Friday, May 23, 2014

National Taffy Day: Turkish Taffy

Today is National Taffy Day. I haven't made taffy since I was a child, and then it was with my Aunt Anne. She was an inspiration for all things foodie, woodsy, gardening, and crafty, so this was a natural. She'd gather all the cousins, and we would make and pull taffy.

At the same time, I wasn't adverse to store bought taffy. It was a treat, really. There was a penny candy store I used to stop at after lunch (yes, we went home for lunch at my first elementary school) and buy a penny or two worth of candy. One of my favorites, and I think it may have cost a nickel, was Bonomo's Chocolate Turkish Taffy. My favorite was banana, but I also liked CHOCOLATE. You can buy Bonomo's Turkish Taffy online, although the price is more like $1.20. Times change.

Invented in Coney Island in the 1940s by Victor Bonomo, Bonomo's Turkish Taffy is a mixture of corn syrup and egg whites that are cooked, then baked. It's a hard taffy-like bar that you hit on the surface and eat the smaller broken pieces--or if you're like me--you just suck the whole thing into a sticky mess. Bonomo's Turkish Taffy is actually neither Turkish or taffy, but a kind of nougat, although Bonomo was a Sephardic Jew who traced his ancestry to Turkey. Bonomo died in 1999 at his home in Bal Harbour at the age of 100. He sold the company 40 years ago. It changed hands a few times becoming part of Tootsie Roll Industries of Chicago, which stopped making the candy in 1989, but it was revived in 2010 and is now available in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and banana. This is truly a retro candy! Read more of the history at Old Time Candy.

So without a chocolate taffy recipe of my own, I went to Alton Brown on the Food Network, of course. Knew he'd have one.  Love to hear if you make this one---or if you have a taffy recipe of your own.


2 cups sugar
2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, plus additional for greasing pan and hands

In heavy medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add corn syrup, water, and vinegar to pan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar and cocoa dissolve, raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, clip candy thermometer to side of pan and cook until mixture reaches 260 degrees F. Remove pan from heat, add the butter and stir. Butter edges of sheet pan, line with silicone baking sheet and pour on taffy. Allow to cool until you are able to handle it.

Once you are able to handle the taffy, don vinyl gloves, butter them, and begin to fold taffy in thirds using the silicone mat. Pick up taffy and begin to pull folding the taffy back on itself repeatedly twisting as you go. Taffy is done when it lightens in color, takes on a sheen, and becomes too hard to pull. Roll into log, cut into fourths, roll each fourth into a 1-inch wide log, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Making sure to keep pieces separated or they will stick to each other. Wrap individual pieces of candy in waxed paper. Store in airtight container 3 to 5 days.

And, for your viewing pleasure, a Bonomo Turkish Taffy TV Ad from the 1950s

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