Saturday, October 30, 2010

National Candy Corn Day: Chocolate Candy Corn Truffles

I love candy corn. O.K. it's very sweet, but I only have it a few times a year. So knock me over with a feather if there isn't a National Candy Corn Day! October 30. I shouldn't be surprised. It's an American Halloween tradition.

Nothing says Halloween like candy corn!  Shaped like real pieces of corn, candy corn is as fun as it is tasty.  In addition to the original candy corn or yellow, orange and white, there are different varieties, including Indian candy corn which is brown where the original candy corn is yellow, adding a hint of chocolate  (it's only a hint and a bit waxy, and it's not real chocolate, but I don't care at Halloween).

The National Confectioners Association estimates that 20 million pounds (9,000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. The top branded retailer of candy corn, Brach's, sells enough candy corn each year to circle the earth 4.25 times if the kernels were laid end to end. Too much information?

Candy corn was created in the 1880s by the Philadelphia based Wunderlee Candy Company and, by 1900, was being produced by the Goelitz Candy Company (now Jelly Belly), which has continuously produced it for more than a century. Candy corn is shaped like a kernel of corn, a design that made it popular with farmers when it first came out, but it was the fact that it had three colors - a really innovative idea at the time - that made it popular.

Originally, candy corn was made of sugar, corn syrup, fondant and marshmallow, among other things, and the hot mixture was poured into cornstarch molds, where it set up. The recipe changed slightly over time and there are probably a few variations in recipes between candy companies, but the use of a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and vanilla (as well as honey, in some brands) is the standard.

Candy makers use a process called corn starch molding. Corn starch is used to fill a tray, creating candy corn shaped indentations. Candy corns are built from the top to the bottom in three waves of color. First, the indentation is partially filled with white syrup. Next, when the white is partially set, they add the the orange syrup. The creation is then finished up by adding the yellow syrup and then cooled. The candy starts fusing together while it cools. After cooling the candies, the trays are dumped out, the corn starch is sifted away, and the candy corn is ready.

There are a lot of Chocolate Candycorn recipes out there for Halloween:

Elizabeth LaBau has a recipe for Chocolate Candy Corn Bark. You have to love sugar for this one.

Bake at 350 has Last-Minute Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies    Yum!

And, from Sunset Magazine: Chocolate Candy Corn Truffles. I've adapted this recipe a bit, but not much. Simple to make and delicious. Perfect for Halloween!

CHOCOLATE CANDY CORN TRUFFLES

Dark chocolate and bitter orange offset the sweetness of candy corn in these fun but fancy truffles.  
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes, plus at least 2 1/2 hours to chill. 
Notes: You'll need 64 fluted 1-in. paper candy cups for this recipe.
Makes 64 'square' truffles. Be sure you have friends!

Ingredients
18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/4 cup Scottish or dark orange marmalade
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
64 candy corns (about 3 oz.)

Preparation
1. Line an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with a 12- by 17-inch sheet of foil or waxed paper.
2. In a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot water, use a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to stir together chocolate, cream, Grand Marnier, and marmalade until chocolate is melted. Scrape chocolate mixture into prepared pan, smoothing top.
3. Chill until firm, at least 2 1/2 hours or (covered with plastic wrap) up to 1 week.
4. Put cocoa powder in a shallow bowl. Remove chocolate mixture from pan. With a long, sharp knife, cut chocolate mixture into 64 squares, each about 3/4 in. wide. Roll squares in cocoa powder to coat; place 1 square in each paper cup.
5. Gently press a candy corn into the top of each truffle. Store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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