Taffy is a popular sweet treat that has been around for over 150 years. While every chef and candy shop has their own way of making their taffy recipes stand out, the best taffy is always made with the same standard ingredients like boiled sugar, water, and a combining fat like oil or butter. There are even unique textures, flavors, and styles of taffy - like “Colorado style taffy” - that feature softer, less sticky, delectable morsels of taffy heaven!
Want to learn more about how this popular candy is made? Keep reading to dive into the world of taffy and get an inside look at how saltwater taffy is made.
Most food historians believe that taffy made its way to the U.S. shortly after the Civil War in the late 19th-century. Initially resembling the British version of toffee - a more brittle concoction of syrup and butter - taffy was a popular flavored candy for locals.
Around 1880, saltwater taffy was invented in Atlantic City, New Jersey and soon became a staple for seaside towns, ocean resorts, and amusement parks. Though the characteristic ingredient wasn’t actually present in the recipe, the addition of water to the mixture resulted in a more satisfying (and popular!) consistency.
Originally, the candy was hand-pulled using a hook system before being cooled and then cut into smaller, bite-size pieces. However, modern inventions have made this process a bit easier with the help of pulling machines.
Taffy is made using ingredients like corn syrup, sugar, oil, honey, egg whites, salt, and other natural and artificial flavors. Once the candy ingredients are heated to the perfect temperature and mixed thoroughly, it starts to transform into a sticky mixture.
This “candy glob” base must then be transferred to a hollow table filled with water to help the mixture cool evenly while it is worked by hand. Coloring is then added as the taffy mixture continues to take shape into a long taffy rope with the help of machines. The taffy rope then gets added onto the pulling machine as flavors are blended in.
This process is also what adds to the airy texture of the taffy. Once the flavors and colors are fully dispersed, the taffy rope is cut into bite-sized pieces and each piece is carefully wrapped in wax paper.
When it comes to taffy flavors, your options are anything but limited. Saltwater taffy is one of the many candies that features dozens of flavor profiles. Chocolate lovers rejoice with flavored taffy like Chocolate Vanilla Swirl, Chocolate Strawberry, and Chocolate. Brighten your day with tangy fruit flavors like Key Lime, Raspberry, and Blood Orange.