Love them or hate them the candy kiss is one of the most iconic of Halloween treats and they tend to be the very last candy to be gobbled up. We aim to change all that with this delicious homemade version that can be enjoyed year round. It’s Halloween tonight, time to thwart ghouls, goblins, tramps and vamps by treating them. Most of us already have an arsenal of tried and true store-bought goodies to shell out. Some have even gone to great lengths to make sure the treats are homemade, and-horrors- even good for you. We have always considered a Halloween treat that is good for you to be the equivalent of receiving an educational toy as a birthday present, or signing a pre-nup agreement the night of your wedding engagement.
Halloween should be the one night when we can indulge in a little old-fashioned fun; treating ourselves and the little monsters that come calling to something both sweet and sinister. Is a chocolate bar really good for a kid? File under rhetorical question of the day. What about popcorn balls, bags of chips, licorice twizzlers and candy corn? One of the most enduring Halloween candies is the much maligned Halloween Kiss, the Candy Kiss, the dangerously chewy molasses-based taffy that wreaks havoc on dental work. The unmistakable orange and black wax paper candy is an image incontrovertibly identified with All Hallows’ Eve, right up there with the jack o’ lantern.
If you are planning a Halloween party this weekend, why not plan an old-fashioned molasses taffy pull? Certainly it is a lot more fun than watching a semi-comatose congregation of little zombies zonked out in front of a flat screen playing Minecraft. You probably have the ingredients for candy kisses in your pantry right now; sugar, molasses, butter, vinegar, baking soda and a little water. No preservatives, no modified corn syrup, no shame. And no special equipment is needed; just a couple buttery hands and you’re off to the races. Split the kids into teams of two and have them face each other, pulling a blob of taffy between them. Is it a little messy? Yes, a taffy pull is a little messy. But just ask the kids; if it ain’t messy, it ain’t fun.
Molasses Halloween Kisses
makes about 2 dozen pieces 2 cups white or brown sugar 1 cup molasses ¼ cup water 2 teaspoons vinegar 2 tablespoons butter 1/3 teaspoon baking soda Put the first four ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot, place on medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir until your candy thermometer reaches 250 F. This is also known as the “hard ball stage” so if you are not using a thermometer, use this technique. Take the pot off the burner and stir in the butter and soda, then pour mixture onto a buttered cookie sheet and let it cool for about 15 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, butter your hands and fold the slab in half and start pulling the taffy, stretching it until it doubles in length. Then fold in half again and repeat, pulling and folding until several times until the taffy becomes glossy and golden, and starts to stiffen. Stretch the candy rope into desired thickness, about 1/2-3/4 an inch in diameter, cut into pieces about 1 inch in length. Wrap in wax paper and store in a re-sealable container or ziplock bag to keep it from totally drying out.