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Kentucky Cream Pull Candy

This post was updated on 12/17/2017.

Okay my friends, as you know I’m from Kentucky, and I’m about to share with you my most favorite of all candy recipes and it originated right here in Kentucky.  If you have never had a piece of Kentucky Cream Pull Candy, you truly don’t know what you’ve been missing, and if you have had this wonderful candy, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  This creamy yet airy candy simply melts in your mouth.  It’s made of sugar, pure vanilla and heavy whipping cream…shall I say more!

I want to share this recipe with you for several reasons…

  1.  It is an old-time recipe that goes back to at least the early 1900’s or before.  As I have mentioned on my home page, I want to revive the old recipes and not let them be forgotten, especially the great ones.
  2.  I want to clarify the confusion that I see on Pinterest between Kentucky Cream Pull Candy and Vinegar Taffy.  They look-alike but Vinegar Taffy is different.  It’s Taffy and this recipe is Cream Candy.  This candy has a consistency of Taffy when it’s first made but changes to a creamy melt in your mouth texture overnight.  I’ll be posting the Vinegar Taffy recipe soon, to clear up all confusion between the two.
  3. This is the most delicious candy you will ever put in your mouth.  My friend Julie calls it “sinful”.  I promise that if you have a chance to eat one piece of this melt in your mouth divine bite of heaven, you’ll want to know how to make it, and I want to make sure you know how to make it.  When you eat a piece you will totally savor it as it slowly melts on your tongue and you’ll moan in great pleasure. You’ll keep going back for more until you make yourself sick.  Trust me, I know!

Allow me to take a moment to talk about the history of this candy…

No one knows exactly when the first batch of Kentucky Cream Pull Candy was made or who created the recipe. What we do know is that it appears to have originated somewhere in central Kentucky and it dates back to at least the early 1900’s or before.  There are four women in Kentucky who were all well-known for making this delicious confection…

Ruth Hanly Booe and Rebecca Gooch, two substitute school teachers in Louisville Kentucky, opened their own business in 1919, Rebecca Ruth Candies, in Frankfort Kentucky.  Rebecca Gooch later sold her half of the business to Ruth Hanly Booe.  I have a picture of Ruth Hanly Booe pulling the candy outside in her yard in 1923. Rebecca Ruth Candies is still well-known today for their candies here in Kentucky.

Ruth Hunt from Mt. Sterling Kentucky, started making the candy from the basement of her home in 1921.  She sold it by word of mouth until her business outgrew itself.  She later found a permanent shop to sell her candy from in 1930.  She was also known for her creation of the Blue Monday, cream candy that had been dipped in chocolate.  Today, you can visit and purchase Ruth Hunt candies in two locations, Mt. Sterling and Lexington.

Maxine (Mom) Blakeman from Lancaster Kentucky, started making the candy from her home in the 1940’s. She made it available to the patrons at her restaurant.  She started marketing her candy in 1961.  Mom Blakeman’s Candy is still sold today here in Kentucky.

Kentucky Cream Pull Candy is cooked to a hard ball stage, poured onto a very cold marble slab and when cooled enough to handle, is pulled like Taffy and stretched into a long twisted rope and cut with scissors. It is left overnight to cream.  Many years ago candy makers thought the only way to get this candy to turn out perfect was to stand outside in freezing cold temperatures to pull it.  Many years later, we now know that this is not necessary.  Years ago and today, most people think that you cannot make this candy when it is raining or humid outside.  Well I’m here to disagree with this common belief among most candy makers.  I have turned out my very best batches of this candy on rainy and humid days.

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Some people enlist the help of a second person to help them pull this candy. Others use a large hook to pull it, especially if they are making several batches of it.

