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Canning Day Quilt

Old Fashioned Taffy Pulling


This weekend the kids and I made Salt Water Taffy.  It was a practice run for the 4th of July, when pulling taffy will be one of the activities for all of the kids.  I figured I better work out the kinks before I make it for a crowd.  It was so much fun we can’t wait to make it again… kind of like playing with play dough only sweeter.

The only change I will make for the 4th is to make a few more flavors… maybe lemon, orange and peppermint.  If I thought the kids would go for it, I would make licorice… my favorite taffy flavor.

I used the recipe from the Lion House Recipes, First Edition Cookbook.  It’s an old-time recipe.

Lion House Taffy

2 cups sugar
1 ½ cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup white corn syrup
½ tsp. glycerin
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. butter

Mix sugar, water, salt, corn syrup, and glycerin in a heavy sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and cook to a temperature of 258 degrees.  Remove from heat and let stand for two to three minutes.  Then add vanilla and butter.  Stir vigorously until butter is melted.  Pour into a buttered cookie sheet.  Cool until lukewarm taffy can be handled.

Before pulling have children wash and dry their hands thoroughly.  Give them each a small piece to work with, and instruct them to stretch and fold, stretch and fold until the taffy turns white.

I cooked the taffy to 265 degrees instead of 258… so it was a little less sticky.  And I added food coloring to some of the taffy as we pulled (a bit messy on the hands, but oh well.)  I rolled the taffy into ropes and cut them with my kitchen scissors that I had rubbed with butter.  Then the kids and I rolled them in wax paper.  For the 4th I thought it would be fun to have each child pull the taffy and make it into the initial of their first name.  I’ll give the kids a piece of wax paper to keep their initial in.


Pulling taffy is one of those old fashioned activities that deserves a comeback. 


Oh, it’s a little sticky…


but she can handle it…


“What you thinking about, Emma?”     “…mmm, candy”

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11 Responses to “Old Fashioned Taffy Pulling”

  • We used to make taffy when I was little. It was so much fun. I always burned my hands. Good times. And it is yummy.

  • Chammer:

    Oh my gosh !!! I was just thinking about the taffy we used to make when I was small. I just LOVED pulling and making taffy growing up, but I didn’t know how to get a good Salt Water Taffy recipe. Lo and behold I check-in on one of my newly found and Favorite Blog and I find SALT WATER TAFFY………………Imagine That !!! Thanks sooooo much for sharing….I will be making with my Grandsons when they come for a visit…….they will love it.


  • KME:

    One of my favorite childhood memories was making taffy from the Lion House cookbook. Wish I was coming to your party!

  • [...] Taffy Pulling (of course!) [...]

  • JoAnne Jenkins:

    I’m planning on doing a taffy pull with my Girl Scout Troop. There will probably be 20-25 kids and adults pulling taffy. How many batches of taffy do you think I will need to make for this many people? Any advice would be greatly appreciated – I’ve found lots of websites with recipes and pulling instructions, but none of them mention how much the recipe makes!

    • JoAnne, The recipe I use is from the Lion House in Salt Lake City. They host birthday parties where the kids pull taffy, and they make 1 batch per 12 guests. According to them, the glycerin the most important ingredient for the taffy. I hope that helps. Good luck and have fun- Calli

  • nikki butler:

    Where do you find glycerin? What’s the youngest age you suggest working with taffy? Such a great idea!

    • Calli:

      Hi Nikki, You can usually find glycerin at Walmart, Micheal’s or JoAnn’s in the cake decorating sections (with all the Wilton products). I think even fairly young children (3 and up) could pull taffy with a lot of supervision. You’ll just want to give the little ones a small piece to pull. good luck and have fun! cheers, Calli

  • My mom had my best friend and I pull taffy once when we were kids. We were told to put a *little bit* of butter on our hands because it was so sticky. My friend put waaay too much and her taffy ended up sooo nasty. It was so much fun, though, and she remembers it to this day! LOL! Good memories! I was actually thinking about making some this summer with our gang and wondering what recipe to use…think I found one! Thanks a bunch!


  • Amy:

    We make ours with a simpler recipe. Just use 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water and 1 cup karo syrup. Add a little vanilla just before you take it off the burner. :) Boil to 248. And definitely butter your hands!

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