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Recipe Tue Oct 20 2009
"What possessed you to make your own candy pumpkins?" -- I've been getting this question a lot over the past few days as I talked about writing this piece. The only answer I have is because it sounded fun ...and it was fun!
My original plan entailed making candy corn but as my sugary adventure progressed, I felt taking the leap into candy pumpkins was way more impressive--and I enjoy being impressive. The recipe is exactly the same for candy corn if you chose to go that route.
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. corn syrup
1/3 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. powdered milk (can substitute powdered coffee creamer)
¼ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. honey
food coloring (red, yellow, and green -- depending on what you're going for!)
Sift the powdered sugar, powdered milk, and salt and set aside.
Over medium heat, melt granulated sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Stir constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Allow the sugar mixture to continue to boil for 5 minutes -- if the mixture boils too rapidly your dough will not form properly, so be sure to stir occasionally and turn the heat down if necessary.
Remove from heat and slowly add in the dry mixture using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer on low. Stir in the honey and vanilla. Your dough should have the consistency of taffy or caramel -- if your dough looks like this, then you had the heat too high, try again on a lower heat setting.
Separate dough equally into three piles, dye each pile to the color of your liking (yellow or orange). You can use your hands or a spoon to evenly mix the dye.
Once the dough is cool to the touch, roll each color into even pieces of rope and carefully pinch the colored ropes together. Traditional candy corn has a white tip, orange middle, and yellow base - but you can do as you please!
Cut with a knife in a triangular, kernel shape.
Allow to dry overnight.
Separate dough into two piles -- dye 2/3 orange and 1/3 green for the stems.
Scoop quarter-sized balls of the orange dough and place onto wax (or parchment) paper.
Pick up one soon-to-be-pumpkin and hold between your index finger and thumb -- using a toothpick, gently indent the dough with vertical lines, place back onto the and press your thumb on the top to "plump" your pumpkin.
Top the pumpkin with a piece of green dough for the stem.
Allow candy to dry overnight.
As a side note, I did pass the candy out to family & friends to see if they could taste the difference between homemade and store bought. Most agreed the taste is similar but the exact texture is slightly different. Store bought candy is coated with an edible wax to help keep shape, where as homemade candies have a softer form.