Homemade Candy Corn Oreos

“You smell the candy corn before you see it,” said Max Falkowitz in his Candy Corn Oreo review on Serious Eats. I read that line and a shiver went down my spine.

Don’t throw Cadbury Screme Eggs at me, but I’m not a fan of candy corn. Like Peeps, I find candy corn to be sugar without substance, a cloyingly sweet treat without any contrasting taste to bring depth and interest to its flavor profile. (For the uninitiated, the Candy Corn Oreo is a limited edition flavor of the classic Oreo that’s available only at Target for the Halloween season.)

homemade candy corn oreos
To sully the name and flavor of my beloved Oreo seemed like a Frankensteinian blasphemy, a hybrid creature so foul that I thought the pitchforks should come out immediately. However, as a certified snack expert, I felt it was my duty to grab a bag in the name of science and get down to business. I needed to confront these orange-and-yellow Oreos in the flesh and see if I could truly come to terms with making a homemade version.

Like a horror movie monster, once freed from its hermetically sealed tomb, the smell of chemical sweetness snuck up behind me while I whisked and kneaded, hovering threateningly over my shoulder, breathing down my neck just out of sight until I whipped around to find… nothing there. The yellow bag sat placidly on its shelf in the pantry, masking the terror within.

All right, all right. I’m verging on hyperbole here, as amusing as the Halloween horror metaphor might be to write. The limited-edition Oreos, as many have already noted, don’t quite match up to the taste of real candy corn. They’re more overtly sugary and, yes, artificially flavored than the waxy candy itself, as impossible as that may be to imagine without doing a head-to-head bite-off. But it’s true.

homemade candy corn oreos
The homemade version I’ve developed below takes the best of both worlds, giving you teeth-rattling sweetness with the honey undertones that so many have detected in candy corn. They’re just like the real thing, only without that creepy chemical odor—and best of all, they’re not restricted to a particular store or season. With this recipe, anyone infected with the Candy Corn Oreo craving can make them year-round.

And if I may channel The Most Interesting Man in the World for a moment, I don’t always use food coloring, but when I do, I use AmeriColor gel paste food coloring for the widest range of vivid color without too much mess. Remember when you would squeeze out an entire bottle’s worth of the liquid food coloring just to make one batch of red frosting as a kid, otherwise you’d be left with something sort of reddish but really carnation pink? You won’t get that with gel food coloring. It’s freakish and definitely not found in nature—but then again, neither is candy corn.

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    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Oh crap, Amber. I should have saved you some from the box I bought – they went to feed hungry co-workers already!

  1. says

    Super impressive Barber! And while there is absolutely no chance I’ll ever be making these (I have the same aversion to candy corn), I would love to riff on this recipe with other flavors. I love the photos too. Whose hand is that? :)

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Clearly those are my hands after I finished the GOOP Detox Diet, right? (Actually, they’re crazy cool salad servers from Target. The Tarj has some really great Halloween decorations this year!)

  2. says

    I absolutely love how you described opening the package of Oreos. Funny, but descriptive! I am THRILLED to see a homemade version of these because my sister never got to try them and won’t stop complaining about it. Now I can make her some!

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Colleen, I feel like I could have made a killing on eBay if I had just bought up all the Oreos in my local Target! I think it was the only one in the country NOT sold out.

  3. Joan says

    They look great! Definitely worth a try!! But not as tempting as apple-cider donuts..any plans to try them?!

  4. says

    Casey, I know I said not to OD on macaroni and cheese after the detox, but if those are really your hands, then OD away. 😉

  5. says

    Okay, this is one of the best things ever. I have to make homemade candy corn if I want to eat it nowadays, because all the store-bought kinds are processed with peanuts/nuts…so these cookies totally make my day (and, YES to AmeriColor…love that stuff). :-)