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.
Here's a way to elevate Candy Corn for your discerning friends and family!
CANDY CORN TRUFFLES
18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 Tbsp Grand Marnier (orange juice if you don't do alcohol
1/4 cup Scottish or dark orange marmalade
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
64 candy corns (about 3 ounces)
Line 8 x 8-inch baking pan with 12 x17-inch sheet of waxed or parchment paper.
In large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot water, use 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.
Chill until firm, at least 2 1/2 hours or (covered with plastic wrap) up to 1 week.
Put cocoa powder in shallow bowl. Remove chocolate mixture from pan. With 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.
Gently press candy corn into top of each truffle.
Store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.