Love and Olive Oil

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

I got myself into a bit of a sticky situation. In more ways than one.

First of all let’s not even mention the fact that this is October’s kitchen challenge, and it is now January. Yes, I know. I’m a total slacker.

October was crazy busy. And so was November, for that matter. I had wanted to make a video for this post, and I kept putting it off until I knew I had a good chunk of time to film it. Plus it had to be a dry day (bah humbug humidity). I intentionally set aside a full day around Christmas to film, only to come down with a serious case of Ms. Cranky Pants that morning, and scrapped my plans for the sake of my husband (apparently I’m not very nice when I’m grumpy).

I was gung ho and ready to go the following weekend, only to discover that I was completely out of corn syrup. Of course. This also happened to be the day that it was LITERALLY 2 degrees outside, so no way in (frozen) hell I was going outside to get more.

Good news is I finally got it done. No video, but once you see how it all went down I think that’s probably a good thing. Better late than never, right?

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

I decided to make a peach flavored taffy, using LorAnn flavoring oils. The apple would have been a good option too. The apricot? Cough syrup. Blech.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

It looks pretty electric orange at this point. I knew the taffy would get significantly lighter once pulled so I probably added a bit more food coloring than I needed to.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

Like magma. Sweet liquid magma.

Once the taffy is cool enough to handle, that’s when the “fun” begins. I buttered up my hands, picked up the warm sugar glob, and starting “pulling”. Quotes intentional, because what I was doing wasn’t exactly “pulling” and it sure wasn’t “fun”.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

I quickly found myself in a rather sticky situation.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

This stuff was stickier than marshmallow fluff.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

Despite my buttered hands, I was trapped.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

Somehow I managed to escape my gluey handcuffs. I dumped the orange mess and raised the white flag.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

I curled up on the couch to wallow in my failure, while Taylor started cleaning up my major mess. A few minutes later I look up from my pity party and see this…

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

Taffy. It actually looks like taffy. And can I mention that he has no butter on his hands whatsoever?

My husband is naturally non-stick, apparently.

He’s a veritable taffy wrangler.

And honestly? He’s the only reason you’re getting a post here today, because I don’t think I would have tried it again. He saved it. He saved my taffy.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy

The result was good. But more like a Laffy Taffy than salt water taffy. Maybe it needed more pulling, but it wasn’t quite as airy as I think it should have been. But since I like Laffy Taffy, I was ok with that. It worked and was edible, and that’s enough for me to call it a victory.

Salt Water Taffy

Did you make this recipe?


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon glycerine
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • food coloring and flavoring


  1. Prepare your work surface by generously buttering a half-sheet pan. Have a pastry scraper, kitchen shears, and extra butter nearby.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in corn syrup, butter, water, glycerine, and salt. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil. Once it starts boiling, stop stirring, and begin monitoring the temperature, until it reaches 254 degrees F or a few drops tested in cold water form a hard ball that holds its shape (hard-ball stage). Remove from heat and stir in food coloring and flavoring.
  3. Pour hot sugar mixture onto your prepared baking sheet. Let cool, folding sugar in on itself using a buttered pastry scraper to ensure the taffy cools evenly.
  4. When the taffy is just cool enough to handle, butter your hands and start pulling the taffy. Pull the taffy into a long rope, then fold it in half and in half again. Twist and pull into another long rope and repeat. The taffy is done when it is lighter in color and firm enough to hold its shape. Stretch into a 1-inch thick rope and cut into bite-size pieces using buttered kitchen shears.
  5. Wrap each piece of taffy in waxed or parchment paper. Taffy will keep best in an airtight container for up to two months (or until it is too hard to chew).

Recipe from Candy (The Good Cook Techniques & Recipes Series).

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

Did you make this recipe?

Let us know what you think!
Leave a Comment below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #loveandoliveoil.

October Kitchen Challenge: Salt Water Taffy

October Kitchen Challenge - Saltwater TaffyI do want to acknowledge Cat and Liz, the only two brave souls who attempted this sticky challenge (meeting the deadline too, I might add). Don’t their results look fabulous? Kudos to them!

