You may have noticed a tiny new feature on the bottom left corner of my blog. It’s a quote from Julia Child that says, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
I put that quote there as a gentle reminder this week, while I was about halfway through a battle with homemade candy corn.
It’s ironic… this recipe was supposed to be my victorious return to the kitchen after my soufflops. Proof that I actually knew my way around a spatula. But I forgot one teensy little lesson I learned last fall: my candy thermometer is off. Way off.
First my dough was overcooked, and ended up as hard as toffee. Then it was undercooked and spread too thin, a gloopy, sticky mess.
I was frustrated, infuriated, ready to throw in the (kitchen) towel. It didn’t help that over the course of one week I had also ruined a batch of caramel sauce, boiled over homemade ginger syrup and raspberry syrup, made granola bars that crumbled into plain old granola, and burnt a pan of homemade graham crackers.
But that candy corn. Oh how it vexed me. And then in swept Julia with her masterfully timed words of wisdom. So I sat myself down, did a little more research, and compared recipes and techniques across the world wide web. Sorry Alton, your recipe just wasn’t gonna cut it. I combined a couple different recipes, and on my third try… oh yes. I ended up with three glorious mounds of candy dough. And I rolled those mounds into ropes, and I squished them together, and I sliced them up. And it was good.
I will admit that this recipe is finicky, and I don’t know if I’ll make it again. But at least now I can lay my spatula down to rest, knowing once and for all that candy corn will never again get the best of me.
(P.S.: Click here to see a picture of my lovely photography assistant. Meow!)
Homemade Candy Corn
- 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup powdered milk
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup corn syrup
- 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
- gel food coloring
Sift together the powdered sugar, powdered milk, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, just until it boils, then turn the heat down to medium and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Stir in the milk mixture until completely combined. Let it sit for a few minutes until it is cool enough to handle. Place on a countertop that has been lightly greased with cooking spray.
Using a sharp knife that has also been greased with cooking spray, divide the mixture into thirds. Add desired food coloring(s). Knead each portion of dough until the color is distributed and the dough is smooth.
Roll each section of dough into a rope about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Place the 3 ropes side by side and press lightly together. If the dough gets too stuff, microwave for 5 seconds to soften.
Use the knife to cut the rope into triangles. Transfer to a baking sheet. Let sit for at least an hour.
Makes about 22 ounces.
Nutrition facts (per ounce, about 10-12 pieces): 135 calories, 2.6 g fat, 29.4 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0.1 g protein.