I've finally had a moment's peace to try out a recipe for molasses candy inspired by the book The Ninth Daughter. The fictional Abigail Adams has had a trying morning, but must stop at the market to procure the family dinner.
"[Abigail] borrowed a market basket from one of the farm wives ... and filled it with squash and corn and beans, pears and the best of the available remaining pumpkins, two chickens, and a lobster. She also paid a farthing for molasses candy..."
I chose a recipe which appeared in a magazine called Arthur's Home Magazine, Volume 43, published in 1875, and mercifully required no pulling.
The final product was somewhat soft and sticky. Like a very soft caramel or taffy. The addition of vinegar was a definite asset, and the overall flavor was rich without being sickly sweet. My notes are in italics.
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
Butter a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan and set aside.
Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer and stir until very thick. This took about 20 minutes, and a candy thermometer measured 250˚. Turn out into jelly roll pan.
Cool and cut into squares. This turned out too soft to cut into squares. Instead, when cool, I scored the candy lengthwise, then cut into strips. Roll the strips up and place on a plate. Foil candy wrappers would be excellent here.
This candy did not do well at room temperature. I stored it in the fridge. Let it warm up a bit before eating, or you can microwave it for 15 seconds to soften it quickly.
As you enjoy a gooey piece of molasses candy, imagine being a child in colonial America, where treats were rare.