Since most Halloween celebrations have been postponed due to bad weather, why not spend tonight converting sugar into candy corn?
The best recipe I've found is one from Alton Brown, Food Network's resident mad scientist. The process is a bit time-consuming but fun, and the end product is worth the time for true candy-corn lovers. Here’s the recipe I use with tips from my own experience to make the process a bit easier. Set aside a couple hours, especially if you’re doing it with kids.
4 1/2 ounces powdered sugar
½ 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, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 drops yellow and orange gel paste food coloring
In a food processor or large bowl, mix the powdered sugar, dry milk and salt. Make sure they’re combined pretty well.
In a separate saucepan add the sugar, corn syrup and water and cook over a medium heat for four minutes. Add the butter, and cook until a candy thermometer registers 230 degrees. The recipe claims it takes about two minutes, which is wildly untrue, especially if you’re using a glass-top stove that cycles off and on. You’ll also need to stir pretty constantly with a silicone spatula (make sure it’s silicone because I melted one that wasn’t and had to start again).
Once you get it up to temp, remove the thermometer. Add the vanilla and then the dry mixture in batches, stirring in about half the mixture at first. Once it’s combined a bit, add the second half. Pour the combined mixture out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
Cut the dough into three equal parts and add three to four drops of yellow food coloring to one piece and the orange dye to another. (One will stay white.) I’ve found it easier to break the individual pieces up into smaller pieces to make sure the color is mixed through. Add more color to get your desired shade.
Roll each chunk into a long strand about 18 inches in length and cut each of those pieces in half. Take one of the strands of each color and fold them into pieces that are about a half-inch thick and about 20 inches long.
Lay the pieces beside one another — orange on the bottom, yellow in the middle and white on top for the traditional configuration — and press them together with your fingers. Shape each piece into a wedge, starting at the back and pressing forward and down toward the white. I’ve also found that standing the chunks up and rolling the orange end of the candy on the table gives it that candy corn shape.
Cut the candy into pieces using a pizza cutter and lay it flat to dry. Store the finished product in an air-tight container with parchment between each layer.