I conclude my Halloween candy week with a non-chocolate holiday favorite: candy corn!
This candy endeavor is the first one that’s actually a candy – aka it involves boiling sugar. Yikes!
I had to make two attempts at this one, but I’m glad I didn’t give up because I feel quite accomplished having made homemade candy corn! In my opinion this candy tastes much better than the packaged kind. It lacks that “honey” flavor and artificial after taste. I’m not an expert in candy making but I’d imagine you could add a little honey to the corn syrup mixture if you want that taste? Maybe?
After attempt one I decided to do a little more research and found a post on The Kitchn that went into the chemistry of candy making and how to know what went wrong. (In my case, I over cooked the sugar/syrup mix.) The ingredient list was the same (but halved) so I was content to give it another go. Attempt two involved sifting the powdered sugar mixture – I do not recommend skipping this step as it mixed into the syrup mixture much easier. Attempt two also went off of sugar temperature and not time. I think that’s the real key to candy making – if you don’t have a candy thermometer, I wouldn’t recommend attempting this recipe. Another difference was spreading the candy mixture out onto a baking sheet to cool – doing this ensured even cooling of the candy and easy division into three batches.
To be a little “different” I decided to make purple and green candy corn instead of the classic orange and yellow. I just love the addition of
purple and green to the classic Halloween colors – it feels more “wicked.” But honestly, you could do any color combination you want – perfect for tailgates, birthdays, and other holidays.
I only made 3/4 of the batch of candy corn, sacrificing the remaining quarter to the little boy who climbed up into my lap while I was cutting my triangles. Even still, I managed to fill three 4.25 oz jars with homemade candy corn. (I knew I saved those baby food jars for something!)
Homemade Candy Corn
- 1 C powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp powdered milk
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 C corn syrup
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- food coloring
- Sift together powdered sugar, powdered milk, and salt. Set aside.
- Place butter, corn syrup, and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until butter has melted, stirring gently a couple of times. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer measures 245 – 250 degrees F. Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla extract.
- Working quickly, mix the powdered sugar mixture into the syrup mixture (I found this easy to do in batches) until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Spread mixture onto a lightly greased baking sheet (or use a silipat mat if you have one). Allow mixture to cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Do not wait too long or the candy will become too hard to deal with, if this happens microwave the candy for 5 seconds to soften, if that doesn’t work you may need to start over. Note: For “trouble-shooting” please see the original recipe linked below.
- Cut the candy into thirds and knead desired food coloring into each batch. Like you would with Play-doh, create ropes from the candy. To make it easier to work with I created 4 ropes from each color. Again, microwave the candy as needed to work with easily.
- Line one of each color rope next to each other, press together, and flatten with a rolling pin. Cut triangles out of the trio-rope. Repeat until all candy is used up.
- Allow candy corn to harden at least one hour. Keep in an airtight container for several weeks – until the candy simply becomes too dry to enjoy.
*This recipe is adapted from Emma at http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-candy-corn-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-99717*