Celebrating Christmas in Wales: Making Taffy!
The Welsh have a sweet tooth during the holidays! Christmas Eve in Wales used to be known as Noson Gyflaith, or toffee evening. It was an occasion where friends and families gathered to share a meal, tell stories and play games, as well as take part in the Northern Welsh Christmas tradition of making toffee—known more commonly as taffy in the United States.
History of Welsh Toffee
The toffee, made from brown sugar and butter, was especially chewy. It was boiled and then pulled so it became nice and glossy. Many traditional foods of the Welsh were born out of hardship and a need to be practical. Because sugar was once very expensive, making toffee on Christmas Eve was quite a special event, and a way of providing a festive treat for Christmas. Though the taffy-making tradition is not as common today, toffee remains an important traditional part of Christmas history in Wales.
Make Toffee with Your Family!
- 8 cups of dark brown sugar
- ⅔ cups of boiling water
- 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 16 tablespoons of salted butter, softened
Step 1: In a saucepan over low heat, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water. Stir it continuously with a wooden spoon until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. This takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice and the softened butter, and stir them into the sugar. Boil this mixture, without stirring, for 15 minutes.
Step 3: To test the toffee, gently drop a teaspoonful of the mixture into a cup of cold water; if it hardens at once, it has reached the right consistency.
Step 4: Pour the mixture slowly into large flat dish. Do not scrape the pan clean as the scraping might turn the toffee back into sugar.
Step 5: Use extra butter to butter your hands. Pull the taffy into long golden strands while it is still hot. Cut the taffy in smaller pieces.
Enjoy this tasty treat!