Abject Failure; Candy Corn in Chocolate Chip Cookies

November 9, 2014 at 11:37 pm 2 comments

Star anise and cinnamon implied...

Star anise and cinnamon implied…

... but not actually there.

… but not actually there.

There is a mostly full bag of Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn that is still sitting on the kitchen table after date night (and I mean definition 2; a weekly get-together of a core group of friends that is pot-luck and games or out for dinner and a movie). While candy corn is Miss Partner’s favorite Halloween candy, she flinches at it being pumpkin spice without any spices in the ingredients list except sesame oil. (Sesame oil? Weird.) To her, they are an abomination, and they are not being eaten. What to do to use them up…

Somewhere on the inter webs (probably a post from Serious Eats or Epicurious on FB), I saw a recipe for Halloween Candy Butter Cookie Bars. Did you know before chocolate chip cookies there was no chocolate and they were called butter drop do cookies? (For more info, this is a good article and so is this.) From these two little info tidbits, I decided to try candy corn chocolate chip cookies.

I carefully opened up the punished-red-and-white-checkered-cookbook with a cleft in the cookie section for my base recipe. I substitute bacon fat for shortening (because I will not use shortening), and a splash of bourbon instead of vanilla; this version of the dough is extra amazing (This is important to me, because I am a dough-eater and bowl-cleaner when desserts are being made. My parents are probably sad they taught me this). The candy-corn-abominations are a complimentary flavor to the spicy bacon and bourbon addition, so dough tastes great and even better after an hour in the fridge.

Usually, when the dough is good, the cookies are great; and they are still good, but the candy corn melted causing this project to be a calamity:

IMG_26721. Cookie texture. The candy corn broke up easily from Jezabel’s beating (my dark red stand mixer). The small pieces act like toffee. WIN. The big pieces that remained melted into a big, glassy, tough to chew interruption. LOSE. (This did not bother my band members.)

2. Liberation. I’m sure there is a more appropriate word (separation? dismount? severance?), but you’ll get the idea. Trying to get these cookies off the double layer cookie sheets was a pain. The cookies broke because the force required to remove the cookie was less than to remove the inadvertently-created toffee. The spatula would encounter the toffee and rip the rest of the cookie in half or fifths. Waiting longer for the cookies to cool didn’t help this much; the cookies might have been stronger, but not approaching the strength of the sticky candy-corn-toffee.

IMG_26713. Cleaning. The candy corn toffee stuck to the spatulas and cookie sheets and is a pain to get off. Lots of water, lots of scrubbing. For the rest of the dough, I lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper.

After noting the state of the candy corn after being exposed to 375 Fahrenheit for 10ish minutes, it occurred to me my candy thermometer could have informed this experiment; 375 F is not in the confection zone, it’s in the fry zone. Of course, little bits of sugar, corn syrup, air and yellow 5 would completely lose shape at that temperature. Oops. Searching the inter webs would have showed me “softbatch” cookies are the way to go with this project.

IMG_2674The addition of parchment paper inspired another experiment. The melty bits of the corn came off easily and had that beautiful gradient and glassy look. IMG_2676It would make a fantastic garnish to stick on some cupcake or mousse. I threw some candy corn on the parchment and baked for five minutes. It looked really scary bubbly but quickly settled into that glass-like state and in 3 minutes was cool enough to touch. It spread quite a bit. I would recommend three minutes and lots of space between candy corns, but breaking up the candy glass is easy, only it creates lots of sharp bits. Well, so do your teeth. Chew sugar glass with care.

I still had candy corn to use up, so I decided on another experiment; a baking project that slightly exceeds the confection zone (230-310 F on my candy thermometer). Blondies with butternut squash and candy corn baked at 325, perhaps? Yeah, they still melted… BUT they are a soft, oozing caramel instead of gum cutting glass. WIN! Especially with pumpkin ice cream and glassy decorative melted candy corn! Mission accomplished, sort of.IMG_2682

My kitchen mantra might protect the pocket book, reduce waste, and keep you from food poisoning, but my substitutions do not always result in resounding success. Abject failure is a little melodramatic. There were some things that worked, like small pieces of candy corn for small toffee effect and parchment paper to keep the candy from sticking to the cookie sheets. Magic was still made in the form of blondies with candy corn at 325 F.

The candy corn season is over. Perhaps, next year, I’ll try the soft batch cookies. Or I’ll just send the leftovers with Miss Partner to work so her coworkers will devour them.


Entry filed under: Baking. Tags: , , .

My kitchen mantra case study; sweet roll options Confession and Obsession

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laurel  |  November 9, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    what a great experiment! Your analysis was very informative. And NO, your parents are not sorry that you turned into a dough-eater and a bowl-licker! We come from a long line of dough-eaters and bowl-lickers. BE PROUD!

  • 2. icookandcode  |  November 10, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Good idea Maggie!


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