I am just about to make some of these treats for a little Halloween get together that Isabel is having with her friends today! For any of you that didn't see this post last year, I thought that I would share it again because really, what is Halloween without candy apples?! Here is the original post below...enjoy!
Every Halloween, my Mom would make her own candy which included treats like chocolate covered sponge toffee, caramel corn and these, my favourite, candy apples! Everyone from miles around couldn't wait for this special occasion when she would cheerfully pass out her homemade treasures...even the parents would dress up to claim their candy apples!
To make these little beauties, you will need 10-12 apples (depending on the size), granulated sugar, corn syrup, water, popsicle sticks, red food colouring (optional) and a candy thermometer (I got mine at Canadian Tire...a hardware store in the kitchen section or Walmart should have them...not expensive, maybe around $5)
First, wash and thoroughly dry your apples...use any kind of hard red apple (the deeper red your apple is, the less food colouring you need to use)
Insert a popsicle stick into the top of each apple and set aside.
In a saucepan pour in 3 cups of granulated sugar...
...a 1/2 cup of corn syrup,
...and 2/3 of a cup of water...do not stir mixture; place saucepan on stove set at low heat.
For anyone that doesn't know...this is a candy/deep fat frying thermometer...I also use this when I make homemade donuts...the world is your oyster with one of these babies!! To test the accuracy of your thermometer, boiling water should read 212 degrees.
Clip the thermometer to the side of your saucepan and cook the sugar mixture to 290 degrees or to the "hard crack" stage.
In the meantime, spread granulated sugar on a cookie sheet...you will be placing the candy dipped apples on this and the sugar prevents the candy from sticking to the pan while setting up. Ha, betcha didn't know that?! (or maybe you did?)
Let the sugar mixture sit over low heat...it will start to bubble...do not stir and do not crank the heat up to quicken the process...just let it do it's thing until it reaches a higher temperature on your thermometer.
Once, the sugar syrup reaches a higher temperature, it will turn a golden colour...at this stage it is like molten lava and all I can say is "reconstructive surgery" if you dump it on yourself, so be careful!
When the temperature creeps up the thermometer, you can test some of the "candy" to check which stage it is at...get a small bowl of cold water and carefully pour a spoonful of syrup into the water.
The mixture is ready when the syrup forms threads in the water that will crack...let the mixture boil a bit more if the threads just bend.
When the sugar syrup has reached the "hard crack" stage, remove the thermometer and the saucepan from the heat (the whole process may take a while, so keep an eye on that thermometer).
Quickly but carefully (remember...skin grafts!), stir in a few drops of red food colouring, stirring at this point until all is incorporated...or use deep red apples and can the food colouring altogether if you're worried about kids bouncing off the walls with sugar and artificial colouring!
Plunge each apple into the syrup, swirling it around to ensure the whole apple is coated...
Let the excess syrup drip back into the saucepan...
...then set each apple on to the sugar lined cookie sheet.
Repeat the process for each apple working quickly to ensure that the candy does not harden before you have each apple dipped...you will notice, much to my annoyance, that my candy apples aren't a deep red...the apples weren't as red as I would have liked!!
Let the candy apples "set up" on the cookie sheet then wrap in squares of clear gift basket wrap (found at any dollar store), then tied at the top with a ribbon for that "Martha Stewart" touch! I find that even when the candy feels dry, using saran wrap seems to stick to the apples...that really makes you swear!
...and there you have it, keeping the tradition alive with my Mom's old fashioned candy apples! Warning, you may have the neighbours sucker punching each other for these! :)
Old Fashioned Candy Apples
10-12 hard red apples
3 cups of granulated sugar, plus more for lining a cookie sheet
1/2 cup of corn syrup
2/3 cup of water
red food colouring (optional)
1. Line a cookie sheet with granulated sugar and set aside.
2. Insert a popsicle stick into the tops of each apple and set aside.
3. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water...do not stir. Set the mixture over low heat and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Let syrup come to a boil until it reaches 290 degrees or the hard crack stage.
4. Remove from heat and stir in a few drops of red food colouring, stirring at this point until all is incorporated. Quickly and carefully plunge each apple into hot mixture, swirling until the apple is completely coated with candy. Let excess candy drip from apple then place on the sugar lined cookie sheet. Working quickly, repeat process until each apple is coated.
5. Let apples "set up" on sugar covered baking sheet until the candy feels dry to the touch...Enjoy! :)
* makes about 10-12 candy apples