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Kentucky Cream Pull Candy

Kentucky Cream Pull Candy is an indulgence you will never forget!!  This candy is made with pure whipping cream and sugar and it gets cooked, pulled, and cut into pieces of taffy-like candy.  Then it gets covered and left to cream overnight.  That’s when the miracle occurs.  It miraculously turns into the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth candy that you will ever eat. 

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 1900s 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 1900s 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 1940s. 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 hardball stage, 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 fingertips 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 affect 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

Kentucky Cream Pull Candy is an indulgence you will never forget!!  This candy is made with pure whipping cream and sugar and it gets cooked, pulled, and cut into pieces of taffy-like candy.  Then it gets covered and left to cream overnight.  That’s when the miracle occurs.  It miraculously turns into the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth candy that you will ever eat. 


Scale

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.

 

One Response to Kentucky Cream Pull Candy

  1. Hi! I loved your story, especially the history you have. I live in Eastern Kentucky, and Cream Pull Candy is very popular around here, especially at Christmas time. There are many variations on the recipe. When I was a young child, I had an aunt who worked with a lady who made cream pull candy at a local department store. Each Christmas I’d received a Maxwell House coffee jar filled to the rim with her pull candy. I learned to make it when I was about 13 years old. My next door neighbor had attended a class at the local county extension office where she learned to make it, and I in turn learned from her. The recipe we used in those days was 5 cups sugar, 1 cup boiling water, 1 cup whole or evaporated milk, a stick of real butter, 1/4 teaspoons baking soda and a teaspoon vanilla. The sugar and water cooked to softball, the milk, butter and soda were added and the mixture cooked on to hard ball, poured on marble, pulled, cut and allowed to cream. Over the years I tweak my original version to use cream as well.

    I notice that your recipe contains no baking soda. Most cooks here add about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with the milk. The purpose of the soda is to raise the pH of the cream so that the lactose (milk sugar) will caramelize a bit while the mixture boils. This gives the completed candy a slight caramel-vanilla flavor and is what we consider the “classic flavor” for pull candy around here.

    I agree too that the myths of cold weather and low humidity are not true. I’ve made candy in the heat of summer and cold of winter. I, too, find that my candy is actually better on a more humid day…afte rall sugar is hygroscopic and absorbs a bit of moisture from the air which in turn improved the overall texture.

    I usually individually wrap my pieces in waxed paper and seal in an air tight container to cream overnight. I find that the flavor and texture both improve if the candy is allowed to mellow in a cool dry place for a few days. You can also wrap and freeze the candy (some people like to eat it frozen while still in its taffy-like state…but not me!) and, when you want it, remove it from the freezer and allow to sit overnight and it will cream beautifully!

    Again, thanks for the wonderful article. I’d love to hear other people’s stories too!

    Oh, and by the way….after pulling candy for more than 30 years, my shoulders got to bothering me a lot. My father in law and I saw an homemade taffy puller on You Tube (commercially made ones were in the thousands of dollars for even the smallest ones) and built one ourselves which lasted about 5 years. Along the way I had a serendipitous encounter with an engineer who had designed a nice home pulling machine and was selling them. It’s called the Taffy Express and I absolutely love mine! You can check it out at http://www.taffyexpress.com

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