Halloween’s here and you’re sure to be left with a stash of candy corn. Take a cue from some top chefs and make the most of this sugary treat – using it to take your Rice Krispies treats, cookies and ice cream to the next level.
In Rice Krispies treats:
Over the weekend, pastry chef Kim Clifton served candy corn Rice Krispies treats (pictured) for a party at Punch Bowl Social in Portland, Ore., and, she says, you can make them at home. Just sprinkle the bottom of a cookie sheet liberally with candy corn and press the Rice Krispies mixture onto the candy corn, which then becomes the top when you remove them from the cookie sheet. The treats are pretty much a guaranteed a hit, she said. “Some people can’t stand candy corn, but I feel sorry for them.”
In cakes and cookies:
At New York City’s Pearl & Ash restaurant, voted one of Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants in America, pastry chef Serena Chow makes a—wait for it—candy corn ice cream sandwich. She starts off by making a version of vanilla funfetti cake, only with candy corn instead of rainbow sprinkles, and then dehydrates the cake to make two flat layers to house the ice cream for the sandwich. Oh, and the ice cream is corn flavored and colored orange, yellow and white and placed on the sandwich in stripes. The cake is tricky to make, she says, but she recommends home cooks try pressing candy corns into cookies that are fresh baked out of the oven.
One of the most candy corn–crazed chefs we encountered is Jessica Mogardo, executive chef for Iron Chef Jose Garces’ restaurant group and winner of both Food Network’s “Sweet Genius”and “Chopped.” She’s been known to make candy corn cocktails (candy corn simple syrup, vanilla vodka and blood orange purée, shaken and served over ice), candy corn pumpkin bread (made with coarsely chopped candy corn that’s added to the batter to create a chewy texture), and even a healthy option—candy corn granola bars, mixed with nuts and maple. “I have to admit that when I was a kid, I would buy bags of candy corn and eat them throughout the school day,” she said, “even after Halloween was over!”
On a toppings bar:
This time of year, chef Jarret Brodie at NIOS restaurant in The Muse Hotel in New York City offers candy corn as part of a free evening sundae bar for restaurant and hotel guests—an easy Halloween party trick anyone can pull off (throw in some M&Ms, crushed Butterfingers or whatever trick-or-treat candy you have on hand). “Not everyone loads up on the candy corn,” he admits, “but it never goes out of style.”
In ice cream and gelato:
Candy corn–loving chef Keira Moritz, owner of Steel Magnolias restaurant in Valdosta, Ga., has made candy corn gelato, and says it’s simple enough to make at home, even if you don’t have an ice cream maker. Let vanilla ice cream soften in a metal bowl sitting on top of another bowl filled with ice, then whisk in candy corns that are coarsely chopped—“like pecans,” she says. Then refreeze. Moritz says she doesn’t get people who don’t like candy corn. “Maybe those people don’t like Halloween,” she joked.