Friday, December 14, 2012

Homemade Peppermint Taffy ...inspired by Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory {food 'n flix}

Confession?

While making this taffy, there was a moment when I almost went full-out Veruca Salt.  If I hadn't been alone in my kitchen, I would have insisted that whomever was with me, get me an Oompa Loompa.  But dahh-deee, I want an Oompa Loompa now!

Wanna know why?  Because pulling taffy for the first time is frustrating business.  And it requires pretty darn close to a full stick of butter.  For your hands.  I'm talkin' a thick, vaseline-like layer.  All over.  Otherwise, you will have hot lava-style molten candy burning the bejeezus out of your epidermis.  As in, just sticking there.  Burning away.  And you know you'll be tempted to stick that molten spot directly into your mouth to cool it down.

And we all know how well that works.
So, you can see how having a few extra Oompa Loompas around the house might come in handy.  For candy-making endeavors.  That Willy Wonka knew what he was doing when he took his chances amongst the Vermicious Knids, Wangdoodles, and Snozzwangers of Loompa Land to rescue those guys.

Of course, Wonka does mention a taffy-pulling machine.  Maybe those Oompa Loompas won't even brave the bubbling vat of sugar...

All that said - YUM! So incredibly worth it.  I have a house full of taffy-lovers, myself included, who were over-the-moon with the results of this experiment.  It's perfectly chewy, yet buttery... which is surely the result of my hand-slathering.  And now I know how to do it, so I'll be doing it more often.

Like, maybe a whole two times per year.

Homemade Peppermint Taffy

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: ~15-20 minutes
Keywords: boil snack dessert Christmas birthday candy

Ingredients (~1¾ lbs.)
  • 2½ c. sugar
  • 1½ c. light corn syrup
  • 4 tsp. white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ½ c. evaporated milk
  • ¼ tsp. peppermint oil
  • food coloring, optional
  • softened butter, for hands and work surface (I used ~¾ stick total)
Instructions
Butter a 15"x10"x1" baking sheet; set aside.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Slowly add milk; cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 248° F (firm-ball stage).
Remove from heat; stir in peppermint oil and food coloring (if using). Pour into prepared pan. Let stand until cool enough to handle, ~15 minutes...maybe more.

Lube your hands up well with some of the butter and pull and fold taffy until firm but pliable (color will turn a bit lighter the longer you pull). This could take a little bit, don't give up.  Depending on how cool it is when you start, it could take 15 minutes or so of working it.  Re-butter your hands and work surface as needed.  It is very sticky to work with at first, but as it firms up, it gets easier.  Divide the taffy into four sections and, one section at a time, pull into a ½-inch rope; cut into 1-inch pieces.
Wrap each in waxed paper (cut into small squares or rectangles). Store at room temperature. In a candy dish, is nice.

adapted from Best Loved Cookies & Candies
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Food‘nFlixFood 'n Flix is being hosted by Sarah of WellDined this month, with her pick of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).  Submissions are due on the 29th of December, so you still have plenty of time to join in this month!

And if you're a fan of The Hunger Games, you won't want to miss out on our January "special edition" round of Food 'n Flix, where we're teaming up with Cook the Books!  So start reading The Hunger Games now, and then watch the film inspired by the book.  And then head into the kitchen and make something inspired by both (the books is very food-centric, whereas the film didn't pick that aspect up as much...that's why we're including both in this round).

p.s...I got my Oompa Loompa.



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