For contagious fun on a cold winter’s day, try reviving a delightful turn of the century tradition: pulling taffy. Here’s how to make the old-fashioned vinegar kind:
1. In a medium saucepan combine 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbs. white distilled vinegar, and 1 1/2 tsp. butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat and continue to cook without stirring to 260° on candy thermometer (or until a small amount of syrup forms a firm ball when dropped in very cold water). Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract. Immediately pour into buttered 13x9 inch baking pan and set aside until cool enough to handle (about 15 minutes).
2. With clean, lightly buttered fingers, pull taffy to perfection. First, gather the warn candy into a ball, divide with a butter knife and give to as many as 4 taffy pullers (more helpers can participate by trading off the candy every 2 minutes or so). Then, pull and stretch the taffy slowly until hands are approximately 18 inches apart, and fold half of the candy back on the other half before stretching again. Don’t twist strands (it makes taffy less fluffy), but continue pulling and folding until taffy gains a satiny luster and begins getting a little stiff (about 6 to 8 minutes). Now form taffy into an egg shape and lay it flat on its side on a clean surface. Start pulling from the narrow end into a short rope 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the rope in bite-sized pieces with clean, buttered scissors. Keep pulling from the small end to form a rope and cutting until all the taffy is sectioned. Wrap each piece in a small square of waxed paper; twist ends. Makes 75 - 1 inch pieces.