The concept of Candy Corn Oreos seems perfectly natural to me, as the fusion of two great American childhood icons of deliriously artificial sweetness. My tasters, however, all groaned or gasped when presented with this product, apparently feeling that somehow, corn syrup flavored like other corn syrup was the final bridge too far. “Candy Corn Oreos?” deadpanned one taster, “What could go wrong?”
As an aside, I should disclose that I am among the rare adults who genuinely enjoy the flavor of candy corn, in limited amounts and only when seasonally appropriate, of course. I have a tradition: every October, I hunt down a single bag of Brach’s Mellowcreme Pumpkins. Not the ubiquitous “Autumn Mix” that includes regular candy corn, brown “Indian corn,” and a few pumpkins – that won’t do. My annual fix requires the pure unadulterated glory of the Mellowcreme Pumpkins, which, to be clear, contain absolutely no attempt at pumpkin flavor whatsoever. They are the standard sugar flavor of candy corn, concentrated into a delightfully toothsome morsel about the size of a shooter marble.
The Mallowcreme Pumpkin is the uber-candy corn, upping the ante with the optimal ratio of intense interior chew to shellacked outer shell. In this larger format, the warm overtones of honey – which Brach’s candy corn does contain as a flavoring agent – are more perceivable against the additional sweeteners of sugar and corn syrup. I love the carved ribs of the pumpkin shape, and addition of the little green stem at the top. When I was a kid, ever attuned to holiday rituals as all children are, I made sure my Barbies and my dollhouse each received a Mallowcreme Pumpkin with which to celebrate their appropriately-scaled Halloween. I should add that, as an adult, my single bag of Mallowcreme Pumpkins will last me all month, because eating more than about three of these in one sitting will give one the shakes.
But I digress. When opened, the Candy Corn Oreo package has the distinct aroma of candy corn, which is to say, a bouquet of sucrose, fructose, gum acacia, food coloring, nostalgia, and childhood innocence. These Oreos are constructed on the Golden Oreo platform, which has a pleasant, generically sweet non-flavor that avoids any conflict with the main attraction: the candy corn creme.
The creme is split down the middle of the Oreo, with one side bright orange and the other bright yellow. The colors invoke the tones of markers, so the effect is cheerful and seasonal, like art class in kindergarten. I note however that the assembly of these particular Oreos is somewhat askew – it appears as though the two-toned creme was injected from one side of the cookie, and did not evenly reach to the other side. One end of the Oreo therefore ends up with a thickness even puffier than a Double-Stuf, while the opposite side has a very thin amount of filling. But this inequity is no matter, as the entire Oreo is gone within a couple of bites anyway.
The flavor of the creme, alas, does not quite live up to the promise of the colors and the aroma. Within the first bite, that initial sensation of candy corn flavor dissipates to a simple sweetness, not unlike the creme of an ordinary Oreo. That said, these Oreos are not unpleasant. Even the tasters who groaned at the idea and the sight of the package conceded that these were “edible,” even “surprisingly not bad,” despite – or probably because of – the lack of actual candy corn flavor. One taster accurately noted that the Oreo had the flavor of a sugar cookie with vanilla frosting. Only one taster firmly detracted, stating that the Oreo filling is “like orange toothpaste.”
Candy Corn M&Ms
The faint aroma coming off the bag is that of white chocolate, which forms the base of these M&Ms. Like many M&Ms novelty flavors, these are slightly larger than the traditionally-sized candies, and the shells are also less smooth and uniform, with a slight bumpiness. The candy colors are, appropriately, an equal assortment of orange, yellow, and white.
Biting through the crisp M&M shell, there is an intense explosion of sweetness. White chocolate contains sweetened cocoa butter, but no “chocolate liquor” (as it is called – nothing to do with alcohol), which is the magical compound that gives true chocolate its dark color and complex flavor. Lacking any of the mitigating bitter properties of the chocolate liquor, white chocolate can be a truly cloying confection, and here that sweetness is only intensified by the spirit of candy corn, itself a paean to pure sugar. That said, any suggestion of candy corn is quickly dominated by the white chocolate, which is perhaps why some tasters found these “less offensive than candy corn itself.”
After a moment, an additional flavor presents itself in the finish. It is difficult to pin down, but it me it is reminiscent of a mixture of powdered sugar and faint artificial lemon, for no explicable reason. One taster compared them to Skittles, another to Starburst. I find myself reaching for more in an attempt to understand them – an attempt that is, ultimately, futile.