Candy corn is iconic Halloween candy with distinct tricolor detailing and waxy sweetness. Some people find it deliciously sweet, while others are disgusted by its texture and taste. So, what ingredients are used in making candy corn?
The main ingredient used in making candy corn is sugar. Traditional candy corn recipes use sugar, corn syrup, salt, gelatin, oil, honey, dextrose, confectioner’s glaze, and coloring agents as ingredients. Candy corn is extremely sweet and tastes like vanilla, marshmallows, and honey.
Let’s now take a closer look at the origin of this sweet treat, how it’s made, and other details.
Fun Facts About Candy Corn
Candy corn is a special type of sweet candy that is very popular during the fall and around Halloween time. You can easily identify it by its vivid tricolor detailing and intensely sweet flavor.
Candy corn has a triangular shape, and the widest part of the triangle is yellow. It turns into an orange color in the center and ends in a white tip.
This unique color combination makes it resemble dry corn kernels, the difference being that it’s a strikingly sweet version. Hence, the name candy corn.
It’s believed that candy corn was originally invented in the 1880s by a Philadelphia candymaker named George Renninger. The Jelly Belly Candy company bought the recipe and started mass producing it in the 1900s.
Although candy corn is most popular around Halloween time, it’s not seasonal candy. It’s produced throughout the year.
Nevertheless, it’s widely enjoyed as a seasonal snack and closely associated with the fall season.
How Is Candy Corn Made?
When candy corn was first invented, the production process was entirely manual. A slurry of sugar, corn syrup, and other ingredients was filled in large kettles.
The texture and distinct flavor came from fondant and marshmallows that were mixed with the rest of the ingredients.
Once the candy liquid was prepared, it would be poured into kernel-shaped trays. Candy makers used a specific pouring sequence of the liquid (called fondant).
Three pouring sessions were necessary to create the tricolor effect. Once the candy liquid was poured into the trays, it was allowed to solidify. It was then packed and delivered to markets and fairs.
The recipe and preparation process of candy corn remains the same to this day. However, most of the process is now automated and requires minimum manual supervision.
A Closer Look At The Ingredients Of Candy Corn
Most candy recipes use plain sugar, food coloring, and flavoring agents. However, candy corn has a few extra ingredients.
The ingredients of candy corn are:
- Corn syrup,
- Sesame oil,
- Food coloring,
- Artificial flavoring agents,
- Confectioner’s glaze, and
Candy corn gets its distinct coloring from the artificial flavors and colors like Yellow 6, Yellow 5, and Red 3 dyes.
Most of the remaining ingredients are standard fare in all types of candy. However, the last two—confectioner’s glaze and gelatin are not.
Gelatin and confectioner’s glaze are animal products. Due to their presence, candy corn is not vegetarian or vegan-friendly. Let’s take a closer look at these ingredients.
What Is Gelatin In Candy Corn?
Gelatin is a protein made from animal collagen. It’s produced by boiling animal parts (usually pork or beef) like bones, tendons, and ligaments with water. It’s tasteless, colorless, and odorless.
Gelatin comes in the form of powder, sheets, or flakes. It’s a thickening or gelling agent that gives candy and other desserts structure without altering their taste or smell.
What is Confectioner’s glaze?
Confectioner’s glaze is another meat-based ingredient in candy corn. It’s also known as shellac.
This ingredient is a lac resin produced by the lac bug. The lac bug is a parasite found in the tropics. It produces a waxy resin as a protective coating to shield itself from enemies.
Candy manufacturers extract this coating and use it as a glaze for the candy.
The resin is shiny and durable, and it gives the candy a distinct shine. During the extraction process, other parts of the bugs may also get scooped up and end up in the final product.
Interestingly, candy corn isn’t the only type of candy where shellac is used. You will also find it in jelly beans, milk duds, whoopers, and various other candy products with a shiny coating.
What Makes Candy Corn So Sweet?
The main ingredient in candy corn is sugar. Hence, it’s not surprising that it’s very sweet.
Apart from sugar, candy corn contains more sweet ingredients that make it almost sickly sweet. These include corn syrup, dextrose, and honey.
The combination of all these sweet ingredients increases the sweetness of candy corn. It also creates a distinct flavor profile with hints of honey and marshmallow shining through.
Is Candy Corn Beneficial?
A large amount of sugar in candy corn and the presence of artificial colors and preservatives make it unbeneficial. The only source of nutrition in candy corn is sesame oil, but it’s also very negligible.
A single piece of candy corn delivers 7.5 calories. However, it’s worth noting that these are empty calories with no nutritional benefits.
Candy corn comes in bags, and each bag carries nineteen pieces. It carries 28 grams of sugar and 70 milligrams of sodium.
The total calorific value is 140 calories. Consuming one bag of candy corn will exceed the daily recommended sugar intake of 25 grams.
When we consider the benefits of candy corn, we should also look at the other ingredients and any potential side effects they may pose.
This candy has alarmingly high levels of sodium and salt. Manufacturers also use artificial flavors that give the candy corn its distinct taste.
The FDA loosely regulates these artificial flavors. Hence, we can’t clearly ascertain the possible risks of the flavors used in this food product.
Candy corn uses Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and red colors. Of these different ingredients, only Yellow 6 has FDA approval.
How Long Does Candy Corn Hold Up?
Candy corn has a long shelf-life. Although it’s sweet, it doesn’t perish quickly due to the high amounts of sugar in it.
An unopened bag of candy corn will last for nine months to a year. It may be edible beyond this date. Nevertheless, the manufacturer will not guarantee food safety beyond the best-by date on the packaging.
Once opened, it’s advisable to consume the candy within three to six months.
You can store candy corn at room temperature, in a dry place like the pantry, and it will keep well until the date on the packaging.
How Does Candy Corn Taste?
Candy corn has a unique flavor profile that some people love and others despise. It’s intensely sweet from the various sweetening agents like sugar, honey, and dextrose.
There is hardly any other flavor other than sweetness. Hence, it’s often not appealing to mature tastebuds.
The lack of contrast may be one of the reasons it’s not universally loved. However, it’s a big hit with young children.