Maple syrup, while not traditional in salt water taffy, turns the whole thing into a taffy-caramel flavored hybrid. It's perfect—a little bit of salty and a whole lot of peanut-y. You'll need a candy thermometer, kitchen shears, and wax paper to make this recipe.
Thoroughly butter a rimmed baking sheet (I used a 9- x 13-inch pan, but a similar size will work fine). Get in the corners, but don’t worry so much about the sides, as the taffy won’t come into contact with these.
In a deep pot over low heat, add all of the ingredients at once. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Without stirring, bring the mixture to 250° F. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature and don’t rush the process by cranking up the heat. I’ve tried and ended up with a burnt pot (the taffy did turn out, but so did a ruined pan). Once the mixture comes to temperature, after about 15 minutes, turn off the heat and pour the taffy base onto the greased baking sheet. Let it sit until it's cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.
This is where arm strength comes into play. Grease your hands thoroughly with butter and pull the taffy: Stretch it into a long rope about 1 inch in diameter and fold the rope in half, onto itself like you’re closing a book. Twist it completely together, then pull into a long rope again, and repeat. Continue this process until the taffy is firm and hard to pull, about 4 to 5 pulls. Stretch it into a long rope about 1-inch-thick and, using buttered kitchen shears, cut it into bite-size, 1-inch pieces.
Wrap each piece of taffy in wax paper. You can either buy a candy wrapper or go the D.I.Y. route and cut squares out of wax paper. Gift the little squares to friends, or keep them all to yourself. The taffy will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 months—or until it's too hard to chew.