A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 09, 2011
Candy Corn

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Candy corn
Candy corn is a confection in the United States and Canada, popular primarily in autumn around Halloween (though available year-round in most places). Candy corn was created in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company; the three colors of the candy mimic the appearance of kernels of corn. Each piece is approximately three times the size of a whole kernel from a ripe or dried ear. Candy corn is made primarily from sugar, corn syrup, artificial coloring and binders. A serving of Branch’s Candy Corn is nineteen pieces, is 140 calories and has zero grams of fat. Candy corn pieces are traditionally cast in three colors: a broad yellow end, a tapered orange center, and a pointed white tip.

Sales
The National Confectioners Association estimates that 20 million pounds (over 9000 tons) of candy corn are sold annually. The top branded retailer of candy corn, Brach’s, sells enough candy corn each year to circle the earth 4.25 times if the kernels were laid end to end.

Production
Originally the candy was made by hand. Manufacturers first combined sugar, corn syrup, wax, and water and cooked them to form a slurry. Fondant was added for texture and marshmallows were added to provide a soft bite. The final mixture was then heated and poured into shaped molds. Three passes, one for each colored section, were required during the pouring process.

The recipe remains basically the same today. The production method, called “corn starch modeling,” likewise remains the same, though tasks initially performed by hand were soon taken over by machines invented for the purpose.

Haunted Bay
Candy Corn
For those of us over the age of 25, when you think of Halloween candy you think of candy corn, those sugary little spikes of Halloween cheer. They’ve been around for as long as I remember and even as long as my grandparents remember but did you know that they were invented in the 1880’s? Who the first person to make these tasty treats was is unknown but the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia was the first to go into commercial production. However, the company most closely associated with this wonderful confection is the Goelitz Confectionery Company. Founder Gustav Goelitz, a German immigrant, began commercial production of the treat in 1898 in Cincinnati and is today the oldest manufacturer of the Halloween icon.

Making candy at the turn of the last century wasn’t the highly mechanized, year-round activity it is today. Candy was manufactured seasonally from March through November. Large kettles were used to cook the basic ingredients of candy corn, sugar, water, and corn syrup into a slurry. Fondant for smooth texture and marshmallow for a soft bite would be whipped in. When the right consistency was reached the hot candy would be poured into hand-held buckets called runners. Each runner holding 45 pounds of the hot mixture.

Next, men called stringers would walk backward pouring the steaming candy into trays of cornstarch imprinted with kernel-shaped molds. Three passes were made, one for each white, orange, and yellow color. A strenuous job at best before the days of air-conditioning and electric fans.

Chronicling America
21 August 1879, Weekly Kansas Chief (Troy, KS), pg. 3, col. 5:
Mr. Kuchs sold six dozen boxes of that candied corn, (each box containing a handsome prize,) last week, and will soon have another case of it, seeing how much the little folks like it.

6 November 1904, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, pt. 5, pg. 2, col. 4:
A Halloween party was given by Miss Odelin Vevera at her home, No. 562 Burton street.
(...)
The favors were small pumpkins filled with candy corn, which hung suspended from the chandelier.

Google Books
May 1915, The International Confectioner, pg. 43, col. 2 ad:
GOELITZ CANDY CORN
“The Kind that Sells”
GOELITZ CONFECTIONERY CO.
CHICAGO AND KANSAS CITY

31 July 1923, Oregonian (Portland, OR), pg. 3, col. 6 ad:
These Oregon industries make various Oregon quality products:
(...)
Goelitz, Herman, “Candy Corn.”
(Associated Industries of Oregon—ed.)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, October 09, 2011 • Permalink