Now I’m happy to share with you how I made a batch of this divine confection that I’ve been making for over 30 years.  I enlisted my sister Nancy to help me pull it…

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I started by adding sugar, boiling water and a pinch of salt to a large pan.  I brought it to a boil over high heat…then I covered it and let it cook over high heat for exactly 5 minutes and removed the lid…

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Next, I added a candy thermometer to the side of my pan and reduced the heat to medium.  I very slowly added a cup of heavy whipping cream, making sure that I did not allow the mixture to stop boiling…

Tip:  It’s a good idea to calibrate your candy thermometer at least once a year and especially during the holiday season.  To see how to calibrate your candy thermometer, click here.

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I allowed the mixture to continue to cook over medium heat WITHOUT stirring, until it reached a hard ball, 260 degrees on my candy thermometer, but I also tested it in cold water as well, (you don’t have to do both…I was showing my sister how I usually test my candy in cold water)…

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Once the mixture reached 260 degrees on a candy thermometer I removed it from the heat and poured it onto a buttered very cold marble slab…

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I drizzled some pure Vanilla over the surface…

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Then I used a metal spatula and turned each of the long sides in towards the middle.  As the underside started to cool, I flipped it over one time to cool the top side…

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As soon as the candy could be handled, I cut it in half.  My sister and I each took half.  In the picture above, my sister Nancy had just started pulling her half.  Notice the shiny and sticky like texture…

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We pulled the candy for about 4-5 minutes until it became satiny and lighter in color.  This is my half about one minute before I stopped pulling it…  Tip:  I have the best success when making this candy by using my finger tips to pull it. This way it doesn’t stick to your hands and requires less butter on your hands.  Sometimes too much butter during the pulling process can effect the way this candy turns out.

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Once it became satiny and lighter in color, I pulled each half into a long twisted rope and placed it back on the marble slab…

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I immediately cut it into pieces with my kitchen scissors…

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At this point the candy was slightly sticky and rather dense in texture.  At this stage it is like Taffy.  Note: It is the most delicious tasting Taffy at this stage.  You will want to eat the entire batch just as it is, but you must make yourself leave it alone until it creams.  You’ll thank me later.  Anyhow, I covered it with a towel overnight.  You can also put it in a tin, but you must make sure that the pieces are not touching together while they are still slightly sticky.  Often times, this candy will cream within a couple of hours as well.  As soon as it had creamed, I placed the candy in a candy tin.

Try to get your mind off of this candy when you leave it to cream and prepare to be WOWED after it creams…

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Kentucky Cream Pull Candy


  • Author: Cindy Gibbs @ My Country Table
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30

Description

This candy is so light, airy, rich and creamy, it literally melts in your mouth. It’s absolutely divine!!


Ingredients

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla
  • Butter for marble slab

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar, salt and boiling water in a large pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let mixture cook for exactly 5 minutes.
  2. Remove lid and reduce heat to medium. Add a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Slowly add the cream, a little bit at a time, making sure that the mixture does not stop bubbling. DO NOT stir. Cook until candy reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer or forms a hard ball when tested in cold water
  3. Remove candy from heat and immediately pour onto a very cold buttered marble slab. DO NOT scrap the insides of the pan. Drizzle the vanilla over the surface of the candy. Using a metal spatula, turn each long side of the candy inward. Flip the candy over to cool the top side.
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut the candy in half, (if two people are pulling it). Using your fingertips, pull the candy for at least 3-4 minutes until it’s no longer shiny and sticky and has started to look satiny and lighter in color. Pull the candy into long twisted ropes and place on the marble slab. Using scissors, immediately cut the candy into pieces about 1 1/2″ long. Make sure the candy pieces are not touching since they are still sticky at this point. The candy will now be a consistency of taffy. It’s delicious but try not to eat it.
  5. Cover the candy with a towel and let it set overnight to cream. Candy can be placed in a tin, but pieces should not be touching until the candy has creamed. I find it best to just spread the candy on cookie sheets or leave on the marble slab and cover with a non frizzy towel.
  6. Yields: About 2 pounds

Notes

  • If you’ve never made this candy, take a moment to look at the illustrated steps above this recipe, before attempting to make it. It’s really not hard…it just takes a few minutes and a little patience, but it is so worth it.
  • Time does not include pulling and cutting candy.

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