Oct 13

Candy apples

Although I’m a big fan of caramel apples, I’ve never actually tried a candy apple.

Candy apples are the ones covered in red. I always thought they were cinnamon-flavored, but I guess not. Maybe some are. Also, I never realized the red was a hard candy shell.

Anyway, I always thought they looked pretty, so when I came across this Martha Stewart recipe, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m not very experienced at making candy, so I was a bit nervous. Anytime a recipe calls for a very specific temperature (this one was 300 to 310 degrees, or the “hard-crack” stage), I’m wary. But these seemed easy enough, so I gave it a try.

I gathered all my ingredients – and my thermometer – and got going.

All was going well at first. My candy mixture was boiling, my apples were washed and ready.

The tricky part is the temperature. I didn’t want my temperature gauge to touch the bottom of the pan, because that’s hotter than the actual liquid. So I was trying to keep the gauge off the bottom, but still in the liquid. However, every time I moved it, the temperature fluctuated 10 degrees. Ugh.

Still, I thought all was going well. Then I smelled a bit of burnt sugar. Darn it! Am thinking I should have used a heavier-bottom pan, but I’m not entirely sure that would have helped.

I kept cooking just a bit longer until my thermometer read 300 degrees. Then I quickly swirled my prepared apples in the mixture, then put them on a greased baking sheet to cool.

End results? Perfect texture! Well, perfect for what I was trying to make. It hardened and made a really nice candy, although there were some bubbles in it. I’m guessing a more experienced candy maker would know how to get rid of those.

Taste? Slightly burnt. Not overwhelmingly so, but there was definitely a hint of blackened marshmallow. Also, my apples were mushy. They came from the grocery store (I’m making a trip to the apple orchard THIS WEEK!), and the hubby also dropped the entire bag when moving them from cart to conveyor belt.  I know that’s not the entire reason they weren’t good, but there were a bunch of mushy spots on them.

Although it seems like it’d be hard to eat an apple with a hard candy coating, it wasn’t too bad once sliced. The coating is so thin, it’s easy to chew. However, you could stop cooking at the soft-crack stage if you wanted a softer coating.

If anything, these apples would make really pretty decorations. Not sure I’d actually make them again, though. But in case you do, here are some must-haves when making candy apples:

  • A food thermometer
  • Crisp, fresh apples not covered in wax (the wax blocks the candy from sticking to the apple)
  • Sticks for the top of the apples
  • Heavy-bottomed saucepan

Recipe: Candy apples

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 6 medium apples
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; butter or coat parchment with cooking spray, and set aside.
  2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, 3/4 cup water, corn syrup, and food coloring, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between 300 degrees and 310 degrees (hard crack stage), about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, insert a wooden stick into the top of each apple, pushing about halfway through; set aside.
  4. When mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly, dip apples in sugar mixture until completely coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; allow to cool.

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  1. Sarah

    I always thought they were cinnamon flavored too! How disappointing.

    I guess I’ll have to console myself with a caramel apple or two, made with nice crisp See Canyon fruit.

  2. Dan

    A word of warning: If you only heat the sugar to Soft Crack, a lot of the candy will likely slowly flow off the apples as they sit afterward, leaving a very thin coating on the apple. That’s what happened when I tried that a couple months ago, even in the fridge.

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