The Making of.... Candy Corn

The Making of.... Candy Corn

All right, I know this is one of the controversial foods that people either love or HATE. I'm on the LOVE side. Part of the attraction to me is the ridiculousness of the entire concept. Candy shaped like corn, but doesn't taste like corn? How odd! I'm in! Of course the oddity lends itself well to humor about where candy corn comes from:

Get it? Candy corns, as in the corns witches get on their feet. ON THEIR FEET! LOL!!!! (I know that really shouldn't be all that funny to me, but it IS.  LOL!)

Anyhow, the candy corn you buy at the store isn't usually GOOD candy corn, it's just weird fake candy flavored with wax and god knows what else, but it's still cute. And I still buy a bag every year. But not this year! This year I refused to buy any more mediocre candy corn, and so I found a recipe and decided to make my own. From scratch. No witches or pedicures involved. ; ) I don't know why making candy corn seems so intimidating; it's just CANDY, after all. But since most of us don't make much (or any) candy, it seems so complicated.  It's not. But it does require accurate measuring, a candy thermometer, and the patience to watch the temperature of the candy to the degree in order to get the expected results. For the candy corn, dry ingredients are mixed together, and then the candy base is made separately.  The dry ingredients are powdered sugar, non-fat milk powder, and salt.  I whisked mine to blend, but next time I'm using the food processor to break down the dried milk from chunks into powder, because it left lumps in the candy that I had to work out.  The candy base is poured into a small saucepan: white sugar, corn syrup, honey, butter, and vanilla.  It gets heated,  and stirred until the sugar dissolves; then it gets brought up to 235 degrees, or soft ball stage. Actually, I found references online for anywhere between 230 and 240 degrees; there does seem to be a great deal of failed candy corn attempts, often attributed to the temperature (at both ends of the spectrum). So I settled for 234 degrees, mostly out of spite for those that swore the ends of the spectrum were right / evil.  Then, once at temperature, the candy base is mixed into the dry ingredients, and left to cool just until it is handle-able. I was afraid the candy would harden before I could work it, so I may or may not have done the juggling it like a hot potato routine after about 3 minutes. I separated the dough into three sections, and used Wilton's gel food dye  to color one section orange, and one section yellow. The third section I left white. I didn't get pics of the boring parts, but I did get pics from this point.  These are the three sections of dough. I'm guessing the dough sticking to the mat in the upper right hand corner is because the candy was still around 230 degrees and not ready to be worked yet. ; )

I pinched off golf-ball sized chunks from each color, and rolled them into ropes.  Just like playdough. Only this was hot and stuck to the mat and wasn't nearly as fun as playdough. Then, I lined up the ropes, white at the top, then orange, then yellow. I totally had to google candy corn to find out the order of the colors, I was SO sure the bottom was orange. Which would be weird, because if the candy corn was in a cob, then the ends would have to be yellow or it wouldn't look like corn.  But, I have learned it's better to google than to assume. And I am SO glad I did and my corn is, well, candy corn colored. ; )

I originally tried to shape the ropes into a wedge shape before cutting, but then I realized it was a wasted effort, since the corn needs to be shaped after cutting to make the cut lines go away. Also, the shaping reduces waste over cutting out corn shaped triangles.  So, I cut the ropes into little rectangles:

And then I rolled each piece at a bit of an angle to make them tapered at the white end, and shaped them with my hands until they looked like corn. Well, candy corn, because real corn doesn't really look like this. I googled that too. ; )

As I went, I learned to roll the white rope a bit smaller, otherwise the white part is too long (see the top row for proof).  Ideally, the orange roll would be slightly thicker than the yellow roll.  This is two ropes worth of candy corn:

And I was less than halfway through the candy. Which was starting to harden the longer I took in shaping the corn. I finished enough of the little bastards to fill one clear mat, and then I threw the rest of the drying candy away. Come on, I'd been at it for over two hours at this point, it was after 11pm, and I was starving. For DINNER, not candy corn.

I'm so halving the recipe next time. Or, starting earlier, and making sure I have enough wine.  But, I have to admit the time spent on this was well worth it - after drying overnight, the candy really does look like store-bought candy corn! And, it tastes WONDERFUL. Sweet, honey flavored, a little chewy on the outside, soft and happy on the inside.  I swore while making them that I'd never make them again, but I'm so going to do this again. I mean, seriously, look how HAPPY they look!!

Candy Corn (Based on a recipe featured in the Washington Post)  Note: Half the ingredients next time, this makes a MILLION. Ingredients 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 1/3 cup non-fat milk powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup granulated sugar 2/3 cup light corn syrup (I used half of 1/3 cup of honey, half corn syrup, and the second 1/3 cup all corn syrup.) 5 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Red and yellow food coloring In a food processor, pulse together the powdered sugar, milk powder and salt until powdery; reserve in a medium mixing bowl. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan (wide and shallow is preferable, as is nonstick or enamel coated), bring granulated sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla up to a boil over high heat. When you begin to see bubbles, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for five minutes, stirring frequently with a heat-proof silicon or rubber spatula. A candy thermometer will read 234 degrees, just before thread stage. You want to set a timer or use the thermometer - this is very important. Remove pan from heat, and gradually add powdered sugar mixture to pan, incorporating with spatula. Make sure that mixture is completely integrated. Let mixture cool just until cool enough to handle. With a knife or pastry cutter, cut dough into three equal pieces.  Add three drops of yellow food coloring to one piece of dough and begin kneading until smooth and color is evenly distributed. You can this a few different ways: Wearing rubber gloves (however, latex was a disaster), covering your hands with plastic wrap or placing dough and coloring in a Ziploc-style bag and knead the bag. Set on parchment or wax paper or on a silicone baking mat. For the second piece, use a combination of red and yellow coloring to make orange, using the same procedure. Knead the third piece until smooth but keep uncolored. Clear a large work space to roll out each piece of dough, which, when rolled into a thin rope, can get quite long. If rope gets too long, trim with a paring knife or pastry cutter. Push three ropes together to form a long rectangle. Use sharp knife to trim ends and sides to make a straight angle. Starting at one end of the rope rectangle, cut small triangle shapes. Place each candy on parchment or wax paper to keep from sticking to your work surface. Store at room temperature in airtight container, separating layers with parchment or waxed paper. Makes about 100 pieces.

 

Comments

Your sister
I'm so lazy. And I'm so happy you will be one hour closer by plane haha.

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