It's a cold, lonely world out there for candy corn devotees. For me, the candy is an essential autumnal snack. For my wife, that bag of Brachs might as well be stuffed with poison—and she's in the majority. According to a 2010 "brand passion" survey, candy corn "generated the most negative feelings from consumers." There's no doubt those little syrupy nuggets are Halloween's most controversial candy. But perhaps candy corn just needs a little reinvention? Surely, if pumpkin spice can take over October menus, so can candy corn. Challenged, and inspired, we took our corn into the Sarasota Magazine test kitchen to see if we could come up with some delicious recipes that might introduce candy corn to a new audience. Did we succeed? Read on...

Candy corn liqueur  2  evryyp

Candy Corn Liqueur

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Candy corn liqueur  1  am3obv

Inspired by a recipe we found online for candy corn-infused vodka shots, we put together a sampling of sweet, sipping liqueurs, using different ratios of candy corn to Smirnoff. We weren't seeking something to throw back quickly, but instead wanted a complex, developed quaff perfect for stimulating an intellectual after-dinner convo. We tried two different ratios: one with a 1:2 ratio of whole candy corn to vodka and one with a 1:1 ratio. We combined the ingredients in glass jars and allowed them to sit for 24 hours, during which the candy corn almost entirely disappeared. We then strained the liquid through a cheesecloth.

HOW IT TASTES:

The 1:1 ratio liqueur won our taste test, sort of. It possessed a creamier, more fortified texture, and it benefited from a night in the fridge. But really, it was disgusting, like drinking bootleg lighter fluid. Apparently, vodka brings out candy corn's "artificial flavor" notes.

WHEN TO SERVE IT:

Never. Or: at the very end of your dinner party, when you want to not-so-subtly tell your friends to get the hell out.

Candy corn bacon  2  aeje1u

Candy Corn Bacon

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Everyone loves bacon, right? We wanted to improve the perennial meaty favorite by applying a candy corn glaze during the bacon baking process. We first attempted to grate candy corn into a powder with which to dress uncured bacon, but we quickly learned that candy corn doesn't grate. Instead, it became gooey and clogged up our Microplane. For a backup, we roughly chopped the candy and coated the meat with the crumbs.

Candy corn bacon  1  ojuxar

Our first bake—20 minutes at 425 degrees—left everything incinerated. For our second attempt, we turned the oven down to 400 and closely monitored the cooking process. At seven minutes, the candy corn had melted entirely and was about to burn. We glazed the bacon with the liquid then transferred it from a metal sheet pan to a glass pan and cooked it for roughly nine minutes longer. Victory.

HOW IT TASTES:

Not entirely awful. After cooling on a wire rack, the bacon was crisp and porky, with a hint of sweetness from the candy. But our kitchen smelled terrible. We're not sure it was worth the stench.

WHEN TO SERVE IT:

When you're trying to impress the kind of jerk who thinks eating something unusual is some kind of accomplishment. Otherwise, just make bacon.

Candy corn latte guxym2

Candy Corn Latte

HOW TO MAKE IT:

We used a Magic Bullet blender to reduce two tablespoons of candy corn into a gooey mass, then blended that with two-thirds of the espresso made with a six-cup Bialetti stovetop pot. We were wrong to think the candy would melt. It stayed relatively solid, even after a bout of aggressive stirring. We eventually added enough hot milk to fill a 16-ounce coffee cup and let it sit for three minutes. The corn melted some, but not entirely. To gild the lily, we dropped in three whole candy corns.

HOW IT TASTES:

It's coffee, milk and sugar! Of course it tastes good! Finally, a recipe we could be proud of.

WHEN TO SERVE IT:

All day every day. But we do think our recipe could still be improved. Next go-'round, we plan to make a candy corn syrup to then blend with the coffee.

In Conclusion...

Did we succeed in reinventing candy corn and broadening its appeal beyond its hardcore base? Probably not. Did we waste a lot of time coming up with recipes no one will ever, ever use? Indeed. Happy Halloween.

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