While I might have a reputation about being extremely uptight about knowing exactly where our food comes from, I also have a fondness for what a friend once called ‘food that isn’t really food’. Everything in moderation, including moderation. You see, I have a weak spot for things like twizzlers, corn nuts and that seasonal treat of pure sugar known as candy corn.
I think that a perfectly toasted marshmallow and freshly spun cotton candy are a certain happy that compares to nothing else. When that warm sugar hits your tongue and instantly melts – heaven right there. Nothing else really compares.
Every year, my family gets excited when it’s candy corn time. I buy exactly one bag, which is lucky to make it home intact. We descend upon it like vultures on roadkill. Everyone is happy – Mommy bought candy corn! It’s not fair trade or organic, I didn’t stop to think I could make it myself, I didn’t wait for it to be on sale, no, in a move that is completely and totally uncharacteristic, I buy candy corn as soon as I am able to accept that fall is coming. It immediately gets dumped in a dish, where we binge on it until our teeth hurt. This year, that took exactly three for me.
We never eat more than a bag – in fact, we are usually hard pressed to eat that entire bag. I guess candy corn is becoming one of those things we like in theory more than reality. Such is life.
This past weekend, Edie & I happened to pop into a Wegman’s. The bulk candy aisle is an excellent treat when you don’t have one nearby. I couldn’t help but notice Wegman’s had some candy corn choices in flavors I’d never imagined, in what I call Willy Wonka inspired. I freely admit that I prefer chocolate twizzlers to the regular (although I will not eat any of the other flavors because those are just gross), so why wouldn’t I try some of these new candy corn flavors? Besides, they were pretty, with one being in shades of purple. Purple, people – my favorite color!
In that mix are the original Brach’s candy corn. They are the traditional yellow bottom, orange middle and white tip (like my toenails!). Then we have the knock-off candy corn from the bulk bin, with the brown bottom, orange middle and white tip, the ‘caramel flavored’ candy corn with the brown bottom, golden middle and white tip and last but not least, the blackberry cobbler candy corn in shades of purple with a white tip.
There is a distinct difference in Brach’s candy corn and other brands. Brach’s tastes like pure sugar, none of that waxy taste the knock off from the bulk bin has. I can report that the caramel flavored ones tasted like toasted sugar, but they still left a waxy aftertaste. Not bad, but not great either. If I’m going to eat pure sugar masquerading as fake food, I want to taste the sugar and not the crap holding it together. And that blueberry cobbler candy corn? I found it fruity yet waxy. Pat said it tasted the way a certain well known scented candle store smells when you first enter it – everyone else that tasted it agreed. It’s not candy, it’s eating the way a candle store smells. Willy Wonka would be ashamed it was on the shelves.
There you have it. My report on the flavored candy corns I stumbled across. Stick to the Brach’s original candy corn is my recommendation.
In other food news, Tastykake’s seasonal pumpkin pie is on the shelves. With seemingly everything available in pumpkin flavor from Labor Day onwards these days, I sort of feel like pumpkin has jumped the shark. The Tastykake pumpkin pie has been a fall standard for me since I was in high school and made lunch out of those suckers (paired with an apple of course!) as long as they were available in the school cafeteria.
To me, it’s the original seasonal treat and the one I look forward to the most. Sandwiched between two pie crusts is that creamy, genuine pumpkin filling. Back in the old days, the only time I could get my treasured pumpkin pie outside of Thanksgiving day (and even then, pumpkin pie was not always a given) was thanks to Tastykake. They still taste as good as I remember – maybe even better, which is an extremely rare feat for any processed food these days. Other Tastykake flavors (I’m looking at you Butterscotch Krimpets) have not held up quite as well. I highly recommend grabbing yourself one if you see it.
10 thoughts on “Seasonal treats.”
Oh, I love the original candy corn too. I haven’t bought any this year (yet) –it’s not peanut-safe, so I feel a little guilty popping it in the shopping cart when Emma is along.
I have been having a lesson in sweets I don’t like, with this cake-decorating business. Frosting made with vegetable shortening? Yuck! I don’t care whether you put real vanilla or fake butter flavor, I can’t stand the mouth-feel.
I have never heard of Tastykakes –I’ll have to see if we have them around here.
Tastykakes are from Phillie I believe and are still fairly regional. I can’t always find them down here. I found that one on the road home from Baltimore.
There are bakeries who will use the real thing – butter. Anyone that tells you to use anything else is just cheap and lazy.
I love my candy corn, and I do adore purple so I’m a bit disappointed the purple candy corn is not as good as the regular.
Perhaps if Brachs made it?
Nobody does candy corn like Brach’s, you are right. I tried another bag this year and it was NOT good.
Tastykakes…you Virginia people have all the good stuff.
Tastykakes are not Virginia – they are from Phillie and can be hard to find here. I found that as we were driving back from Baltimore.
I had never heard of Tastykake before, so I had to Google it. Believe it or not, Amazon sells a 6 pack of the pumpkin pies. It is $20, but it’s available.
Of course Amazon sells it. They sell everything!
Brachs is also the only acceptable brand for jelly beans. We bought the generic candy corn pumpkins at Cville Market and my kids complained that they tasted wrong. We got a bag of Brach’s and all is well.
I don’t mind fake food once in a while either, and I will order a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte at least once during the season. There’s a coffee shop downtown that makes a non-fake pumpkin latte with real pumpkin and it’s not very good. Sometimes fake is the right choice.
I bought off brand jelly beans once. I’ve learned that lesson.
I made my own pumpkin spice latte mix once – it was good, but I don’t like them enough to warrant making it. Considering I only have one, maybe two a season, I don’t mind the fake stuff when I do get them.