Taffy Getting Too Hard And Chewy

by Chad S.
(Greenville, SC)

Why is my taffy always getting too hard and chewy and never soft enough?

It seems that each time I make taffy it nearly yanks every one of my fillings out of my teeth. Is there something I could do to make it softer like store bought taffy?

(Although I do enjoy the texture of store bought, the flavor is lacking)

One thing that I've encountered is that it seems as though I don't have enough time to pull the taffy to its target color because it cools down too quickly.

Could this be the problem causing the taffy to be getting too hard and chewy? And if so, what could I do about this?

Hi Chad,

Oh, it's been ages since I've made some wonderful homemade taffy - literally years! My first guess on the cause of your taffy getting too hard and chewy is that you are cooking it to too high a temperature.

I don't know which recipe you are using, but make sure your thermometer is working properly and then only cook the taffy to 250° F.

I found this terrific step-by-step recipe on Joshua Elek's blog, where he really spells out the process. Hopefully Josh won't mind if I add it here for you.

Homemade Soft Taffy Recipe

Ingredients Needed:
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Cup light corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 Cup water

  1. Stir together sugar, corn starch and salt. - If you mix these in a bowl first, you can pour them over top of the liquids, which means you'll have to stir less.

  2. Pour water, corn syrup, butter and vinegar into pan. - No need to stir just yet.

  3. Add Sugar mixture - By pouring the sugar on top of the liquid, instead of the liquid on top of the sugar, you won't have to stir as much while the syrup cooks, and you'll reduce the chance of burning the mixture and of recrystallizing the sugars.

  4. Cook over medium-high heat until candy thermometer reads 250°F - Two things here: First, stir gently only until the sugar is dissolved, and then don't stir any more.

    Be sure to stir carefully, you don't want the sugar crystals getting on the edges of the pan because if one crystal fell into the syrup, it could start a chain reaction crystallizing the syrup.

    There are two different sugars in this syrup, glucose and fructose, if you stir too much, or if a crystal falls in after the water boils off those two sugars can crystallize into sucrose, which is granulated.

    Secondly, be sure to take the candy off the burner when the thermometer is a bit below 250. The temperature will raise to the correct temperature while they syrup is off the burner.

  5. Pour syrup out onto buttered cookie sheet, let stand fifteen to twenty minutes. - If you have a flexible nylon baking pad, it is really nice for this part. If not, a cookie sheet works just as well. Either way, you'll want something with edges to make sure the syrup doesn't go on the counter.

    You can
    add the coloring and flavoring whenever you want as long as the syrup is no longer boiling. If you add the flavoring while the syrup is boiling, the flavoring will boil off and the candy will have little to no flavor.

    I like to add the flavoring and coloring after the candy has cooled because it allows me to separate the taffy into different parts if I want to make more than one flavor at a time.

  6. When cool, knead taffy together to remove from cookie sheet. - I've seen people use a pastry knife to get the taffy off the cookie sheet, but you can just use your hands if you let the candy cool long enough.

    If it sticks to the pan at all, let it sit for five more minutes, if the cookie sheet has even a little bit of butter on it, the taffy won't stick.

    Oh, you'll want to butter your hands a little bit to keep the taffy from sticking to your hands. Oh, and you don't want to put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up cooling time... it doesn't work. I don't know why, it just results in candy that snaps apart when you try to pull it.

  7. Push small well into taffy and add coloring and flavoring. - I use Lorann Oils found at a grocery store nearby. It's $1 per dram, and I use a dram for this recipe. A dram is a small bottle.

  8. Pull taffy for ten to fifteen minutes. - Pulling taffy is the best part. It's a bit tricky at first, but halfway into your first time, it should get easier.

    The trick is to actually pull the candy. Grab taffy in the middle with both hands. Twist while you pull your hands apart.

    At first, you'll pull your hands about four or five inches away from each other before the taffy in between gets really thin. Then, fold the candy on itself, twist and pull again.

    As you continue pulling, the taffy will get thicker, more like rope. At first, it will be stringy and you'll feel like the candy isn't coming together. Just keep going, the candy will get a little more tacky and start to come together. It will go from stringy and dull to a smooth shiny rope.

    When the color is pale, and the candy feels soft, you're doing good. You can't over-pull taffy so don't worry about over doing it. You can under-pull taffy though, so when in doubt, keep going.

  9. Roll out into long snake - This is the part where your kindergarten Play Dough snake making skills come in handy.

  10. Cut with Pizza cutter or scissors and wrap in waxed paper. - Candy will stay for a long time.

    If you use butter, it will go rancid eventually.
    That's why I want to try glycerin instead of butter next time. With glycerin instead it should be pretty much nonperishable.

Well Chad, I hope you'll give this recipe a try and report back to see if you have better success - no more taffy getting too hard and chewy! :)


Comments for Taffy Getting Too Hard And Chewy

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Jul 03, 2019
Hard store bought taffy
by: Candy lover

How do you keep your store bought taffy,soft in a candy dish

Jun 21, 2017
Glycerin for Butter Substitute
by: Angie from chocolate-candy-mall.com

Hi Sandi,
I would presume that you would use the same amount of glycerin for the butter substitute. Glycerin can usually be found in the baking section of the store or at a candy supply store. I know Wilton makes a glycerin but there are other brands too. Let me know if you try it and how it works out for you.

Jun 20, 2017
How much glycerine?
by: Sandi

If you substitute glycerin for the butter how much do you use? And where do you buy glycein?

Click here to add your own comments

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