When I was growing up on our small family dairy farm in Wisconsin, making taffy was a fun project for a Sunday afternoon in the winter.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla (or another flavoring, such as peppermint or anise)
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the vanilla. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches 256 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer (or until a small amount dropped into a cup of cold water forms a hard ball).
Stir in vanilla. Pour into a buttered 8×8 square pan. Let cool.
Note: if you would like to make colored taffy, stir in a few drops of food coloring just before you add the vanilla or other flavoring.
When the mixture is cool enough to handle, rub a small amount of soft butter between your palms, take a handful of taffy and pull until it becomes stiff and lighter in color. Pull or roll into ropes and cut into pieces with a scissors.
To store the candy, let it sit for an hour or so and then wrap the individual pieces in plastic wrap or waxed paper.