St. Julian Taffy -- Two Recipes
St. Julian taffy
Dorcas Society Cookbook
St. John's Lutheran Church, Enterprise, Ohio
Submitted by Roger
family descended upon our home after Christmas for many years for a taffy pull.
My mother ruled the kitchen so no one is really sure about the quantities she
used or any ways in which she might have "tweaked" the recipe. About 40 years
ago we the tradition ended but, this year my cousins and I (we were all kids
when the last taffy pull took place) have decided to resurrect the tradition in
order to give our children the sense of "family" that we grew up with. The
recipe is found in a cookbook (handed down to me from my mother) compiled by the
Dorcas Society of St. John's Lutheran Church in Enterprise, Ohio. There is no
date on the cookbook but from the looks of it, I would imagine that it might
have been a wedding present from when my parents were married in 1931.
St. Julian Taffy
3 lbs. white Karo molasses (syrup?)
3 oz. crystal flake gelatin (company went out of business around 20 years ago so
I substitute with unflavored gelatin)
1 oz. Paraffin
1 T. vanilla
3 C. chopped nuts
Beat eggs, add sugar, molasses, cream, paraffin and gelatin which has been
dissolved in milk. Boil until it cracks in cold water. Add vanilla and nuts.
Let cool and then pull.
We use an
old meat hook for pulling. Keep hook and your hands buttered so the taffy
doesn't stick. Taffy should still be a little warm for pulling. When taffy
starts to get stringy it is time to stop pulling. Put pulled taffy on wax paper
and cut into 1 inch pieces.
St. Julian's Taffy
family traditionally makes this taffy at Christmas. Hand pulling the taffy is
hard work and the recipe makes over ten pounds of candy, so you'll want plenty
of help. So it's a great event for extended family or friends, and fun for
children too. The recipe is nearly identical to Roger's recipe above.
Differences are noted below.
6 lb granulated sugar
3 lb glucose (*)
1/2 gal cream (Roger uses 1 qt of cream and 1 qt of milk)
3 oz crystal flakes (**)
1 oz paraffin
1 T vanilla
3 C chopped nuts (we use black walnuts exclusively)
* - glucose is available at shops specializing in cake- and candy-making
supplies. Roger's recipe calls for Karo syrup instead, which should work fine.
If you use Karo, make sure to get "Karo Light" (light color), NOT "Karo Lite"
** - Crystal flakes are no longer available. A local candy company told us this
is generically "baker's shortening", and we substituted "Paramount crystal
flakes", which worked fine. They're available online or from candy-making shops
(as they're widely used for chocolate). I think you could even use Crisco
shortening, but Paramount flakes are completely flavorless.
You need a chilled slab to pour the taffy onto for rapid cooling. We use marble
tabletops from my parents' antique furniture, and set them outside in the cold
several hours before we start cooking. At the last minute bring the slab into
the work area, wipe it clean, and grease with butter.
You will also need waxed paper to wrap the candy. Two rolls of waxed paper cut
into 4in x 4in squares will be enough.
Combine all ingredients except nuts and vanilla and heat slowly to 245 F. A
candy thermometer is critical. Overheating even by half a degree will make it
almost impossible to pull the taffy.
At 245 F, add the vanilla and nuts, stir, and watch temperature closely. As soon
as it hits 245 again (maybe only seconds later), remove from heat and pour onto
the chilled, buttered slab. Use a spoon to spread the liquid into a thin layer.
At this point you're racing a clock. If the taffy cools too slowly the sugar
will crystallize, ruining the smooth, chewy texture. But if the taffy gets too
cold it will be too hard to stretch. (But either way the flavor will still be
Watch carefully as it begins to cool. You will see the texture change and become
glossy as it hardens, beginning at the edges. Have all your helpers butter their
As the taffy cools and firms, pull away a handful at a time from the outer
(coolest) edges. The taffy should be just as hot as you can stand to work with.
Each person works a handful of taffy, stretching and folding it. You'll see the
taffy's color lighten as air is worked into it. Use plenty of butter on your
(You should also remove any rings from your fingers, unless you want to include
a "secret prize" in a random bit of taffy. :-)
After a minute or so of hand stretching, we put the taffy on a taffy hook, which
allows one person to keep working the taffy while the rest of the crew empties
the chilling slab. You should have the slab empty in just a few minutes. If you
don't have a hook, have half your crew keep pulling their taffy by hand while
the other half empties the slab, adding their handfuls to the pullers' masses.
But you probably won't be able to work it as nicely as on a hook.
You want to pull the taffy until it is light in color (like creamed coffee) and
begins to form strings as you pull. Keep working it while someone grabs these
strings and pulls them loose from the mass.
Each string is laid out on a non-stick surface (the marble slabs or waxed paper
sheets), formed a little to make it about 3/4 in diameter, then cut into
bite-size pieces about 1 in long. Wrap each piece in a square of waxed paper.
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