Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Bean Taffy

Posted by bakinghistory on February 9, 2008

Bean taffy, a candy as tasty as it is unusual, is made with pureed beans, sugar, milk and butter
This is my entry for My Legume Love Affair hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook .
Pureed beans are used to make this unusual candy, with an excellent taste (it reminds me a lot of Marrons glacés ) and a not-too-chewy texture.
It is not particularly difficult to make, but you need a candy thermometer and some time and patience.
The mixture must be stirred as it cooks, but ever so gently or the candy will be grainy instead of smooth.
It is also important not to cook it too long, or it will harden. If that happens, it can be cooked again with some more milk until it reaches the right consistency.
The book recommended dried Lima beans, but also said that any variety will do—I tried also with Great Northern beans and Navy beans. The dried beans should be picked over, rinsed, soaked in cold water overnight, and cooked in fresh water until tender. They should be pureed and strained to eliminate skins.
From the original recipe by Mary Elizabeth Hall
In: “Candy-making revolutionized; confectionery from vegetables”, 1912—USA
2 cups (400 g ) sugar
1/2 (118 ml) cup water
1 tbsp (15 g) butter (room temperature) + extra to grease pan
1/2 cup (125 g) cooked, pureed beans
1 cup (237 ml) milk

Necessary equipment:

candy thermometer

wooden spoon

cake pan 10 x 15 x 2 inches (25.4 x 38 x 5 cm)

saucepan + tight fitting lid

Place the candy thermometer in hot water, butter very generously bottom and sides of the cake pan.

Mix well and boil together water, pureed beans, and butter. Let the mixture simmer, covered, for about 3 minutes. Uncover and add 1/3 of the milk, bring to a boil again and let boil gently for 3 minutes, stirring gently, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 1/3 more of the remaining milk and proceed as before, finally adding the last of the milk.

Place the candy thermometer in the pan and let the mixture boil gently, stirring all the time with slow and gentle motion, until the thermometer register 242°F (116.67°C), which is slightly above the soft-ball stage.

Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and when warm cut in squares.

8 Responses to “Bean Taffy”

  1. Susan said

    Ah, the perils and pleasures of making candy. I’m beginning to know them well. Thank you for this sweetly healthy dessert! You make it look so easy.

  2. bakinghistory said

    Hi Susan! yes, candy making takes some time to master, like all things that seem simple at first 🙂 . I had to make this recipe many times to get it right!

  3. Simona said

    One day I will get to candy making. This is such an interesting recipe and the result looks like the mou I ate as a child.

  4. bakinghistory said

    @ Simona: yes, it has exactly the same texture of mou candy. But the flavor is different.

  5. I have never come across a candy recipe that uses bean puree – this is fascinating and I’ll bet it has a wonderful flavor.

  6. bakinghistory said

    @ T.W.: Hi! I had never seen candy made with beans either, the book it comes from uses also other vegetables to make unusual candies; this has become one of my family’s favorites.

  7. Sarah said

    Hey… I wanted to make this, but where do you add the sugar?? It doesn’t say in the directions! Thanks!

  8. bakinghistory said

    @ Sarah: The sugar is added with the water, pureed beans and butter at th every beginning–thanks for pointing hti wsout, I had not realized I had omotted this detail 🙂

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