In other (good) news: after an unintentional three-month hiatus, Kitchen Challenge is officially back! The plan is to tackle bi-monthly challenges this year, giving us all a bit more time to complete them amidst our busy schedules. So get your spatulas ready, next week I’ll be announcing the February challenge. I promise, it’s a good one!

There may be affiliate links in this post. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Hello, I’m a pastry chef and while I haven’t made this recipe Ive made many just like it. As soon as I saw what happened with yours I knew I had to leave a comment to help out.

    Something you can try is stretching it with your bench scraper, I would oil it not butter it. Vegetable oil works well. You want the candy in a glob on a marble table if possible if not stainless or other should work fine but oiled surface and press and pull with the bench scraper onto the candy. It should form a lighter, airy color like you would in mid-air. This is defintely less mess. Hope this helps!

  2. Is there a way to make this sugar free?

  3. Hi she could be right about the recipe, candy making is like baking. According to Emeril Lagasse
    “When you cook, you use recipes, when you bake you use formulas.” Candy making is a science, so, Formulas. I was looking at that recipe and thinking it looked heavy on the corn syrup to sugar ratio. I have never used glycerin in home candy making, myself. Have you checked your thermometer for accuracy? 254° is right at the bottom of hard ball stage. If yours is running 1-2°low, it wasn’t ready. You can’t count on the water test for hard ball stage, it’s very subjective. The coldness of the water, the warmth of your hands, the actual temperature, and ratio of sugar to corn syrup all affect it. Not just humidity, but barometric pressure affects the outcome. High pressure areas are best for candy making. Factories can control humidity, temperature and pressure using building technique and management techniques. That way they can be in production every day. Too much corn syrup might have been a factor, or the amount of flavoring and color all can tip the moisture to sugar ratio off. It might have been too hot. One final thing, make sure you have 100% CANE (as in sugar cane) Sugar. Most all of Domino Sugar carries the statement cane sugar on the bag or box. Another maker, US Sugar, that sells largely in plastic bags, uses a lot of beet sugar. Beet sugar tastes the same, but crystallizes slightly differently. It can cause problems with the final setup, being too liquid, or not setting up at all. So my thoughts are: 1) Try another recipe 2) Check your thermometer 3) Go to 255°- 256° for a margin of error 3) use the professional flavoring you mentioned and the gel food coloring so the moisture remains unchanged 4) wait longer before pulling(use a wooden spoon handle to dent the resting candy, if the dent fills in it is too hot, when the dent stays, it is ready to pull) 5) was the butter you used on your hands room temperature, if it was cold you didn’t coat your hands enough. Use room temperature Butter Crisco. It won’t make any change in flavor with the candy. It is much greaser than butter and a lot less expensive 6) did your recipe have corn starch? I don’t remember it and most Taffy does have it 7) Make Sure you are using CANE sugar, the store brand might be beet sugar, be careful measuring that corn syrup( grease the measuring item first for more accurate measuring. 8) Band and Tie back your hair and don’t wear your favorite sweater, wear a short sleeve or 3/4 sleeve cotton shirt that looks nice on camera, but can get washed in hot water. You haven’t had a nightmare until you get candy syrup in your hair or discarded a $150.00 cashmere sweater away because you or the cleaner shrunk, or discolored the area trying to remove that dye stain. Pulling Taffy is fun for children, just divide the amount according to size of hands and length of arms. Little ones need to work over cookie sheets set on chair seats in old clothes, with hair out of danger. They may drop the Taffy or need to put it down when arms need a break. My Mother used to setup Taffy for us to pull, when she had a lot of work to do. It kept us busy and out of her hair.

  4. Okay. Not to be rude or anything. But this was the worst taffy recipe I have ever tried. Maybe I’m doing something wrong. I don’t know. But I tried to make this taffy (and I have made other taffy recipes before) and not only was it the hardest thing to pull, it was only possible to pull it while it was super hot. So, being the determined person I am, I pulled it while it was super hot but not too hot to where I couldn’t touch it at all but that was a mistake cause I burnt my fingers on the taffy. So ya. Defiantly not using this recipe again. But that’s only my opinion. 

