This recipe seemed straightforward enough. Heat water, cocoa powder, sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, baking soda, and salt on the stove until it reaches 250 degrees, stir in butter, pour it out onto a Silpat until it's cool enough to handle, pull the taffy for about ten minutes, cool completely, and then cut into pieces. Midway through making the taffy, I realized that there is an error in the recipe somewhere. The recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of butter, but directs you to include butter (an unspecified quantity) with the other ingredients before heating on the stove, as well as 2 tablespoons at the end once the mixture reaches 250 degrees -- so either the recipe requires more than 2 tablespoons of butter, or you're not really supposed to add butter at two different times. Unsure of what to do, I added 2 tablespoons of butter both at the beginning and the end. The resulting taffies were very hard -- almost impossible to cut, and a real chore to chew. I tried the recipe again adding only the 2 tablespoons of butter at the end, and the texture was much better.
In fact, these taffies are quite similar to Tootsie Rolls. They are chocolately, and the texture is very close to the real thing -- super chewy, but not difficult to eat. When I wrapped the taffies in wax paper, they took on the shape of the wrapper, just like a real Tootsie Roll does. I left a few taffies unwrapped for a day, and the sharp cut edges on the taffies rounded out a bit. Below, the taffy on the left was wrapped in wax paper, but the one of the right was left out unwrapped.
Making these taffies is a bit of work. Pulling the taffy was tiring -- especially because I had to do it twice! But I was happy with the result. Not sure it I'm happy enough to make these again instead of just spending a couple of bucks on a bag of Tootsie Rolls -- but at least now I know it's an option!
Recipe: "Better-Than-Tootsie Taffy," from Chocolate Bar: Recipes and Entertaining Ideas for Living the Sweet Life by Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson.
- "Stuck in the House with a Bunch of Pistachios: Nut Brittle and Madeleines," December 28, 2009.
- "A Lovely Little Bite: Salted Caramels," November 6, 2009.