I mentioned in previous candy corn posts that it normally took me a couple tries each year to get the candy corn to come out right. Just dealing with temperature and properly measuring the powdered sugar really affects the outcome. Well, I recently checked out Sugar Baby: Confections, Candies, Cakes & Other Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Sugar from the library.
I may need to own a copy now. The thing that makes this recipe so much more reliable than my previous favorite is that it uses weights. Doesn't matter if you sift the sugar before measuring or if you spoon too softly or firmly. This one worked the first time. And I love mixing it in the stand mixer - so much easier, and cooler! Nothing like hot sugar syrup to blister your fingers... My notes on how I made this corn free: The recipe does not call for any flavoring so I put a tablespoon of honey in the cup before I measured out the golden syrup. If you are using a less refined sugar like the evaporated cane sugar I use, I recommend whirling it in a food processor, blender or coffee grinder to make it superfine. Otherwise it will not all melt before your mixture reaches the final temperature - especially in a half batch. I neglected to do that this time and had to add a teaspoon of water and baby it into melting without getting too hot. And it still turned out! I used the powdered goat milk again and it turned out beautifully; a nice chewy mellowcreme candy. And I did make a half batch - we do NOT need 400 pieces of candy. Remember that regular white sugar will give you brighter results and you are free to make the colors as bright as you wish. (The glycerin is something I have on hand for homemade stain remover but it is food grade. You can find it at Whole Foods and health food stores. I believe you can safely leave it out of the recipe as well.)
Update: I prefer to add some vanilla extract rather than leave it just plain sugar flavored.
Homemade Candy Corn - made without corn syrup
Makes 400 pieces
350g 3½ cups confectioner's sugar
65g ½ cup powdered milk
3g ½ tsp sea salt
300g 1½ cups granulated sugar
240 ml 1 cup golden syrup (I also used 1 tbsp honey)
115g ½ cup unsalted butter
5 ml 1 tsp glycerin
Blend the powdered sugar, dry milk and salt in a food processor until quite fine and set aside.
Combine the granulated sugar, golden syrup, butter and glycerin in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. (You can add a tsp of water to facilitate this process without hurting the results.)
Turn down to just below medium and attach a candy thermometer. Simmer without stirring until the temperature reaches 240ºF. (There is some forgiveness here up to 245-7º but it will reach temperature very quickly especially for a partial batch so be careful.)
Turn off the heat and pour syrup into a stand mixer bowl. Add the powdered sugar mix and turn on low with the paddle attachment until a smooth paste forms. Scrape the sides down and let it cool.
Divide the dough evenly by thirds. Color one yellow, one orange and leave the third plain.
The author of sugarbaby likes to form huge candy corns in a cast iron corn stick pan. Well, the book is all about sugar. That's a little excessive for us, so I make the little corn kernels. For step by step forming instructions see my first post on mellowcreme candy corn.
Allow to dry for a few hours, flip and dry some more, then store in an airtight container for up to a week. Keep in a cool, dry place. (They will last longer than a week, FYI.) ☺