Why in the world would you make candy corn from scratch? Three reasons:
- Unlike manufactured versions, homemade candy corn delivers a singularly satisfying sensation, a one-two punch of flavor and texture.
- Remember when you asked me that about marshmallows? Exactly.
- Because you can. (And it’s a lot simpler than you think.)
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- 4 1/2 ounces confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 ounce nonfat dry milk
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
- 3 3/4 ounces light corn syrup
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 or 3 drops each yellow and orange 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 and water in a 2-quart pot. Place over medium heat, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the butter, clip on a candy thermometer and bring the sugar syrup to 240 degrees F. Kill the heat and remove the thermometer.
- 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 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is cool enough to handle.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Add 2 or 3 drops of yellow food coloring to one piece and knead until the color is consistent throughout. Add 2 or 3 drops of orange to the second piece and knead until the color is consistent throughout. Leave the third piece white.
- Roll each piece of dough into a strand about 18 inches long. Cut each strand in half and roll each piece into a strand that is about 1/2 inch thick and 22 inches long.
- Lay the strands side by side (yellow, orange, then white) and press them together using your fingers. Cut into 4-inch pieces. Then, using a ruler or bench scraper, press each log into a long wedge, keeping the yellow section wide and making the white part come to a tip. (This color arrangement is classic but if you want to rebel, change up the combo.)
- Use a wire butter slicer, thin knife, or pizza cutter to cut each wedge into individual candies. Lay the candies on a piece of parchment until dry, at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container with parchment between each layer.
Why put nonfat dry milk in a candy? Besides flavorful milk sugars, dry milk contains a good dose of milk proteins, which can absorb liquid and coagulate into a kind of gel. This happens in the presence of enzymes and acids such as those found, albeit in small amounts, in corn syrup.