I can’t believe Halloween has came and went and my schedule was too busy to squeeze in some yummy candy for one of my favorite times of the year. While surfing some social media, I saw Alton Brown had created a candy corn recipe. I knew this was to be the one thing I would make. Even if it was the day after Halloween! And I’m so glad I gave this a try. I’ve never been a big candy corn fan. The waxy texture just wasn’t appealing to me and the over the top amount of sugar seemed like a little too much for a piece of candy.
But the loved ones at home are slightly addicted to candy corn. So I figured why not give it a try, it has to be better than what comes in the bag. I throw the post up on Facebook and with in minutes, the response comes back with “sounds good, but there isn’t any real honey in the ingredient list.” Who knew he was reading those ingredient lists so carefully. I suppose I should have, since I make fun of him every time he grabs a bag from the store. I also know that honey is the next to last ingredient right before the drops of yellow and orange food coloring.
Then the next Facebook comment comes along with “no honey, no candy corn…#standards.”
Ugh….challenge accepted I’m thinking!
I will say it took a few batches to get this to work. I started out with just replacing all the light corn syrup with honey. Two issues with this. The candy was just like I dipped my finger into the honey jar and grabbed a big lick. It had no resemblance to candy corn flavor, and it was a sticky mess that was almost impossible to roll out. Then once rolled out, it slowly started to spread. So instead of little triangles of candy corn, we just had soft gooey messes.
The second batch, I went with a blend of light corn syrup and honey. The flavor was perfect! But still a sticky mess. I will say almost all of them were eaten. Even if they were ugly, they were tasty.
I was left wondering a few things.
1. The original recipe called for the sugar syrup to be cooked to 230°, which I was doing. Was my thermometer off a few degrees?
2. I had just opened a brand new bag of organic confectioners sugar. Is there something different with this compared to non organic?
3. Did the honey change the way the sugar reacted once hardening?
So I started with the easiest to determine. Checked the thermometer. Spot on.
Then I did a little bit of research on organic confectioners sugar. And not too much out there on the web about the way it behaves compared to non organic sugar.
After that research, I decided to change the cooking temperature of the sugar syrup. I bumped it up to 242° and it worked. Amazing what 12° can do when you are talking about sugar. This left me with candy that was still a tiny bit soft. You could now hold it, move it, and shape it. So there you have it! Thanks Alton Brown for the inspiration and my new addiction to candy corn! You can bet I will be making these at Christmas time, just with red, white and green.
- 4 1/2 ounces confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 ounce nonfat dry milk
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 ounces light corn syrup
- 1 1/4 ounces honey
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 or 3 drops each green and red gel paste food coloring
- Combine the confectioners sugar, dry milk and salt in a food processor.
- Pulse 4 or 5 times, until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Set aside.
- Combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, honey and water in a 2 quart pot. Place over medium heat, cover and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add the butter, and bring the sugar syrup to 242°, about 2 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the vanilla and the dry mixture and stir continuously with a silicone spatula until well combined.
- Pour onto a half sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Cool for 20 minutes, until the mixture is cool enough to handle.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Add 2 or 3 drops of red food coloring to one piece and knead until the color is worked throughout.
- Add 2 to 3 drops of the green to the second piece and knead until the color is worked throughout.
- Leave the third piece white.
- Cut each color of dough into thirds.
- Roll each piece of dough into a strand about 22 inches long. Lay the strands side by side (red, green, then white) and press them together using your fingers. Cut off the uneven ends, then using a bench scraper or ruler, press each piece into a wedge, keeping the red section wide and making the white part come to a tip.
- Use a bench scraper, pizza cutter or knife, to cut each wedge into individual candies. Lay the candies on a piece of parchment until dry. At least 2 hours. Store in an airtight container with parchment between each layer.