncover the syrup to take the temperature.) Add the butter bit by bit at this state, and continue boiling the syrup on a low heat until it reaches 270F.
Very, very carefully pour the taffy equally between the cookie sheets. The syrup is dangerously hot, so make sure you don’t spill any, and keep all children away while you pour. Oil yours and the children’s hands. Let the taffy cool for five minutes or so, and then use spatulas or candy scrapers to start turning it until it is cool enough to handle. Pick up the glob of candy, and starting pulling it out in a strand—a foot or more—and then folding it back on itself. Keep working it this way until the color becomes opaque, firm and elastic (this can take up to 15-20 minutes).
Makes about one pound.
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).