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Candy Apples: Another Sign that Halloween Is Coming!

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Signs that Halloween is just around the corner: the local seasonal costume shop’s sign goes up, Starbucks brings back it’s extremely addicting Pumpkin Spice Latte and Frappuccino, and the caramel and candy apples start appearing at the grocery stores. Not to mention the rows upon rows of candy bags with their fall packaging. But back to the important thing: the candy apples.

The important thing about candy apples (to me anyway) is that the crunchy coating your parents wouldn’t let you eat because of the cavity potential has to have some flavor. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love sugar. I am addicted. And rarely am I picky about how it’s done. But to me, apples coated in a plain crunchy sugar coating just doesn’t have that wow factor that I expect from Halloween and carnival themed goodies. My favorite candy apples are those with sweet cinnamon coating that’s so crunchy when you cut a piece off or bite into it, you inevitably end up with crispy little candy bits on your lap. The kind that would stick your teeth together and give your mum nightmares when you were a kid. Yeah…that kind.

Anyway, in an effort to be able to give myself and my friends this crazy addictive food all year round, I hunted down a recipe. A lot of them called for cinnamon oil, which is just silly to me. I can’t munch on cinnamon oil the same way I can little candies. I like the following because the apples get their nice red color from the cinnamon red hot candies, and also a wicked great flavor. To me, this is the perfect candy apple.

You will need:

8 apples (and therefore 8 friends to share with or a really big appetite)

8 wooden skewers

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup red cinnamon candies, like Red Hots

1. First, because you don’t want these puppies sticking, lay out a piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and give it a good spray with some non stick cooking spray.

2. Go ahead and get the apples ready by giving them a good wash. Dry them and remove their stems, and then stick the skewers in the stem ends.

3. Next, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then continue to cook, without stirring, until it reaches 250 degrees.* Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush occasionally to prevent crystallization (which would totally ruin that sugary goodness).

4. Once the candy reaches 250 degrees, add the cinnamon candies and stir briefly to incorporate. Continue to cook, washing down the sides, until it reaches 285 degrees.**

5. Remove from heat and give the candy a good stir so that it is smooth and even. Hold an apple by the skewer (make sure it’s secure!) and dip it in the candy, tilting the pan at an angle and rotating the apple to cover it completely with a smooth, even layer. Bring it up out of the candy and give it a good, slow twirl to remove the excess (you have seven other apples so can’t get crazy yet) and set it on the prepared baking sheet. Finish up the other apples in the same way.

6. Allow them to cool at room temperature and then have at it! These are best in the first 24 hours so they’re ideal for sharing!

*If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can still make these with ease. Use the cold water test for the candy stages. The hard ball stage is at 250 degrees. A bit of the candy (really, just a bit) dropped into ice water should ball up and hold it’s shape, but still be sticky. **The soft crack stage is at 285 degrees. A bit of the candy dropped into ice water will form firm but pliable threads.

[Recipe courtesy of About.com, photo from flickr]

COLLEGECANDY Writer