If baking cookies and cakes has become a little too basic for you, candy making is like the next step in baking difficulty. If you feel like maturing in the kitchen, tackle a good candy recipe.
Candy making takes an extra level of focus than an average baking recipe. If you’re trying to create a medium soft, chewy candy, you have to get it right in the middle somewhere. If the candy cooks a little too long, it’ll become a hard candy. If it cooks for too short of a time, it’ll be too sticky to mold and work with. The bummer is, once you remove it from the heat or once it overcooks, there’s no fixing it.
One way you can help ensure you get the right candy hardness is to use a candy thermometer. Another method is to drop the candy into cold water and see if it’s the right texture when you try to form it into a ball. Another method is to just follow the recipe to the ‘t’, because most likely the person who made the recipe has successfully made the candy, themselves.
It’s okay if you mess up the candy, first time around. There are many times I’ve had to just toss a messed up batch. Sometimes, you can turn it into a different type of candy or reuse it somehow. But don’t be discouraged if you just have to toss it.
It’s fall time, so candy corn is a seasonal candy used as munchies as well as decoration for treats. People either hate it or obsessively love it. In my house growing up, it was always around during this time of year. My dad loves it so much that he has it set out by the bowlfuls at his birthday party.
So if you’re throwing a party or making treats for someone, candy corn is a great candy to make. Even if some guests or recipients don’t like it, it’s very colorful and decorative! If made right, candy corn has a fun, almost creamy flavor. It’s also one of the easier candies to make, plus you get to use your hands to work the dough, so it’s fun!
It may still take one or two tries to get the consistency right. I know from experience. The batch I made in the photos was the second batch I made, after cooking the first batch for just that much too long. It wasn’t malleable enough to work the powdered sugar into.
So the second time around, I was adamant about reducing the heat right when it boiled, and removing it from the heat right after five minutes. The second batch turned out perfect. According to my boyfriend, I “nailed it.”
- 2/3 c corn syrup
- 1 c white sugar
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1/3 c powdered milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Red & yellow food coloring
- Mix the sugar, corn syrup, and butter together in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Once everything is dissolved and one homogenous mixture, turn heat up to high until it begins to boil. Then reduce the heat immediately to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes, tops. Be precise because it is candy.
- After the five minutes, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set it aside until it is just cool enough to handle, but still warm and pliable.
- While you're waiting for it to cool, sift together the powdered sugar, powdered milk, and salt in a large bowl. Once the sugar mixture is just cool enough to handle, add it to the powdered sugar. Knead the dough with your hands to incorporate as much of the powdered sugar as you can. If there's any left over, that's fine.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and roll it into a large log. Divide it into three sections. Press divots into two of the dough pieces. Drop 12 or more drops of yellow coloring into both divots. Drop 6 red drops into only one of the divots. Knead the color into the dough, kneading the yellow section first, so as not to cross-contaminate. You can use your hands if you'd like, or gloves. The color washes out usually after just a few hand-washings. Make sure the color is completely mixed in, so the color is solid and not marble-like.
- Once the colors are incorporated, wash your hands thoroughly to ensure you don't get orange dye on the yellow dough. Start with the white dough. Cut about 1/5 of the dough and roll it out into a long worm. Do the same with the yellow dough, then red dough.
- Press the three worms together firmly without distorting the shape. Use a sharp knife and cut the dough into triangles. Set aside and allow to dry as you continue with the remaining dough.
- Store in an airtight container or bag.