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Making Pull Candy – the Old-Fashioned Way

Pull Candy Recipe – Old Time Stewed Sugar 

Try this recipe for old-fashioned Pull Candy -- just like your grandmother used to make. Make fun kitchen memories with your kids | chloesblog.bigmill.com

Old Fashioned Pull Candy is still the best!

My mother called this wonderful confection pull candy or stewed sugar. Some folks call it taffy. When she described a child’s pretty blond hair she would say it was the color of stewed sugar — a gorgeous translucent white color with a faint golden tint.

Making Pull Candy – the Old-Fashioned Way

Making Pull Candy – the Old-Fashioned Way


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • Soft butter for greasing hands and cooling surface – at least a stick of butter


  • You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

  • Stir together the sugar, water and vinegar in a heavy saucepan. Clip on candy thermometer and don’t let it touch the bottom of the cooking pan.

  • Heat the sugar syrup until the candy thermometer reaches the hard ball stage or 260-265 degrees. Don’t stir while it is cooking.

  • Slowly pour the syrup onto a buttered surface like a large cutting board. Be very careful — this is a molten mass of hot syrup. DO NOT scrape bowl. Just let whatever candy comes out, come out. Allow candy to cool for a few minutes.

  • As soon as the syrup is slightly cooled, scrape it into a large ball. If you are going to add any flavorings like vanilla or peppermint, now is the time to do this. Flip the ball of candy over several times using some sort of scraper like a candy scraper.

  • When it is cool enough to handle, gather the ball of candy into your well-greased hands and pull the candy using both hands until you have reached as far as you can. Fold the pulled part over and repeat. Do this for about 4-5 minutes or until the candy is getting stiff and has turned a beautiful white color.

  • Once this happens, pull out a long rope of candy about 1/2? thick. You can twist this if you want a twisted look for your candy. Lay it out on waxed paper to cool.

  • When it has thoroughly cooled, break it into 1 1/2 ” pieces. Wrap each piece of candy in waxed paper and store in airtight container.

  • Yield: 50 pieces about 1 1/2 “-2” long
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Pull Candy, old fashioned taffy or stewed sugar just like our grandmothers made. How to make it on Chloe's Blog | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/pull-candy-recipe


Making this recipe during the holidays or in the New Year seems appropriate for me – it brings back memories of winter on the farm in the kitchen with my mother who was also named Chloe. She told me that when she was growing up, folks in the neighborhood would have a Candy Pulling party and they had so much fun.

This is an old recipe. I haven’t seen or heard of it in many years. It also is very inexpensive to make, which may explain why it was so popular in its day. If you are going to try this, remove your rings or else they will be sticky mess.

To make this candy I used my mother’s Betty Furness Candy Thermometer that she bought in the 1950s.

Vintage kitchen essentials: Old Candy Thermometer from Big Mill Bed and Breakfast | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/pull-candy-recipe/

Note how the candy turns a glistening white color – the color of stewed sugar.

Old Fashioned Pull Candy | chloesblog.bigmill.com

Photo #1 (below) is of the molten stewed sugar.  Step #2 is after it has been pulled several times and then Step #3 shows what happens after the sugar has been pulled for several minutes.

Make fun memories with your family with this recipe for old-fashioned "Pull Candy" (also called taffy) | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/pull-candy-recipe/

Chloe Tuttle, Big Mill Bed and Breakfast near Greenville NC

PS: I wanted to include a video of the “pulling” phase, but I didn’t have enough hands on deck to pull it off (bad pun). I did find a video on YouTube of two folks pulling taffy (they call it “cream candy”) that’ll give you a good idea of how it’s done.

Chloe is the Innkeeper at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast, Williamston, NC 252-792-8787

Author: Chloe Tuttle

I am a farm girl who sailed the world, returned home to the family farm and opened Big Mill Bed and Breakfast. Join us for a quiet getaway 252-792-8787.

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