Sweet kernels of goodness…Sunday is National Candy Corn Day!!!
Grab some corn syrup and powdered milk and get cracking.
Time to make the Candy Corn!!
A couple of months ago, a friend told me that there was a recipe for home-made Candy Corn (um…thanks, Chrissy).
That’s all I needed to hear.
I scoured the internet, rejected a few recipes, took notes on several dozen others and finally found a recipe that made the most sense. To give credit where credit is due, the recipe I used is from Alton Brown of the Food Network. I don’t think I changed much from the original recipe. The finished Candy Corn has the same consistency as the bagged variety, but as this is fresh it is much softer. The taste is out of this world. It is highly reminiscent of the original, but the buttery flavor really comes through.
It’s pretty spectacular.
I used Alton Brown’s recipe because he gave specific temperatures. I don’t know how much you know about candy making, (I don’t know much), but I do know you have to be exact with the temperature. In this case, you need to get your candy to 230 degrees.
I also loved his approach to forming the candy. Other recipes suggest that you lay the three logs of colored fondant next to each other and slice back and forth.
I didn’t care for the looks of the final product. I don’t mean to criticize. I am sure these taste great, and I am absolutely sure they didn’t take quite as long as the process I used, but I prefer the system Alton presented. (Seriously, the tip MUST be white).
Now, that’s a Candy Corn!!
Here’s a pic of the things you need to make Candy Corn.
Homemade Candy Corn
- 1 1/4 cups Powdered Sugar
- 6 1/2 tsp Nonfat Dry Milk
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/3 cup Light Corn Syrup
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Water
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 - 3 drops Yellow and Orange gel paste food coloring (if you don't have orange, mix red and yellow)
- Combine the powdered sugar, dry milk and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Set aside
- (I spent years without a Cuisinart. I don't know what I was thinking. Seriously, five pulses and I'm done. Nifty swifty).
- Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a 2-quart pot.
- Add the water and put the pot over medium heat. Cover and cook for 4 minutes.
- (I don't know if I would ever have cooked the sugar and water this way, but I did it EXACTLY as it was written in the recipe and it turned out great).
- Add the butter and clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pot.
- When the sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees F (this will take about 1 to 2 minutes), take the pot off the heat and remove the thermometer.
- (It is really important to be sure you get the temperature to 230 degrees. It is equally important not to get it over 230 degrees. Just be sure to keep an eye on it).
- Add the vanilla and the dry mixture.
- Stir continuously with a whisk until well combined.
- (The original recipe said to use an acrylic spoon, but I thought the mixture seemed a bit lumpy and used the whisk. I loved the results, but wanted to share the original instructions as well).
- Pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat.
- Spread the mixture on the sheet and let it cool until you can handle it. (It will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces.
- (This may not look like much, but you can get about 150 pieces out of this recipe).
- Add yellow food coloring to one of the pieces and orange food coloring to the other. Leave the third piece white.
- (I didn't have any orange, so I combined red and yellow).
- Knead each of the balls of dough until the color is consistent throughout. You may wish to use gloves or plastic bags, at least at the beginning, so your hands aren't dyed yellow and orange.
- At this point, I was a little freaked out because I thought the "white" looked "yellow". If this happens to you, don't worry. Once the corn is put together, the white looks white again. I'm sure there is some color theory to explain this.
- I must admit to some frustration at this part of the recipe. The dough is pretty stiff and hard to work with while I had the gloves on. Once the food coloring was absorbed a little, I took the gloves off and then I found the process of incorporating the color strangely comforting.
- Roll part of the white dough into a strand that is about 1/2-inch thick and about 22-inches long. Repeat with a yellow piece of dough and and orange piece of dough.
- Cut each strand in half.
- Lay the strands side by side and press them together using your fingers. Cut the strand into 4-inch pieces. Tip the 4 inch pieces so that the yellow strand is on the bottom, the orange strand is in the middle and the white strand is on the top.
- Using your fingers, press the stack of colors into a wedge shape, like a triangle.
- Use a wire butter slicer to cut the candies into pieces. If you don't have a wire butter slicer, use a knife, metal bench scraper or pizza cutter to slice the dough into small pieces.
- I used a plastic scraper to cut the corn.
- Maybe it was because I didn't have a wire cutter, but when I sliced the corn, it smooched a little. So, I made a mold out of a metal star cookie cutter. Then I was able to push the corn into the mold to get the shape I wanted. Since I made this batch of Candy Corn, I found a place that sold a food safe candy corn mold. It hasn't arrived, but I'll let you know if it works.
- Repeat the procedure with remaining dough.
- Lay the finished pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to dry for 1 hour.
- Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between each layer.
Because the return on your time investment is rather low, it’s important to treat this Candy Corn like the precious commodity it is.
Small dishes send the message that you shouldn’t eat more than a few.
If you are giving these out, use teeny tiny cupcake liners. I put exactly ten pieces of Candy Corn in each liner.
For reasons I can’t really understand…or explain…I made a Candy Corn Coloring Book. (Please, please don’t ask how long this took. And don’t ask my kids, they just might tell you…)
Click here for your very own Candy Corn Coloring Book
Happy National Candy Corn Day!!