For so many of us, the candied apple represents a simpler time, a time when the fall foliage began to peak and we would unpack our sweaters from the attic or basement. When going apple picking was a family event everyone looked forward to. When children would spend weeks coming up with ideas for Halloween (which, for some of us, meant mom staying up late sewing together mismatched old clothes to make a creepy zombie costume), and when homemade Halloween treats out numbered the pre-packaged ones purchased from a store. The candy apple was the sticky, sweet, “healthy” alternative that mom and dad could get behind, and we as kids thought we were getting the largest ball of candy we had ever seen! Sure, some were way too sticky and got covered with fuzz and glitter before you could eat them. And yes, some were so hard and thick they required dental work after eating. But they were a fall treat like no other. It’s said that the first red cinnamon coated apples put on display in storefront windows created more than just a sweet treat; it also created a color synonymous with fast cars and short skirts. Since the 1950s, people have been painting their nails, guitars, motorcycle helmets and cars candy apple red!
A fall treat like no other…
hen preparing your own candied apple, the first step is selecting the right apple. This requires a trip to the farm. Apples from the farm are fresh and firm. They have never been refrigerated which will help with dipping. They have also been handled less and are just plain tastier. An apple that has a thick skin and dense meat will hold up nicely when being poked with a stick and dipped in molten hot, 300-degree sugar. I recommend Honey Crisp, Ginger Gold and Cortland apples for this endeavor. Work quickly with your apples, and invest in a SILPAT. A SILPAT is a silicon mat intended for baking and pastry projects. It can withstand very high temperatures and absolutely nothing sticks to it. Nothing – I’ve tried.
Follow the simple recipe below, and be the envy of all the other neighbors this Halloween! That is, if the candied apples even make it to the door!
2 cups Domino granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
6 medium apples or 12 Lady apples
Line a baking pan with a silicon mat and set aside. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and food coloring. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between 300 degrees and 310 degrees (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, insert a wooden stick into the top of each apple, pushing it about halfway through. Set aside. When mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly, dip apples in sugar mixture until completely coated. Transfer to prepared baking pan and allow to cool.