Old Fashion Candies
The Candy Man
When I was a young girl, no more than seven, our neighborhood was visited once every two weeks by the candy man. I realize this is highly unusual but yes we really had a candy man. He drove a truck much like the ice cream man only he sold candy. Not any candy but the most wonderful candies you can image.
His truck had a specific ringing of the bell that every child could hear from a mile away and when the sound struck the air every child came to a halt, smiles spread and you could hear the stampede of little feet running to the curb!
All of the candy that the candy man sold was fresh and what appeared to be homemade. I can remember the huge genuine smile that spread across his face when he saw the children lined up down the street but I can't remember what he looked like. Funny how that plays but either way his candy on the other hand was unforgettable.
Especially the freshly pulled salt water taffy. He had a pullying device right there on the truck and it would be pulling the taffy as my eyes stayed fixed upon it. I was really watching it to make sure that it didn't sell out before I got a chance at my turn. What looked like a mile long cut to me was more likely a foot in length but still more than enough for any child. The flavor was like nothing I had ever known and nothing in the stores could compare.
Since my childhood I've visited many candy stores, in the mountains, on vacations, at the beach and still nothing comes close to the candy mans salt water taffy. That little piece of heaven that left me transfixed.
I'm not really sure as to why other than some physiological play but salt water taffy still holds to be one of my favorite candies.
Old Fashion Pulled Taffy
3 c. sugar
2 c. light corn syrup (not quite 2 cups you want to be right under the 2 cup line)
1 tsp. vanilla, peppermint or any other flavoring extract you desire
1 c. water
2 tbsp. butter
Mix sugar, corn syrup and water in a good size pot. Stir until sugar dissolves and insert a good candy thermometer and bring to a boil. (tip: make sure you have a good candy thermometer. Not all candy thermometers are equal). Cook to 256 degrees, stirring as little as possible but using a pastry brush push the candy that makes its way on the sides down. (tip: before doing so dip your pastry brush into cold water, one time only). Add the butter to mixture, and blend lightly, almost in a light folding motion. Remove from heat and pour into cool, buttered shallow pan, platter or tray.
With a heavy spatula, work the candy by turning the edges toward the center. While the candy cools, make a few gashes in the surface and add flavoring. Work the flavoring into the mixture (this is a wonderful arm exercise). When the mass is cool enough to handle, gather it up in well-buttered hands (make sure you use real butter and gloves) and begin pulling (a great way to work your arms and burn calories before eating it!). Continue pulling until a shiny gloss, it will take a few minutes! Cut with scissors, wrap in wax paper, tie the ends with ribbon and give as gifts or keep for a late night tongue pleaser.
NOTE: If you want the taffy to have color use a couple of drops of food coloring when you add the flavor.