Kentucky cream pull candy has a long legacy in the Bluegrass State. More candy lovers are probably familiar with the boozy Bourbon Ball, or even the caramel coated marshmallow Modjeska of Louisville. But those in the know, love the rich butter cream, melt-in-your mouth texture, and the buttery vanilla flavor of cream pull candy. Some people claim the taste is reminiscent of cake frosting.
While no one knows when exactly the cream candy was born, it seems to have come out of family recipes of Central Kentucky some time before 1900. It appears in several Kentucky cookbooks from the 1880s and 1890s.
The candy is sort of like a taffy, but not pulled as much. If you pull the same ingredients to make taffy till it’s shiny and leave it to set and ‘cream’ it becomes Kentucky Pulled candy. If you pull it further until the shine becomes dull, then it has the texture of taffy. That’s a simplistic rheology lesson. Some mistake cream pull candy with Vinegar Taffy, but the latter is just that, a taffy, not a cream candy.
The basic ingredients of cream pull candy are heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. The candy is cooked to a hardball stage, poured on a marble slab to cool, then pulled to the shiny stage. When pulled to a thin rope, the candies are cut into bite sized pieces and allowed to set to the cream stage overnight.
One famous fan of the candy was the mother of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, Colonel Harlan Sanders. Margart-Ann Dunlevy Sanders had a family recipe for Kentucky cream pull candy that the Colonel sold to Don Hurt of Old Kentucky Chocolates, a candy store in Lexington , Kentucky, that still sells the candy today.
Four Kentucky women are known for their cream pull candy. Before inventing the bourbon ball, Louisville teachers Rebecca Gooch and Ruth Hanly Booe began pulling their own cream candy in the early 1920s. They formed Rebecca Ruth Candies in Frankfurt, Kentucky.
Ruth Hunt in Mt. Sterling took the Kentucky Cream candy to another level by inventing the Blue Monday, a mint flavored cream pull candy coated in chocolate. She named it after a Kentucky itinerant preacher who stopped in her candy store and said he needed something sweet to cure his blue Monday. The fourth Kentucky belle famous for the candy is Maxine “Mom” Blakeman of Lancaster, Kentucky, whose shop has been making the candy since the 1940s.
Cincinnati’s Fawn Candy has their own version of it called the Savanah Cream. The Fawn Company bought the recipe for the original Suzanne Cream, from Nick Sullivan of Suzanne’s Candy Kitchen in Ft. Wright, Kentucky. Originally their recipe of Kentucky Cream Pull Candy was named after Nick’s daughter. So, when Fawn bought the recipe and rights, they named it after one of the granddaughters of the founder – Savanah. So even though it’s a Cincinnati favorite, the Savanah Cream has a long legacy as a Kentucky cream pull candy.