Monday, February 21, 2011

Cherry Turkish Taffy

Is there a candy from your childhood that you miss? Something that reminds you of warm summers riding your bike around the neighborhood? Maybe a sweet that you always bought at the candy store? Perhaps it was a confection that made a trip to the movies worthwhile? I think that we all have that one treat that holds sweet memories and most likely you can’t get that candy anymore. Why do candy companies do that to us? They get us hooked on something delicious then take it away, like dealers. Sucrose dealers.



When I was little, my mom worked nights. She was the banquet manager at a hotel and had to manage the big events that occurred on the weekends. This meant that it was up to dad to entertain my brother and I. One of our favorite Saturday night events was to head to the movies. I remember watching Jurassic Park, Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country and Titanic with my boys. Guess who picked the last movie, ha ha, winner!


Before we would head to the movie theater, we would stop at the local 7-11. We would stock up on cokes and candies, because who wants to pay ridiculous movie theater prices? My candy of choice would inevitably be Tangy Taffy. A big (HUGE) slab of taffy, with a sour bite and an amazing flavor. With your choice of grape, strawberry or cherry, it was hard to go wrong with this treat. It would last for hours and turn your tongue colors. The perfect movie candy.


It’s funny that this was my favorite candy, because my mom also had a childhood love of taffy. Although oddly enough, you can still buy her favorite brand. My mom recalls heading to the theater with a dollar and being able to purchase her ticket and have enough left over for some Bomono Turkish taffy. Bomono taffy was available in strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and banana, just like a banana split!

This recent batch of candy came out more like Bomono than it did like Tangy taffy. I think it needs some citric acid to get that tangy flavor. Next batch!

Cherry Turkish Taffy

1 egg white
2 ½ cups sugar
½ cup water
¼ tsp cornstarch
1 cup cherry jam
Butter

Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, butter parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) whip egg white to soft peaks. Set aside and prepare the sugar.

Combine sugar, water and cornstarch in a medium stockpot. Stir until all ingredients are moistened. Heat to medium, until boiling. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals from the walls of the pot. Continue heating until the temperature reaches 260 F.

Add cherry jam and stir until dissolved (be careful, the solution will boil up). Continue heating until the temperature comes back to 260 F.

Turn on your mixer and slowly add cherry syrup to egg white. Once added, continue to mix for another 15 minutes. The taffy should feel warm and be very stiff.

Pour taffy onto your prepared pan. Using a wet spatula, or buttered hands, smooth the taffy to the edges of the pan. Place pan in the freezer to firm up. Remove from the freezer after about 20 minutes. Either break into uneven pieces by shattering the frozen taffy, or allow to warm and cut with cooking shears. Store between sheets of parchment paper.

To clean the mixing bowl, add very, very hot water and allow to sit. Any remaining taffy will slowly dissolve into the hot water.
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