I’d like to provide my children with healthier candy if that is possible. I’m laughing as I write, because how could candy be healthy? But I was thinking that maybe candy without synthetic food dyes would be a good start.
Yes, I laughed, too, when I read your question, but you are right. Candy can be made at home that is healthier than candy bought from a store. You can make candy free of dyes, artificial flavors, and even refined sugar. Making candy is also a really fun project to do with children. Here are directions and a recipe for an old-time candy pull to make Molasses Taffy, and hey, molasses is actually nutritious!
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 1 cup sugar (substitute Sucanat, available in health food stores, for a whole food sugar)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Candy thermometer
Butter enough cookie sheets for each child to have one. Combine the molasses, vinegar, sugar and salt in a pan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Cover the pan and cook without stirring until the syrup has reached the firm-ball stage (240 F). (You’ll need to uncover the syrup to take the temperature.) Add the butter bit by bit at this state, and continue boiling the syrup on a low heat until it reaches 270F.
Very, very carefully pour the taffy equally between the cookie sheets. The syrup is dangerously hot, so make sure you don’t spill any, and keep all children away while you pour. Oil yours and the children’s hands. Let the taffy cool for five minutes or so, and then use spatulas or candy scrapers to start turning it until it is cool enough to handle. Pick up the glob of candy, and starting pulling it out in a strand—a foot or more—and then folding it back on itself. Keep working it this way until the color becomes opaque, firm and elastic (this can take up to 15-20 minutes).
Makes about one pound.