Pumpkins aren’t the only thing I enjoy once fall comes around. Apples are in season this time of year, too, and there are plenty of ways to use them. I’m so excited that there are several orchards nearby from which Eric and I can get our apples. So far, we’ve only gotten them from the farmers market (where they came from a local orchard), but I’m hoping we can visit an orchard soon. Having never picked my own fruit before, it seems to me like it will be a magical experience.
One Saturday, after picking up several apples at the farmers market, Eric and I decided to make candy apples. We had all the ingredients at home and got to work melting our sugar. Once the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, it’s important to work quickly to dip the apples. I went a little too quickly, which is why my apples have larger puddles than I wanted. However, it was my first time making candy apples, and I know I can slow down a bit next time. Puddles aside, I was so happy with how these turned out. They taste just like the treats I remember my dad buying me at the state fair (he’d always have to take the first bite for me because I couldn’t easily bite through the candy). They’re certainly sweet, but apples with a little tartness help to balance out the sweetness. You can also add cinnamon oil if you want to give the candy coating a flavor that will go well with the apples.
- YIELD: 6-12 apples, depending on size
2 cups sugar
¾ cup water
½ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon red food coloring gel
½ teaspoon black food coloring gel
Few drops cinnamon oil (optional)
6 medium or 12 small apples (I used a mixture of green and red – green for the red coating and red for the black.)
I do recommend getting apples from a farmers market if at all possible. If not, organic apples are the way to go. You want to make sure your apples aren’t coated with the wax that makes them shiny because the sugar won’t stick nearly as well. Also, the sticks I used weren’t sturdy enough to really support the apples, so you may want to try using bigger ones or even plastic straws.
Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or wax paper. Alternately, line with parchment paper and lightly butter. Set aside.
Combine sugar, water, corn syrup and red food coloring in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer. Continue boiling until candy reaches 300º, about 20 minutes. Do not go over 310º or your candy will burn.
Meanwhile, wash and dry apples. Insert a wooden stick into each one and set aside.
Once the candy mixture reaches 300º, immediately remove from heat and stir in cinnamon oil, if using. Working quickly, dip each apple until completely coated, swirling and turning to coat. Lift apple from mixture and continue swirling and turning to remove excess.
To make black apples, add black food coloring to red candy mixture. Reheat, if necessary, to get the candy mixture back to 300º. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and allow to cool.