If you’re looking for a fun New Year’s Day activity, how about an old-fashioned taffy pull? My daughters discovered my grandmother’s old candy recipes, so we’ve been having lots of fun in the kitchen.
Basic Candy Ingredients
3 cups sugar
1¾ cups corn syrup
½ cup water
First, butter the pan(s) you’ll pour the cooked candy onto. Then mix the ingredients together in a large pot. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until temperature is reached for desired form of candy.
Cook ingredients, stirring constantly, to hard ball stage (262°F). Pour immediately onto buttered pan. When cool enough to handle, add 1 tsp flavoring of your choice (peppermint, vanilla, etc.). Butter hands so taffy doesn’t stick to them. Gather candy into a ball and pull until white and firm. Pull taffy into a rope; twist & cut into bite-sized pieces. Wrap in waxed paper if you don’t eat it all.
Cook ingredients, stirring constantly, to soft crack stage (290°F). Remove from heat. Add flavoring and food color of your choice (anise, mint, etc.). Stir immediately and pour out onto a greased cookie sheet. When cold, break into pieces (or score into squares before completely hard, then break apart when cold). We’re going to try using lemon juice in place of the water to make lemon candies. If that works, maybe frozen juice concentrates for other flavors.
Add 2 Tbsp molasses to the ingredients before cooking. At soft ball stage (240°F), add 1½ pounds of peanuts. Continue cooking to hard crack (300°F), then immediately remove from heat. Sprinkle top with 1 tsp baking soda and stir thoroughly (it will foam up). Divide the candy between two buttered cookie sheets. The key to crunchiness is to not spread with a spoon; just pour it onto the pan and let the candy find its own level. When cool, break into chunks.
Made like peanut brittle, but omit the molasses. Some nuts get squishy if added early, so wait until soft crack stage (290°F) to stir them in. Stir in 2 tsp vanilla extract when you add the baking soda.
There are a couple more recipes here.