I planned my costume a year in advance
.) This Halloween, I still don't know what my costume will be, and my column this week was thrown together at the last second.
What to do when a deadline looms? Recreate a classic. In this case, the ubiquitous fall sweet, candy corn.
Sadly, homemade candy corn is full of ingredients fairly similar to store-bought: granulated sugar, powdered sugar, light corn syrup, butter, vanilla, powdered milk and food coloring. Basically, a healthy snack. But it's fun to make and would be good for kids, as the majority of the work involves playing with the dough. I used this recipe from Serious Eats
I began by sifting TWO AND A HALF CUPS of powdered sugar with a bit of powdered milk. Powdered milk is a sickly yellowish color and smells weird; powdered sugar is a bitch to sift.
Then, in a saucepan, I melted salted butter, granulated sugar and corn syrup -- except, first, I accidentally started pouring the corn syrup into my sifted sugar/milk combo. (I do stuff like this all the time. The other day in the shower, I put conditioner on my face.) Luckily, corn syrup is slow-moving, and I scooped out the tablespoon or so in the powdered sugar and threw it right in with the butter mixture.
After the butter mixture comes to a boil, you stir it for five minutes or so, turn off the heat, mix in the vanilla and then mix in the powdered sugar and powdered milk.
Much like deadlines, Halloween is a holiday that often sneaks up on me. I always have grand ideas for costumes (or columns), I lose track of time, and then I've got to throw something together. (Except for last year, when