Monday, May 14, 2012

Ginger Taffy- Part 1

I'll warn you right off the top that this is one of those recipe experiments that didn't go quite as planned.

There are these ginger soft candies that I love. While looking for a candied ginger recipe I stumbled upon a ginger taffy recipe. I was so excited to be able to make my own ginger candy at home, because I eat this stuff like, well, candy :)

It took me a long time to actually try to make it because I was searching for one ingredient, glycerin.  I looked everywhere before I finally found it last week at Michael's  (a craft store) in their cake decorating section.  Finally I could make my taffy!

From what the recipe described, taffy pulling is a "fun family activity" so Bubba and I gathered our ingredients and headed to my Mom's where we convinced her and my brother Tim to help.

2 tablespoons of pealed, chopped ginger
1 1/4 cup of water
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons glycerin
2 tablespoons of butter
candy thermometer

First put the ginger and 1/4 cup of water in a small sauce pan and simmer til the water evaporates, then put aside.

In another pan put the sugar, corn syrup, glycerin, and salt and 1 cup of water.

Cook on medium low heat and stir til the sugar dissolves.

Put the candy thermometer into the pan and continue to cook without stirring til the temperature reaches 260.

It will start to bubble and foam quite a bit.

Remove from the heat and  add 2 tablespoons of butter and the cooked ginger.

Mix together til butter is melted and the ginger is incorporated.

Pour out into a cookie sheet to let cool.

Spread out with a rubber spatula.

Once cool enough to handle, form into balls. As many balls as you have taffy pullers.

Now here is where everything started to go wrong and why this post is entitled 
Ginger Taffy Part 1.

The recipe had instructed us to grease our hands with oil or butter (we used oil) form the taffy into a ball, then a long rope, then fold the rope in half and in half again. Then you keep doing this until the taffy is shiny and hard to pull. Then you make one last, long rope with all the pieces and cut it into 1 inch sections and wrap those pieces in wax paper.

Sounds easy enough right?

Our taffy never really could form a rope. It kept oozing like slime! Then the oil would wear off your hands and it would be sticky slime. Also we were one man down since the cooking took longer then expected and Tim left to pick up my dad from the train station. So it was just Bubba, my mom and I. My mom and I pulled and pulled. The taffy got whiter or cloudier, but I think the shinier part was from all of the oil.

Meanwhile, Bubba was no longer amused watching us from the playpen. So I washed my hands and put him in the sling. Then we called my aunt on skype. 

"RASPBERRY MISTAKE IN PROGRESS!" We told her. She cracked up when she saw the state of the kitchen and us covered with goo with Bubba strapped to  my back. She figured the candy had not gotten all the way up to temperature, or maybe wasn't there long enough. And that meant it would never firm up. We decided to put the taffy on the pan and refrigerate it to see if it would get more stable.

It stayed a little firmer, as long as it stayed cool. At least we were able to cut it and wrap it in the wax paper.

It tastes pretty good, not exactly what I was hoping for (the ginger flavor is not strong enough for me.) And as long as it stays in the fridge til you are ready to eat a piece it remains solid, but don't take too long! It returns to its oozy form before long.

We will have to experiment a bit and attempt Ginger Taffy Part 2.


  1. LOL!! This was a great read, I enjoyed it immensely! I'm going to have a go at this recipe to see if I can make some Ginger Goo!

    1. Good luck!
      We still have yet to attempt this one again, too many recipes to try, I forget sometimes. I do think the next time we will add more water in the first step, so that the second time we add water (with the sugar) it will be strong ginger water, almost like the reserve water you get making candied ginger and hopefully then it will have a stronger ginger taste.

  2. I agree... fun read and hope your next try around was more a success!