The entire process only takes about 45 minutes from start to finish. Because none of us apparently passed Play Dough 101, we didn't make tiny ropes and hence tiny, store bought clones. No, our candy corn were mighty, genetically altered, super-sized even. We still ended up with two plates full for friends and an extra large pizza pan full for us. This recipe makes a lot of candy, so be prepared.
The only thing I did differently from all of the myriad of others who have posted candy corn is to add butter flavoring for half of the vanilla extract. Also, I waited to add the flavoring until after the cooking process. It seemed weird to me to add it before the mixture boiled....don't you think?
Homemade Candy Corn:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup (I wanted to use agave nectar here, but it doesn't substitute cup for cup with corn syrup)
5 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp butter flavoring
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup powdered milk
1/4 tsp salt
red & yellow food coloring
Bring the sugar, corn syrup and butter to a rolling boil. On low heat, boil for 5 more minutes. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter flavorings. In another bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and salt. (If your powdered sugar has lumps, sift...believe me, the lumps are hazardous to successful candy corn.
Stir the dry ingredients into the sugar mixture. Let cool at least 10-15 minutes, so you don't burn yourself. Divide into three littler bowls. Add the yellow color to one bowl and both red and yellow to another, leaving the third white. If you have food grade plastic gloves, wear them, otherwise, a zip sealing plastic bag can be used to protect your hands as you knead the coloring evenly into the candy "dough." When the candy is sufficiently cool, cut a fourth of each color out of each bowl and roll them into long ropes.
It's best to plan ahead when you start making the ropes. They don't travel well, so if you don't put them yellow-orange-white, you may end up with strangely unfamiliar candy corn. The color order matters. Once the ropes are made, slightly squish them together and cut them into triangles.
Continue forming ropes and cutting corn until you have made four separate batches.
The family's verdict: they tasted remarkably like real candy corn, but the texture was a little off. They liked how big they were, I liked how much fun they were to make as a family.