Just about every major holiday in America is associated with its own signature version of what Jonathan Bartlett, author of The Cook’s Dictionary and Culinary Reference, calls “those sugary confections that feed our ‘sweet tooth,’ rot our teeth, and lift our spirits.”
At Christmas it’s the candy cane. On Valentine’s Day it’s the chocolate heart. For Easter it’s marshmallow Peeps. And come Halloween it’s candy corn.
Though candy corn is available year round, 75 percent of its annual sales occur around Halloween. Thus, each Halloween Americans buy some 35 million pounds of candy corn—which works out to about 9 billion kernels. Moreover, it’s not just kids who love the candy. The majority of it is actually eaten by adults nostalgic for their childhood.
Candy corn has even achieved something of a cult status. There are well over 200 videos on You Tube which feature it, including one of a candy corn figure dancing to Michael Jackson’s hit recording of “Thriller.”
All of this would no doubt have surprised George Renninger, the employee of Philadelphia’s now defunct Wunderlee Candy Company who invented the tri-color white, yellow, and orange candy back in the 1880s utilizing a somewhat tedious process wherein kernel shaped molds were filled by hand, one color at a time, with a candy mixture made mainly from sugar, water, and corn syrup. (So candy corn actually does contain real corn, after a fashion.)
No doubt the best thing to do with candy corn is simply eat it out of hand, but you can use it as an ingredient in other confections such as fudge or cookies. My favorite preparation is candy corn on the cob made by pressing rows of the stuff into a fresh Twinkie.
+++++Candy Corn Dessert Pizza+++++
This recipe calls for Indian candy corn, which substitutes a chocolate-flavored section for the traditional yellow, but the regular variety would work well too.
- 1 roll (16.5 oz.) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
- 1 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
- 2 cups Indian candy corn
- 1 cup roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 oz. white chocolate
Break cookie dough into small pieces and arrange evenly in greased pizza pan. With floured fingers press together to form crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes until golden. Cool completely. Spread Nutella over crust. Sprinkle with Indian corn and hazelnuts. Melt white chocolate and drizzle decoratively over top of pizza.