Sunday, October 30, 2011

DIY Candy Corn

When I first started vetting projects to include in the Bust DIY Guide to Life, there was one project that truly intrigued me. Possibly more than any of the other projects in the book. The DIY Candy Corn! (Or, as it is called in the book, "Confection Perfection"). You see, this is my kind of craft project. It's one of those things that had never even occurred to me I could make at home. As in, this candy seems so inhumanly manufactured that I'm shocked it contains ingredients that one might find in a grocery store. But alas, it can be made! By human hands, in fact. And so, since it's Halloween and all and on Saturday it snowed and we couldn't conceive of actually going anywhere for the first twelve hours of the day, we decided to make candy corn.
The first step to DIY candy corn is to make a boiling mess of granulated sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Nine out of ten dentists agree that just thinking about this combination of ingredients will make your teeth lose enamel. Once this combination reaches a kind of voluptuous sinister boil, you add some powdered sugar and powdered milk, a little salt and vanilla, and your "dough" is done. Are you horrified yet? 

Once it's cooled down a bit, you separate the "dough" into three parts and dye one group yellow and one group orange, and you leave that last group au naturel. 
Around this time, Robb walked into the kitchen and I could tell by the fascinated-yet-disturbed look on his face that he wanted to be a part of the candy corn making. And thank goodness he did! Because someone had to keep their hands un-sticky to take photos. Robb got to rolling that dough out into thin little snakes. (The orange ones, when photographed alone, look disturbingly like long hot dogs.) He laid them out side be side and squished them together with his hands.
Then he smoothed them across the top with the flat end of a wooden spoon, which really seals the gap between the layers.
Then, the fun part! We grabbed a knife and started cutting out the strips into "corn" shapes. (Also, I'm sorry, but  candy corn is not shaped anything like corn. Just FYI.)

We were super stoked when we cut out our first strip of candy corn, but then we quickly grew a little tired of the process. You see, the candy hardens up as it cools, so you have to work fast. And there were so many candy corns to make! It was seemingly never ending! (In reality, however, the whole production probably took about 45 minutes. We just have short attention spans.) We also got tired of the classic Halloween colors and did one batch with a green stripe. Hilarious true story: a guy at the bar last night, who happened to be dressed as Salieri from Amadeus, ate a piece of the regular candy corn and then ate a piece of the green candy corn. While chewing the green candy corn, he actually said, "mmm...I like the fruit flavored kind!" There was no fruit flavoring. They are all the same. (Of course, we did not tell him this.) The power of suggestion is strong, my friends!
Ultimately, I can't decide if these taste anything like the storebought ones do. People say that they do, but Robb and I both think they taste like butter. Which is not exactly a bad thing. They definitely don't look like the storebought ones, which pleases me. Final verdict? I like these weird little candies.
Finally, because it's Halloween, I have to share with you a story of great coincidence!  See these two pugs above? Well, when I asked all of you to vote on which dinosaur I should knit a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine was dogsitting these pugs. And when I opened up the voting to include kids and pets, these two dogs voted! But what's spoooooky is that my friend did not tell the pet's owners about the dinosaur votes (I mean, why would she?), but then just this week, she sees these photos on Facebook: Wonton and Mu-Shu dressed up as dinosaurs for Halloween! And look at those tiny forearms on Mu-Shu!! Anyway, I can't help but see this as a cosmic coincidence of the dinosaur variety.
And I'm sure that the pugs, along with any other interested parties, will be happy to know that my T-Rex is nearly stuffed! I will do a great reveal soon! Promise!


  1. It's only Nov. 2 and I already miss candy corn so much. Did you know (of course you didn't) that I ate an entire bag of Target candy corn by myself this year? Not in one night! But close enough.

    Which is to say: I should not make this stuff at home. But it sure looks pretty!

  2. This looks dangerously addictive. At least you had a place to take it to, and still had a blast making it. I will have to give you Robb's Great Aunt Doris's Christmas Taffy recipe. You have to pull it after it cooks and she always said that it turned out best if made on a very cold winters day. It might be in Robb's recipe book that I made him... ??

  3. I conducted some research yesterday to figure out why our candy corn doesn't have the same addictive quality as storebought candy corn and I discovered that my recipe lacks a key ingredient: marshmallow! I'm convinced that's what's missing. Seriously, eat a candy corn (if you have any left) and tell me you don't taste marshmallow.

    Kaye, I need that taffy recipe! I'm going to go look in the cookbook now! You know I love making anything that will potentially trash the kitchen!

  4. Hey -- do you happen to know what size costumes your friend's friend's pugs are wearing? Pugs are hard to fit... and Animal Planet has no size information; I have to mail order them.

  5. Hey -- do you happen to know what size costumes your friend's friend's pugs are wearing? Pugs are hard to fit... and Animal Planet has no size information; I have to mail order them.

    1. Hi Andrea,sadly I have no clue! They were friends of friends, so I don't have access to the info. Looks like they might sell them at Party City...maybe they have better info about sizing?