A Halloween staple, Candy Corn can be found in almost every retail establishment that carries food or snacks. Like it or hate it, this triangular shaped morsel has been around for more than 120 years.
According to the National Confectioners Association, Candy Corn was invented in the late 1880s by a Wunderlee Candy Company employee named George Renninger. Wunderlee was reportedly the first to produce the candy, followed by the Goelitz Candy Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Company), which has been producing the candy since 1898.
Candy Corn was purposely designed to look like chicken feed and at one time that’s exactly what it was called. That came from an era when candy companies were mixing up slurries of mellow creme and molding the confection into the shape of pumpkins, chestnuts, turnips and other agricultural products. At the time, farmers made up about half of the American labor force and companies marketed agriculture-themed candies to children in farm country all year round, according to history.com.
Making Candy Corn
The basic ingredients of Candy Corn are sugar, corn syrup, and water. Later on, marshmallow and fondant were added and so was carnauba wax. However, since several brands make Candy Corn, their own ingredients are used. Some use corn syrup, others might have a sugar cane base or include different flavors for a taste twist.
The actual making of Candy Corn is a multi-step process. Per the National Confectioners Association, this is how candy corn used to be produced:
In 1900, it was the job of many men to produce candy corn several months of the year. Sugar, corn syrup and other ingredients were cooked into a slurry in large kettles. Fondant and marshmallow were added to give a smooth texture and bite. The 45 pounds of warm candy was poured into buckets called runners. Men dubbed stringers walked backwards pouring the candy into cornstarch trays imprinted with the kernel shape. It took three passes to make the white, yellow and orange colors. Originally, it was delivered by wagon in wooden boxes, tubs and cartons. The process is largely the same today, though now it involves more machine labor.
Since sugar is its main ingredient, Candy Corn tastes sweet. Candy makers have made Candy Corn more than just a Halloween treat; there is Christmas-inspired reindeer corn, Valentine’s Day cupid corn, and pastel colored Eastertime, bunny corn. However, each variation has the traditional vanilla undertones and buttery notes.
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