Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cooking the Web - Homemade Candy Corn

It’s no secret; I’ve never been a fan of candy corn. To me, it’s an odd tasting candy that only gets stuck to your teeth. However, when I read about Cakespy’s recipe for homemade candy corn on Serious eats

I thought a homemade version of the Halloween classic might make turn me on to candy corn.

With only 7 ingredients, including the food coloring, this didn’t seem like a challenging recipe. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I started that I noticed Cakespy didn’t give any temperatures in the recipe. I should have known that making candy without temperatures is a surefire ticket to disaster, but I persevered.

To begin, 2/3 cup of light corn syrup, 1/3 cup salted butter, and 1 cup granulated suger were added to a sauce pan.

From there, everything was brought to a boil

Here is where this recipe goes awry. Once the mixture has reached a boil, Cakespy calls for the heat to be turned to medium and stirred for five minutes.

After the five minutes was up, the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract was added.

This doesn’t look right at all.

Now it’s time for the rest of the sugar.

2 ½ cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar and 1/3 cup of powdered milk were added to the wet ingredients.

The wet ingredients wouldn’t absorb a thing. I thought maybe the wet ingredients had cooled down too much.

I tried putting everything on very low heat.

Slowly, everything started to mix.

After a lot of stirring, I get an oddly colored pan full of sugar.

The next step calls for the dough to cool and then be separated into three equal amounts. However, that was not to be the case.

30 minutes later, when I came back, I had a rock solid mass of sugar. My best guess is that during that five minutes of cooking on medium, the sugar had rocketed past the hard crack stage and gone solid as a rock.

Not to be a quitter, I looked back at the recipe and scrolled down to the comments. It was more than happy to see someone had posted another recipe from the Washington Post.

This one came with temperatures, and the ingredients were practically identical. The only major difference was using salt and butter instead of salted butter.

Like before the sugar, corn syrup, and butter were added to the pan. I preferred how this recipe called for the vanilla to be added here. There wasn’t any of that annoying spatter that comes from adding vanilla to boiling sugar.

Once everything is brought a boil

The heat is reduced from high to medium-high and cooked for five minutes or until it reaches 225-230 on a candy thermometer.

With actual temperatures to work with, it was less than 3 minutes before my sugar hit 225. It’s no wonder my first batch turned into a rock.

Now the wet ingredients would absorb the mixture of confectioner’s sugar, powdered milk and salt.

After several minutes of wrist breaking stirring, I had something that actually looked like the white part of candy corn.

After everything had a chance to cool, I peeled it out of the pan and separated it into three portions.

It was now time for food coloring.

Thankfully the Washington Post also recommended mixing each portion inside a ziplock bag. No orange hands for me this time.

With a fair amount of kneading, I had something I could work with.

This is where it started to get ridiculous, but in a good way.

I didn’t have enough counter space to roll out all my ropes of candy corn.

After sticking the ropes together and flatting with a rolling pin, the ropes seemed to hold as one.

It was quick work with a knife and I had candy corn.

Yes, I know it doesn’t look like normal candy corn, especially since I got the color order wrong. What I was going for was taste and this blew the store bought version out of the water. There was the delightful combination of sugar and vanilla in every bite. It might take a few tries and little work, but the next time someone turns down candy corn, I’ll introduce them to some of the homemade variety.

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