It doesn’t matter how old you are—everyone knows that the best part of Halloween is the candy, whether you’re trick-or-treating or buying it in bulk “for the office.” Every day this week, Bon Appétit staffers defend their absolute favorite candy, a thing we have very strong opinions about.
Every fall for the last four years I’ve Instagrammed a bag of mellowcreme pumpkins. That’s because they’re the best fall candy and the best candy period. But I understand that they’re also controversial. You either love the pumpkin, as you should, or you hate the pumpkin and are wrong.
First let’s define some terms. A mellowcreme pumpkin is candy corn in the shape of a teensy pumpkin. What is “mellowcreme” exactly? That’s not important. The pumpkins are made out of sugar, corn syrup, something called “shellac,” gelatin, sesame oil, honey, and four artificial food colorings including my favorite, Yellow #5. Look, I’m not saying they’re good for you. I’m just saying they’re the best.
The appeal of the mellowcreme pumpkin begins with the texture. They’re soft and dense like marzipan on the inside with a just-hard-enough outer shell. Then there’s the taste, which seems like pure honey despite honey being near the bottom of the ingredient list. It’s truly amazing what corn syrup can do!
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Not kidding about the ‘grams. Photo: Instagram/@ashapiro009
Some claim the mellowcreme pumpkin is too sweet. To these people I say, go drink a green juice. The point of eating candy is to mainline sugar into your bloodstream as quickly as possible. Mellowcreme pumpkins are the drones of sugar delivery.
Chocolate lovers won’t be impressed by mellowcreme pumpkins, but there are plenty of candies in the world for them. Leave mellowcremes for the rest of us.
It’s true they’re a little waxy. That’s because of the “shellac” that seals in all the good stuff and keeps the pumpkins from melting together in the bag. The inside-to-surface-area ratio of a mellowcreme pumpkin is high enough that the shell is barely noticeable amid the explosions of honeyed sugar that you experience while you chew.
Mellowcreme pumpkins are an autumn gift, a cure for the end-of-summer blues. Sometimes I imagine a world in which they are available year-round. There could be mellowcreme people alongside gingerbread people, mellowcreme Easter bunnies, and mellowcreme American flags. But I firmly believe in eating seasonally, and P.S. they freeze well.