Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Candy Corn Cookies, Made with Real Honey

Brachs Candy Corn are one of the great things about Halloween. They are small, sugary lumps that vaguely resemble corn kernals (think of the yellow end facing outward) and I, for some unknown reason, can't seem to stop eating them. Oh well. They only come out once a year, so I can't feel too bad about bringing a bag home.
I picked up another bag of them last weekend. If you've ever had these candies, do you notice anything odd about the packaging?

The "Made with Real Honey" claim is something I had never noticed before. Indeed, the older bags lacked this text. I checked the ingredients. On the new package:

And on the old:

It seems that Candy Corn have always contained real honey, but the company has only chosen to promote this fact now. It also looks like they increased the amount of honey, reduced the amount of wax (aka: confectioner's glaze) and removed the partially hydrogenated oils, making them trans fat free! Great news - I can eat just as many and be slightly less unhealthy!
I even noticed a difference in the taste. The new ones were larger, softer, significantly less waxy and sweeter. The sweetness was a distinct honey flavor, not simply a tooth-aching sweetness. Delicious, if you like that sort of thing.
Because I know not everyone likes these little candies - though they should - I decided to turn them into a batch of cookies to showcase the soft texture and honey flavor of the reengineered candy corn. I made a slightly soft, honey-sweetened cookie and painted on the colors with a egg-yolk based paint. The egg yolks create a very shiny finish, much like confectioner's glaze, and don't add any extra sweetness to the cookie. The colors look quite brilliant in person, so be generous when you paint them on.
I find these to be just as addictive as the candy version and there is no doubt in my mind that they are similar. Don't let that put you off because they are still, in fact, cookies and not sugar-ladenconfections. This definately gives them a wider appeal. They keep very well due to the honey, so don't worry about extra cookies going to waste. You can also freeze the dough for a week or two before using.

Candy Corn Cookies
2 1/4 cups ap flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup honey

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt. Beat in egg and, when combined, add honey and beat well. Gradually add the flour mixture to the honey mixture until you have a smooth dough. Shape the three discs into triangular logs (2 inches on each side) and freeze. If you want to roll out the dough, freeze as discs. Chill at least 2 hours.
Prepare paints (see recipe below).
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Take dough out of the freezer and place on a lightly floured surface or a sheet of wax paper. Slice into 1/4 inch thick triangles. You may also roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with a cookie cutter. Place slices on parchment lined baking sheet. Paint stripes on the cookies, yellow at the base, orange in the middle and plain at the top.
Bake until just brown at the edges. This will be 8 minutes for 2x2x2 triangles, as directed above, or up to 10 minutes for a slightly large cookie.
Cool completely on a wire rack before storing.
Makes about 4 dozen.

Egg Yolk Paints
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp water
Food coloring

Place one egg yolk and one tbsp water in each of three small dishes. Add several drops of desired coloring to each dish, noting that un-colored egg yolk will produce a clear, shiny glaze. For candy corn cookies, leave one egg yolk uncolored and add yellow and orange dyes to the others. Apply with a damp paintbrush in two or three coats.