I realised after making my Candy Corn that this was actually going to be a rather difficult post to write.
I have never actually tried Candy Corn and consequently have absolutely no idea how much my homemade version resembles the real thing.
At a little bit of a loss, I googled, 'what does Candy Corn taste like'.
I was answered with a barrage of pretty angry criticism and as it turns out Candy Corn is far from the much loved American Halloween candy I thought it was.
The answers ranged from the scathing to the simply blunt.
One of my favourites was, 'pre-digested marshmallows and sweet vanilla sh*t meadow'.
...I'm not sure that's exactly how I'd describe my homemade version...
Still at a bit of a loss I decided to google 'what is the texture of Candy Corn' and thankfully this time I found an awesome Candy Corn review in which Candy Corn is described in fabulous detail.
'Candy Corn belongs to a class of candy called mallowcreams (mallowcremes), these candies are distinguished by a shiny, waxy-looking outer shell and a texture that starts stiff, but finishes with a melting quality'.
This was good news because that is exactly how I would describe this homemade version.
It seems that much of the Candy Corn criticism I came across, was aimed at the flavour, many said Candy Corn tasted like nothing but sugar and was overly sweet to the point of being inedible.
This homemade Candy Corn is definitely incredibly sweet, even for me and that's saying something but you can definitely taste the vanilla and it has a lovely milky flavour, like a subtle version of English Milk Bottles, which I love.
NOTE: The original recipe suggest that the Candy Corn will taste better once left to dry out for a few days. I would say that leaving the Candy Corn to dry out for a few days is a necessity, the Candy Corn is far to soft before this point, the outer shell needs time to develop and both the taste and chew is greatly improved.
Homemade Candy Corn Recipe
(Adapted from Food Network Magazine October 2012 Issue)
Makes 80-100 pieces.
4 1/2 ounces icing sugar
1/2 ounce non fat powdered milk
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
3 3/4 ounces light corn syrup
2 1/2 tbsp water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 or 3 drops each of yellow and orange gel food colouring paste.
Sift together the icing sugar, milk powder and salt. Set aside.
Combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup and water in a large saucepan. Place over a medium heat and cook for 4 minutes, until the sugar has melted.
Add the butter and attach a candy thermometer to the edge of the pan. Bring the sugar syrup to 110C (230F). Remove from the heat and remove the candy thermometer.
Add the vanilla extract and the dry mixture to the syrup and stir continuously with a silicone spatula until well combined. Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes, until cool enough to handle.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Add 2 or 3 drops of yellow food colouring to one piece and knead until the colour is consistent throughout. Add 2-3 drops of orange food colouring to the second piece and knead until the colour is consistent throughout. Leave the third piece of dough white.
Roll each piece of dough into a long strand around 18 inches long. Cut each stand in half and roll each half into a strand that is about 1/2 thick and 22 inches long.
Lay the strands side by side (orange, yellow and then white) and press them together using your fingers. Cut into 4-inch pieces and then using a ruler or bench scraper, press each piece into a wedge, keeping the orange section wide and making the white part come to a tip.
Use a wire butter slicer or sharp knife to cut each wedge into individual pieces.
Lay the pieces out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper until dry, at least one hour.
Store in an airtight container with greaseproof paper between each layer.
I suggest leaving your Candy Corn to dry for a full 3 days, see note above.
Why not try replacing the vanilla extract with another flavour, you could use this recipe to make strawberry, apple, lemon or blueberry candies! The best thing is that this 'candy dough' is great fun and very simple to work with, you would be able to colour and shape the dough into an array of designs.
I can't end this post without giving Food Network Magazine a shout out. I have a subscription to the magazine via my iPad and I absolutely love it! Honestly, my excitement when it arrives in my Zino app every month is verging on the ridiculous. I have now tried hundreds of their recipes, dinners, desserts, cakes and now candies and every single one has been absolutely gorgeous. I now count many of their recipes among my favourites. I honestly think that Food Network Magazine is the best foodie magazine around and you can trust me, I buy them all.