Let Me See Them Tootsie Rolls

Homemade Tootsie Rolls
This week has been filled with many a birthday. Thursday would have been my mom-mom’s 84th birthday (the original baker). My bestie turned 26 on Saturday and the boyfriend is turning 28 today. Happy birthday good lookin’!

I love celebrating birthdays with the honoree’s favorite treat. Tootsie rolls just so happens to be one of my dearest friend’s favorite candies of all time. Since she is cramming for law school finals (you go girl!) and not able to celebrate like the wild 26 year old she is, I decided to send her a loving birthday care package cram-packed with classic homemade tootsie rolls!

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Get out those candy thermometers, it’s time to be a candy scientist. Or maybe I should say a candy doctor because for this recipe you really only need some “patience”.  Oh the puns. But really. As long as you can keep your eye on the thermometer and not turn this mixture into an incinerated block of sadness this recipe will be a huge success. This recipe was adapted from Top Secret Recipes.

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To get things started, you just need to dump everything in a small saucepan and set to medium heat. Whisk the mixture until everything dissolves then pop in your candy thermometer. I continued to whisk for a bit just to ensure nothing would burn on the bottom. It may not have been necessary, but at least it gave me some peace of mind.

Now is not the time to wash the dishes, Facebook stalk, or tend to your hungry cat. Just keep your eye on the prize. A little longer. Ok, the temperature has almost reached 250 degrees F. Pull it off now! It will take you a minute to remove the candy thermometer and pour the mixture out of the hot pot. If you have an electric stove like me, the surface will stay hot and the mixture will just keep getting hotter. The chewy tootsie consistency that you crave will quickly turn into a tooth chipping, filling pulling excuse for a candy.

No one wants that.

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Did I mention you might also need some muscles for this? Once your molten chocolate mass has cooled for about 15  minutes, begin folding it back on itself. When it is cool enough to handle start stretching it like taffy for about 15 minutes. Grab the mass, pull it out as long as it will go without breaking, then fold it back over itself. Continue until the color has lightened and the chocolate dough becomes harder to stretch.

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Once the dough has cooled for about an hour, have another go at that stretching thing. It may have cooled significantly in this time depending on how cool your kitchen is. If the dough has cooled to a point where it is not possible to stretch, just pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds. After about five minutes of additional stretching, your dough should resemble the shade of a true tootsie. This stretching incorporates air and will give the candy the light, airy texture of the real thing.

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Cut your ball of dough into four equal pieces using kitchen shears. Now cut each quarter in half. Roll the dough into ropes about a foot long. Once you have all of your ropes rolled out start snipping. You want to cut each piece about an inch long for the optimal snacking experience.

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Keep on cutting. Finger strength is key to this recipe too. Also please note that it is totally acceptable to eat any mal-shaped tootsie. It will make the other ones feel prettier.

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Look at them beauts.

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Next, whip out that roll of wax paper and get to work. Cut out 3″x3″ squares, roll up tootsie, twist ends, toss in pile, repeat.


Now let me see that tootsie roll.
Come on, tootsie roll, just make that tootsie roll.
To the left, to the left…

Classic Tootsie Rolls


  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (162 grams) light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 57 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (100 grams) low fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt


  1. Spray a nonstick surface (clean cookie sheet) or Silpat with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and set over medium heat.
  3. Whisk until all ingredients have melted together and the mixture begins to boil. Add your candy thermometer and whisk occasionally as the temperature rises.
  4. When your thermometer just about reaches 250 degrees F (firm ball stage) remove the thermometer and give the mixture a final whisk. Pour molten chocolate lava mixture on prepared nonstick surface.
  5. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Begin by folding over edges until cool enough to pick up. Start stretching the mass like taffy. Using greased hands, pull dough out long then fold dough over itself. Pull, fold. Pull, fold. Continue for 15 minutes until the dough lightens in color and becomes challenging to pull. Let rest for 1 hour.
  6. After resting, pull dough for an additional five minutes incorporating more air until it resembles the proper shade of a tootsie. If the dough has become too hard to stretch, simply stick in the microwave for up to 10 seconds to warm. This will soften the dough enough for the final pull.
  7. Cut your dough into 4 equal pieces using kitchen shears. Cut each quarter in half. Roll out dough into foot long ropes and snip into one inch pieces. Makes enough to binge on. Cut wax paper into 3”x3” squares, roll up a tootsie, twist the ends, repeat, send to stressed out birthday friend.


Always take caution with hot sugar. Boiling sugar is like napalm on the skin. Should you have the urge, refrain from licking the spoon at all costs.


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