Monday, October 6, 2008

Hunting the Elusive Safe Candy Corn

It’s that time of year again – candy corn season! I love candy corn. I don’t know why. It’s kind of a ridiculous craving. After all, what’s so appealing about artificially colored bits of sugar? Beats me. But it’s hard for me to get into the autumn spirit without it.

Alas, it’s a bitter-sweet craving, though, because there are no brands of candy corn that are nut-free. (Not to mention they usually contain egg, too.) Three years ago, Target produced their own bags of candy corn that had no nut warnings on them. I was ecstatic! I even had their service desk call their manufacturing plant, who assured me that there was no nut contamination! Finally, my son could try my favorite Halloween treat! He loved them, and I was thrilled!

Unfortunately, it was a short-lived thrill. The next year, they didn’t offer that candy anymore. Oh sure, I finally get to share candy corn with my son, he’s developed a candy-corn sweet tooth like his mother, and now I can’t get them anymore. Great. So now I’m back to compulsively checking the ingredients label of every bag of candy corn I walk by. All brands we’ve found have a nut cross-contamination warning. I even asked my wonderfully helpful contact, Ronni, at Enjoy Life! Foods for help finding some. She asked her contact at the Allergy Grocer, and that contact said that no one is making allergen-safe candy corn yet.


My friend Kim was laughing at her own desperation this weekend, because she discovered a greeting card in the store that contained a small packet of candy corn, and she found herself reading the ingredients label, hoping they were safe. She was already calculating how many of the greeting cards she’d have to buy in order to get a reasonable candy-dish full of the colorful little treats when she found the words in the ingredients label that dashed her hopes. They weren’t safe.

So, what’s a food-allergic mom to do? Hit the internet for a do-it-yourself solution, of course. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to not fear the mixing bowl. This morning, I went on the hunt. Surely someone somewhere has tackled the elusive candy corn and developed their own recipe, right?

Right! I found a vegan recipe for candy corn at “The Urban Housewife” blog. Click here for the recipe. It does call for soy milk, but I'm hoping you can substitute rice milk if you're allergic to soy. I haven’t tried making it yet (I’m going to have to psych myself up for a 15-minute kneading session, since I haven’t worked out in … uh… decades?... and my upper arm muscles bear a striking resemblance to Jell-O), so I can’t vouch for the recipe, but it looks reasonable and the photos look tasty. (Maybe I can just show the photos to my son. “Here, sweetie, don’t they look tasty? Just pretend Mommy made some for you, ‘kay?”)

But if you’re a candy-corn junkie like me, and you’ve got the upper body strength to wrestle these little morsels into shape, this might be just the ticket to a tasty Halloween! And I like the Urban Housewife’s suggestion of hosting a candy-corn-making party so that you can share the kneading duties with friends. What a great idea for a kids’ party activity, too!

So all hope is not lost for us candy corn addicts. Where there’s a sweet-tooth, there’s a way. Enjoy this recipe, and many thanks to the Urban Housewife for sharing her recipe!

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