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Rockin' R Ranch

Antimony, Utah

Heritage Recipe

Mom's Taffy

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Rockin' R Ranch
775 N. Hwy 22
Antimony, UT 84712
(801) 733-9538
Fax: (801) 942-2680

The following recipe is for Mom's Taffy. This is a delicious "melt in-your-mouth" taffy that is wonderfully light and crispy. It is not a chewy taffy. The secret to what makes this taffy so good is stretching it while it is still very hot. Most people don't have the stamina and courage to do this.

My mother's mother (Manilla Lundgreen) made this taffy when my mother (Mona Black) was growing up. My mother has five siblings, yet she is the only one who mastered the ability and carried on the tradition. So when we have our bi-annual family reunions with my mother's brothers and sisters and their families (her parents are no longer living), everyone (all 150 people) wants Mom to make her taffy.

When I was younger, I loved to be the child chosen to help make the final stretch of the taffy as I held on with thumb and forefinger and backed the length of the room. After we had stretched it as long and thin as we could, almost to the breaking point, I would rush to the table so we could lay it out before it hardened. I seldom noticed how Mom's hands would be red and sometimes blistered from working with such hot taffy. This was her personal sacrifice to us because she knew we enjoyed it so much.

After breaking and gathering up the taffy, there would often be little slivers of the taffy that had broken off left on the table. We children would try to gather up as much as we could for ourselves. The end piece of the taffy, where the thumbs and forefingers had pressed, were also coveted, as we could suck on them and they would last forever.

This taffy has been made for countless weddings (including all of her children's) and all other special occasions. Mom is now in her seventies. She has four daughters and four sons. We have not yet decided which one of us will carry on this tradition. We're all a little too wimpy.

But Mom is an amazing woman. She's a wonderful cook and has worked hard her entire life. Until recent years, she did all of the cooking for the guests at the Rockin' R Ranch, which she and my father have built up over the years. She still takes an active hand in the cooking and other lodge responsibilities.

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Your choice of flavoring
Food coloring

Cook on high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cover with lid (this helps to dissolve the crystals on the sides of the pan). Continue boiling on high heat until it just starts to change to a light caramel color (about 300 degrees or slightly more). Take off the burner and hold to the light, checking the color to see if it's done. When done, pour onto 2 buttered plates. Keep one warm (in a barely warm oven) and work with the other.

You can place the plate you're working with onto cold water to cool the edges (it only takes a few seconds). With a butter knife, fold the outside edges in towards the middle until the middle looks a little firm. Make a dent in the middle and add 1/2 capful of flavoring (almond for white, mint for green) and 3 drops of food coloring. Continue folding edges into the center with a knife until the flavoring and coloring have worked in the candy. Butter the corner of a bread board and scrape the taffy onto it. Pick up the candy with your hands immediately and begin working with it by holding the very ends and stretching and pulling it. It's very hot! Don't butter your hands. (You won't really need to, and the butter on your hands could work into the taffy, ruining the texture.)

The further you can stretch it out each time, the lighter the taffy will be. Twist it as you stretch it. When it starts to firm up, have someone hold the other end and stretch it across the room as long and thin as you can without breaking it. (Make sure you have plenty of room with a table nearby.) Quickly lay it on the table, curving it to fit. Immediately make indents with a butter knife every 3 or so inches. Let cool and break at indentations. This taffy is wonderfully light and crisp. It is not chewy. Good luck and have some burn ointment nearby. Oh, and don't forget your other plate is in the oven.

P.S. There are only two times when Mom couldn't get this recipe to work, once in Japan and once in Alaska. She's not sure why, but she thinks it has something to do with the altitude.

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