Candy Corn...it's been around forever. It only seems to show up around Halloween. We pop a few pieces in our mouths whenever we pass by a dish of it. But what is it? Where did it come from? How is it made? And why is it such a favorite candy treat of ours?
In this Hub, we'll answer all of these questions for you. Who invented it and the long history of this tasty little candy, how it's made and who makes it today, and how you can make it yourself. We'll also give you ideas on how you can throw a candy corn inspired party, because whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit, this is one persistent little candy...
The History Of Candy Corn
Candy corn has been around for nearly 130 years. Pretty crazy, right? It was first invented back in the early 1880's by a gentleman named George Renninger who worked for the Wunderlee Candy Company.
The candy was originally hand made, the mixture of sugar, corn syrup, artificial food coloring, and binders being pored into molds, one color at a time, but as time went on and technology advanced, machines took over this job.
The colors were chosen to mimic the colors of a kernel of corn. The candy corn pieces are approximately 3 times the size of a corn kernel, and I think anyone will agree that it don't taste like corn at all, although one of the candy's main ingredients is corn syrup.
An interesting statistic released from the National Confectioners Association states that over 30 million pounds of candy corn is sold worldwide each year (mostly in the United States and Canada). If each piece of candy corn sold each year were lined up from end to end, it world circle the globe over 4 times. That's a lot of candy corn!
It was first popular among farmers--corn farmers of course--but over the last century is has grown in popularity so much that it would be difficult to find a home in America where there isn't a bowl of candy corn available for snacking around Halloween.
Although its popularity has waxed and waned over the last century, through recessions, wars, times of prosperity, increased sugar prices, etc., this little candy survived and is an absolute must-have in every home during the Fall.
Not only is the candy still a favorite, but now there is tons of merchandise created in its image from figurines, to candles, costumes, lights, bags, shoes, wreaths, jewelery, dishes and so much more. Be sure to check out the items on Amazon and eBay below to see what kinds of candy corn inspired items you can purchase yourself!
Candy Corn's Adaptability
Now a days there are many different types of candy corn--it's not just limited to the traditional orange, yellow, and white variety.
Because of the candy's popularity, and because it is now so much easier to produce due to machines and mass production, candy corn is available year round, in a number of different colors, and for a handful of different holidays:
- Halloween still has the traditional variety, but you can now find brown, orange, and white, considered "Indian Candy Corn", which has a chocolate end (brown).
- Red, white, and blue candy corn is available for Independence Day.
- Easter candy corn, typically a variety of pastel blue, pink, green, and yellow with a white tip can be found in the Spring.
- Christmas candy corn, red, green, and white of course, is usually available starting in November.
- Valentine's Day bring red and white candy corn is now a favorite Valentine's candy.
- And the shape of candy corn can also vary. Kiss shaped candy corn (as in Hershey's kisses) can be found, and around Halloween it's not unusual to find pumpkin shaped candy corn with an orange body and green top.
Candy Corn For Everyone!
Today the largest manufacturer of candy corn is Brach's Confections. The company was started in 1904 by the son of German immigrants, Emil J. Brach. Brach quickly realized the potential market for candy corn and made it a main focus of his to concentrate on the production, marketing and distribution of the candy.
Thanks to his efforts, the company survives (and thrives) today and candy corn has become an American favorite.
The candy's recipe has not changed much over the years, and because it is such a simple recipe, many people make their own candy corn at home. Here is the most basic recipe for how you can make your very own candy corn:
* 4 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
* 1/2-ounce nonfat dry milk, approximately 6 1/2 teaspoons
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1/2 cup
* 3 3/4 ounces light corn syrup, approximately 1/3 cup
* 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
Combine the powdered sugar, dry milk and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Set aside.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a 2-quart pot. Put over medium heat, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the butter, clip on a candy thermometer, and bring the mixture to 230 degrees F, about 1 to 2 minutes. When the sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees F, take the pot off the heat and remove the thermometer. Add the vanilla and the dry mixture, stirring continuously with a silicone spatula until well combined. Pour onto a half sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat. Cool until the mixture is cool enough to handle, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Add 2 drops of yellow food coloring to 1 piece and knead the dough until the color is consistent throughout. Add 2 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.
Roll 1 of the white pieces into a strand that is about 1/2-inch thick and about 22-inches long. Repeat with a yellow piece and orange piece. Lay the strands side by side and press them together using your fingers. Cut the strand into 4-inch pieces. Lay the strands, 1 at a time, onto the silicone mat and press into a wedge shape, like a triangle. Use a wire butter slicer to cut the candies into pieces. If you don't have a wire butter slicer, use a knife, metal bench scraper or pizza cutter to slice the dough into small pieces. Repeat the procedure with remaining dough. Lay the finished pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to dry for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between each layer.
Candy Corn As A Party Theme
Are you feeling inspired? Are you thinking it might be time to throw a candy corn themed party? I hope so! Because of this candy's popularity in pop culture, it is extremely easy and fun to host a candy corn themed party.
It's relatively easy to find candy corn shaped/colored invitations to send to your friends. Be sure to include some candy corn pieces in the invite.
Decorate in (you guessed it) orange, yellow, and white. Add candy corn decorations everywhere! Wall decals, lights, wreaths, balloons, candles, streamers, and of course dishes of candy corn here and there. It's not difficult to purchase candy corn themed party supply kits either which will have plates, cups, napkins, table clothes, and other candy corn themed decor.
To really capture the theme, serve only foods that either contain candy corn or at least look like candy corn. Here are some great recipes we've found to share with you:
Candy Corn Decorations, Apparel, and Other Novelty Items on Amazon
Candy Corn Themed Costumes
- Candy Corn Costume; Child & Adult Halloween Candycorn Costumes
Wear the colors of Halloween with a Candy Corn Costume! Buy discounted witch Candycorn outfits for toddlers, child and adult, women and girls!
- Buy Costumes.com
Founded in 1999, BuyCostumes.com has grown to become the #1 online Halloween costume and accessory retailer this side of Transylvania. Actually, we're the #1 online costume retailer anywhere, since we sell costumes for kids and adults (dogs, too)
- Costume Express
Celebrate Express is a leading catalog and online retailer of party supplies and costumes. We currently operate four brands: Celebrate Express (year-round party supplies for people of all ages), Birthday Express (children's party supplies), 1st Wishe
Candy corn...you either love it or you hate it. Here is Comedian Lewis Black's funny take on candy corn:
Comedian Lewis Black on Candy Corn
Whatever your feelings towards candy corn, you have to admit that this little candy has definitely stood the test of time. Even if you can't stand the stuff, you can't deny that just the sight of it reminds you of Halloweens past--getting dressed up, Trick or Treating, gorging on candy for days...
I don't know about you, but those are some fun memories! And if candy corn can act as a catalyst to stir-up those good memories, I'll take it!
More by this Author
Baby tiger costume It's like double the cuteness! Babies are already super cute. Baby animals are absolutely adorable. Put a baby in a animal costume, and it's almost too much to handle! Not only is the...
Looking to host a cute ladybug party? In this Hub, we'll help inspire you to host a beautiful garden party, centered all around ladybugs. We'll share a few unique and delicious recipe ideas with you and provide...