The weather is beautiful today and it’s not too humid — a perfect time to make candy. After several days of fruits and vegetables I am making Mrs. Jul. Hagen’s recipe for Taffy from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. Mrs. Hagen’s recipes are generally reliable. Her Mountain Cake was great.
Louisa Caroline Stuckhardt married Julius Hagen. He worked in the William Greene and Rome shirt factory and they lived with their four sons at 70 St. George street. Mr. Hagen was born in Berlin Ontario in 1868 to German born parents. His father worked for many years as a labourer and then later as a sawyer (working in a saw mill) and finally as a carpenter. Julius was child number six in a family of ten. Mrs. Hagen was also born in 1868 and her parents were also born in Germany. Louisa too was raised in Berlin Ontario. She was the middle of nine children. Her father was a labourer and a cooper (barrel maker). I wonder if they knew each other most of their lives? Both families were Lutheran and the fathers had similar occupations.
I measured two cups of brown sugar into a small saucepan. I wasn’t sure how much milk was needed to “moisten” the sugar but ended up using just over two tablespoons. I kept the heat low to begin with and then raised it. Unfortunately I’m not sure if it boiled for exactly 10 minutes. I took it off the heat when it was taffy like and then started beating the mixture. I started to thicken but appeared to be sugary. I poured it into a buttered pan. It was soon clear that I had a hard sugar lump not taffy. I don’t have enough brown sugar to try it again tonight. However, I will attempt this recipe another day since there are two variables that might have affected the result. One was the amount of milk. I think it needs more. Also I need to watch the timing carefully. I’m still not sure the recipe will work but it is worth trying once more.
2 cups brown sugar, moisten with cream or milk; boil steadily for 10 minutes. Beat till thickens. Pour in buttered pans.