If you're like me, you probably go through a bag of Brach's candy corn every Halloween, and even if you don't like candy corn, you understand that Halloween just isn't the same without it. You can bake it into cookies or eat it straight out of the bowl — heck, you can even deep fry these babies. But as long as you're experimenting in the kitchen, I have another suggestion for you: make your own candy corn.
Candy corn, which was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company, was originally called "Chicken Feed" (I'll give you three guesses why). The original boxes even had the tagline, "Something worth crowing for," and a colorful chicken on the front. Things have certainly come a long way since then. Now, large machines pound the sugary concoction into little molds, and then the billions of kernels are distributed nationwide until they end up in a bowl at your Halloween party.
While making your own candy corn may sound daunting, I promise you it's not that difficult once you get started. I followed this candy corn recipe on Instructables by liquid_fire243. It's pretty easy to handle, can be completed in about 30 minutes, and the end result is definitely better tasting than your favorite factory-made brand. It even tastes a bit carmel-y which is a huge bonus, am I right?
Here's what you'll need to get started:
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 6 1/2 teaspoons of nonfat dry milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- food coloring
You'll also need a large mixing bowl, a 2-quart pot, measuring spoons, measuring cups, a candy thermometer, some parchment paper or foil, and plastic gloves if you don't want to get messy.
1. Gather your Ingredients
I basically followed liquid_fire243's ingredient list verbatim, but I noticed that some people like to substitute sugar golden syrup for corn syrup. But then it wouldn't be candy corn, right? Maybe for Christmas corn, I'll try the other stuff.
2. Mix The Powdered Sugar, Salt, and Dry Milk
Mix these ingredients well! It's important to make sure all the lumps are out of your dry mix so that you don't get little pockets of powdered sugar in your candy corn. The recipe I followed suggests using a food processor to handle this.
3. Combine Corn Syrup, Granulated Sugar, and Water in a Small Pot
A 2-quart pot is really the perfect size — a larger pot becomes kind of unwieldily and unnecessary. Just keep the cover on, and boil for 4 minutes.
4. Add Butter to the Corn Syrup Pot
Mmmm. Nothing beats the aroma of melting butter into sugar. For this part, you need a thermometer and a timer. Take the temperature up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit and melt the butter completely — but don't keep it heated for longer than 2 minutes. Personally, I kept mine to 1 minute because I was afraid of burning the sugar.
5. Remove from Heat and Add Dry Mixture
Now you can take your dry mixture and slowly combine it with your buttery, sugar syrup mixture in the pot. It starts to turn into this weird, thick liquid Play-Doh-like substance.
6. Pour Mixture onto Parchment Paper
Once everything is combined and you have your "Play-Doh," pour that onto the parchment paper (or foil), and let it cool down for about 10 minutes, or until you can peel it off of the paper without it sticking. I got a little impatient at this part!
7. Separate into Little Balls and Add Color
This part was a lot of fun. Now that you have your cooling mixture, form little balls out of the "Play-Doh," and put a few drops of food coloring onto them. Grab your plastic gloves, and mash the color into the dough until you get the color you'd like for your corn. Be careful with it, though — I put a little too much red on my orange ball.
8. Roll into Little Snakes
I feel like I'm in Kindergarten again! Next, make long ropes of the dough in each color, and mash them next to each other to create your color stripes. Fun!
9. Cut into Candy Corn Pieces
You're almost there! All you need to do now is use a knife and cut triangle pieces out of your dough. Let it cool down some more, and then you can remove the little triangles for eating! They might not look like the bite-sized pieces you're used to eating, but let me tell you, they are just as (if not more) delicious. A perfect treat to try this Halloween — enjoy!
Images: pengrin/Flickr; Haniya Rae (8)