Candy corn--that Halloween staple--has come a long way from its beginnings in the nineteenth century. It has grown from a novelty sweet into a big business, with about 35 million pounds of the stuff produced a year. Given the ubiquity and high demand, it is only natural that candy corn manufacturers have begun tinkering with the recipe and creating new flavors of candy corn.
I found seven different candy corn flavors from Zachary Confections to review.
Zachary is a company that produces a lot of familiar candies that are often found in drugstores and grocery stores, like candy corn, mellowcreams, bridge mix, and chocolate-covered fruit and nuts. Zachary also provides candies for store brands--for instance, they supply the candy corn for Target's store brand. Zachary products are available at many supermarkets and retailers.
To preface this review, I must admit that I am not a huge fan of original candy corn--so please keep that in mind when reading my review. I do eat it on occasion, but I generally find it too sweet and one-dimensional. My apathy toward original-flavored candy corn is one reason I was so excited to try these new flavors--I was very hopeful that they could change my mind about candy corn.
Overall, I would say that Zachary makes great candy corn products. In 2005, Zachary candy corn won Best Taste Award in a blind candy corn tasting from The American Culinary ChefsBest group, so I am not alone in my observation that this candy corn is better than some on the market.
Candy corn belongs to a class of candy called mellowcreams (or mellowcremes), which also includes mellowcream pumpkins and other novelty-shaped items. These candies are distinguished by a shiny, waxy-looking outer shell and a texture that starts stiff, but finishes with a melting quality.
The texture of the flavored candy corn was really nice.
They were smooth, without any grittiness or graininess. They gave some resistance upon biting, but were not hard to chew, and were not too waxy. Most of the flavors were an improvement over original candy corn, which tastes like straight sugar to me. I did think that there were problems achieving a flavor balance--I enjoyed some flavors but wished they were stronger, while the flavors I didn’t like seemed too assertive. Overall, though, I liked several of the flavors and would consider buying them again, which is more than I can say for traditional candy corn.
Candy Corn Flavors I Liked
Raspberry Lemonade has a very patriotic color scheme, with a blue stripe on the bottom, a white middle, and a red tip. These would look great at a Fourth of July party or when used to decorate patriotic baked goods. The flavor is nice--the kernels have a light fruity aroma. If given these as a blind taste, I don’t know that I would have been able to identify the specific flavors, other than to say that fruit was involved, but it’s still a tasty combination, and pretty refreshing. The citrus undertone helps to cut the sweetness a little bit. I would have liked to taste a little more lemon, but overall these are a big step up from regular candy corn.
Raspberry candy corn has a purple bottom, red middle, and white tip. I liked this flavor even better than the raspberry lemonade. Again, I didn’t recognize the flavor as raspberry specifically, but it does have a nice general berry taste, and a good finish that’s a little bit tart.
Caramel Apple looks like fall, with a brown bottom layer, a red middle, and a white tip. Zachary also offers caramel candy corn (reviewed below) but I found the caramel apple flavor to be a big improvement over plain caramel. It has a mellow caramel-burnt sugar note, and a nicely balanced apple taste: it’s not sour apple, but it’s still tart and fruity enough to balance out the sweet caramel. Out of all of the flavors, this is probably the one I would buy for myself most often.
Tangerine can be distinguished from regular candy corn by its purple tip, instead of the white tip typical of the original flavor.
This version actually tastes like tangerine, albeit a very sweet, watered down version of tangerine. It was not nearly tart enough for my taste, but it has tangerine’s signature citrus tang. I would have liked more of the sour flavor, but it’s still a great flavor.
Candy Corn Flavors I Did Not Like
Caramel has a warm, muted color scheme, with a brown bottom, an orangey-yellow middle, and a white tip. The corn smells like a mild caramel, and it has a bit of a burnt-sugar taste, but overall the corn just tasted very, very sweet. If you love original candy corn, you may very well love this version, as it seemed very close to the original flavor. I found it too sweet and cloying, and would have liked a bit of saltiness or buttery richness to balance out the sugar.
Cinnamon is the only candy corn variety to only have two colors. The majority of the kernel is white, and the very tip is light pink. The look is playful, but the cinnamon flavor was dead serious. This was, without a doubt, the variety with the strongest flavor. The cinnamon was so overpowering, it was like chewing on a breath mint, and the flavor lingered for several minutes afterward. I found many of the other flavors too weak and wished they would up the flavoring, but this one made me desperately wish they’d dialed down the cinnamon. I can see this appealing to an intense cinnamon lover (perhaps those same folks who love cinnamon Altoids) but I found it overwhelming. It also made it difficult to eat the cinnamon with any other flavors, because the cinnamon flavor really lingered.
Cherry has a red bottom, a pink middle, and a yellow tip. This candy corn had a strong artificial cherry taste that will be familiar to anyone who has ever had cherry cough syrup before. As with the cinnamon, the flavoring was just too powerful, and I couldn’t eat more than a few of these at a time before I was tired of the sickly sweet cherry taste.
The Bottom Line
Zachary candy corn is available in a number of different flavors that are appropriate for holidays throughout the year, including Valentine’s Day and the Fourth of July.
Some flavors appealed to me more than others, but I think they’re a good novelty item, and a candy corn enthusiast would probably enjoy trying an assortment of different flavors.