Recipe One

One is for a taffy, the other for another sort of candy.

Comments on the candy...

Recipe 1: From Joy of Cooking, 1974, p540.
Heavy pan, big enough to account for foaming.

2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup butter
2 tbs water
2 tbs vinegar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (in this case, it was Durkee brand).

Stir all ingredients except pepper together over low heat until sugar dissolved. Boil gently, stirring frequently, until candy is at hard crack stage: 300 degrees. Add pepper at the end of the boiling. Drop candy from teaspoon onto buttered slab or foil to form patties.

Easy? There are candy tricks: Never double recipes, use a large enough pan, and apparently candy thermometers are fairly inexpensive and well worth the price. Above 200 degrees, the temp really takes off, and has to be watched carefully.

Stages of candy:

  • Stage 1: softball-234-240° F- candy dropped into cold water is soft.
  • Stage 2: firm ball, 242-248° F, candy in cold water is firm, but flattens under pressure.
  • Stage 3: Hardball, 250-268° F, candy is hard, but pliable.
    Soft Crack: Candy makes hard but not brittle threads 270-290° F.
    Hard Crack: threads are hard and brittle, 300-310° F.

So, without a candy thermometer, you can approximate temperatures

Comments Author: Lucie Bergmann Shuster (
I must take issue with the recipe for the cayenne candy. I presume it is for chemo mouth sores, and GI tract problems. The quantity of cayenne is far to low for the volume to be effective. I am inclined to recommend 1/4 cup of cayenne, or certainly 2 tablespoons worth per recipe. In both cases it is imperative that the pepper be added before the candy hardens up or while the conncoction is in the cooling state.

My source of info is Michael Tierra, "The Way of Herbs". This is what he says - "Taken as a daily tonic, one-quarter teaspoon three times daily,..." - this is straight pepper. The key concern is that the pepper gets hotter when heated.

I'd opt for recipe number two and butter hands with pepper. Adding 1/8 of a teaspoon per taffy candy. That should do the trick, providing the patient isn't troubled by benign gall stones.


Recipe Two

Betty Crocker, p164 (no other data)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup water
1 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs butter or marg
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8x8x2 buttered pan
In 2 qt saucepan, add sugar, corn syrup, water, cornstarch, butter and salt. Over medium heat, stirring constantly till hard ball stage (256°F). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pepper. When cool enough to handle, butter hands and pull until satiny and stiff. Pull into long strips, cut into 1" pieces, and wrap with wax paper. (I don't know what the buttered pan is for.)