  5. Whoops bad spelling.  1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  6. If you add 1/8 tsy baking soda it will make the taffy lighter and softer…less like Laffy taffy.
    Great photos !

  7. I was browsing the web for a taffy recipe and I came about this post. These pictures are perfect and the writing is very enjoyable. I used some of your tips when I tried this recipe on my blog, and it turned out great. I cant wait to read more posts!!!

  8. UI am the same way when I get frustrated I have to walk away before I end up throwing it all violently in the trash. The last time I made potica with my dad this happened. He has the touch for rolling up that think delicate dough. Glad the taffy came out!

  9. Love your step by step pics!  Looks like a fun thing to do with kids?  Or maybe not :-)

  10. Lovely pictures!! 

  11. Taffy always makes me happy. But…your pictures? Oh my gosh, LOVE!! So much fun!!

  12. Ahh, lovely pictures, you are very cute :)! I am throwing a party with friends who have two little kids, I think I’ve just found what will please them. Thanks a lot for the post!

  13. That’s too funny!! Oh man. I’m sorry you had such a hard time with the taffy haha, I definitely found that once I let it cool to a lukewarm temp, it was much easier to work with. Looks lovely! I would have liked to have tried apricot… although I’ve never heard of apricot cough syrup? Is that something that’s common in the U.S.?

  14. Wow, it looks like you REALLY did find yourself in a sticky situation! This recipe looks delicious (and fun…) but I may need to enlist a friend to help me. I may need the support for this sticky of a recipe. 

  15. Wow, what a fun post and great recipe!

  16. Beautiful.

  17. Haha this sounds like me! The second it went south I would’ve thrown an epic fit and said that I’d never try it again. 
    I love Laffy Taffy too so you’re lucky your husband can now make it for you whenever you want it ;) 

  18. Your so cute!  Looks like a fun mess!  I love Salt Water Taffy!  Awesome job making it!

  19. I’ve never made taffy before, but you’ve officially inspired me to take on the task! Lovely photos!

  20. I’ve always wanted to make my own! This is so exciting :) 

  21. Love the pictures! I’ve always wanted to try making salt water taffy, these look great!

  22. This is so cool! I’ve always wanted to tackle homemade candy of some sort – now, I just might…

  23. hurray for no-stick husbands. so glad the challenge is back – I’m in!

  24. Your pictures are cracking me up! These taffies are calling my name!

  25. I can’t believe you made your own!!! And the photos of making this are too funny! Looks like you guys had a blast!

  26. Love the pictures! These taffies look amazing! Just send the leftovers (I doubt there is any left) on over! ;)

  27. Linds these pictures are hilarious!!!  glad you guys finally got it figured out ;)

  28. I want to be naturally non-stick too!! Love that you posted your sticky pictures…too funny!

  29. Awww he saved your taffy- how cute :) And you guys are seriously the greatest couple! I love this post.

  30. what a sugar hero, lucky lady!  i might be a little scared to do this after seeing the adorable faces made whilst attempting, but I love a project so I’m very tempted…thanks for sharing!

  31. The first time I made taffy I made the same mistake as you, I tried to pull it too soon!  I’ve since learned to let it sit until just barely warm and then start pulling. Love the idea of peach taffy. LorAnn oils are the best!

  32. I am loving these pictures! You are so cute! 
    So glad your hubby is a non-sticky man so you could post these!  I love love love salt water taffy AND laffy taffy…so if it tastes like one of those I am going to dieeee.
    Thanks for a new challenge to attempt!

  33. This is my fave post ever!! The pics are just amazing! The pic of you right under ‘This stuff was stickier than marshmallow fluff’ just tells it all! Thanks for posting them :) 

    And I can only imagine JUST how sticky this stuff really was! This post is so prime for Halloween! I bet it’ll go crazy around that time! I’d go crazy for a piece of this stuff now. Love salt water taffy!

Did you make this recipe? Leave a Review »