Grapes Dunked In White Chocolate Are A Go-To Snack In Chicago

Chicago's food scene prides itself on dishes that subvert expectations. They took the hot dog and added a pseudo-salad on top, took pizza and turned it into more of a pizza pie, and one of their lesser-known delicacies, taffy grapes, represents the Windy City's take on the taffy apple. 

This no-bake dessert consists of green grapes half-dipped in white chocolate and rolled in crushed peanuts. The combination of ingredients gives the grapes a surprisingly similar taste to taffy apples you'd buy at your local county fair, but they're significantly less sugary and a whole lot easier to eat. Taffy grapes can be batch-prepped ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you're ready to serve, making them a perfect dish to bring to your next pool party or BBQ.

For an easier time making the Chicago classic, use white chocolate that contains higher amounts of oil or cocoa butter, as this makes the chocolate melt easier. When you finish dipping the grapes, let the white chocolate set until it becomes tacky, and then apply your crushed peanuts. The dessert is done once the chocolate fully sets. For an extra cooling effect, pop the taffy grapes in the freezer.

History of taffy grapes

Taffy grapes originated from the south side of Chicago and could be commonly found at gas stations, takeout places, and quick-service spots. There, the taffy grapes would be sold by the buckets for people to bring to parties or enjoy with their families at home. While the grape trend has only been around for about 13 years, they have quickly climbed the ranks to become a Chicagoland favorite. Like most foods that explode in popularity, the craze for taffy grapes began by word of mouth. Today, companies like ChicagoBerryBoss offer taffy grapes as their specialty products to make the dessert readily available to all. However, part of the appeal of taffy grapes is the ability to whip them up as easily at home as it would be to pick up a cup elsewhere.

Since the humble inception of the first taffy grape (the true origins of which remain unknown), Chicagoans have begun experimenting with the delicacy. Flavors such as red velvet and dark chocolate have been introduced for the dip. And fruits like strawberries and pineapple have risen the ranks in popularity as well. But the original taffy grape combination remains a favorite today. People can't stop coming back for that transporting taste of childhood you get in each bite.