Candy corn may not seem like the most timely obsession, but I have enough love for the stripey little triangles for the entire year. When I have it on hand, I only crave more. Paired with my fledgling obsession with making delicious treats, the quest to make my own was inevitable.
I’ve tried it twice, and I have yet to nail it. Candy is hard, you guys. Also, it’s said that humidity can ruin candy, and that you shouldn’t even bother trying to make candy on a rainy day. I live in a famously rainy climate, and on top of that, I live on the water. Not by the shore, not with a lovely bay view, but literally on the water. It is always an environmentally bad time for me to attempt candy.
But I love candy corn, and I hate candy rules, so I tried it anyway! I’ve erred in two opposite directions, so I’m pretty sure my third attempt will be just right, and then I’ll have the Goldilocks threshold for homemade candy corn all figured out, and I’ll never have to wait for post-Halloween sales ever again!
Candy Corn: my first attempt
I decided to go with Alton Brown’s recipe, due to the great reviews and it being the first recipe I looked at. I find it easier to make decisions when there’s one option or less.
Candy is tricky, even when the elements aren’t against you, so it’s absolutely crucial to have everything measured and laid out. Molten sugar doesn’t wait for anybody. It’s also a good idea to preheat your oven to around 300°. I’ll tell you why soon.
If this is your first sugar-boiling rodeo, make sure to watch your candy thermometer carefully. I’ve boiled a few sugars in recent days, and I’ve observed that the temperature definitely does not rise at a consistent pace. Once it’s boiling, it’ll slow down, and you might want to wander off and pick up a new hobby. Then, somewhere around the 200° mark, the temperature will decide to make up for lost time and it’ll climb and climb, and hopefully you’ll be there to catch it.
Despite thinking I’d learned a lesson with my lollipop adventure, I was slow to react at this point. I had reached the magic 230° mark, but I let it go over by a few degrees, and this is probably why my first batch of candy corn was so chewy.
This stuff hardens quickly (especially when you’re an overboiling genius like me), which makes the final steps of kneading in two different colours, squashing them together into a triangle shape and cutting the individual pieces challenging, and it’s probably not all going to get done in one go. If the visuals aren’t important to you, by all means skip the colouring.
I, personally, could never. Candy corn is iconic, and the white/orange/yellow colour combination is a huge part of the magic. And it looks great in a jar. That preheated oven comes into play here: use it to soften candy that’s cooled and gotten too hard to work with.
(I said “hard”.)
This batch came out too chewy. I ate it anyway, and so did my friends, but I knew the potential for a better candy corn experience was attainable. I tried again, and I’ll try even againer.
Stay tuned for more thrilling tales on how candy corn can go wrong!