Toffee (Candy) Apples
Although I don’t relish the shortening days and the dropping temperatures of the autumn and approaching winter, I do relish the food. I love the change of seasonal foods and of course all the celebrations that go with them. Although every season has its own foodie treats, autumn is for me, I think, my favourite. All those mushrooms, shell fish, root vegetables and of course fruits. Traditionally a time of harvest, there are so many festivals and holidays to celebrate this abundance of food, whether your thing is Hallowe’en, Sinterklaas, Thanksgiving or Davali, (or are like me and celebrate as many of them as you can) there’s plenty of great food around to make each occasion a real feast!
You many have noticed that there is one thing I have missed from my list of autumnal festivals. I’m sure I have missed more than one actually, but the festival to which I refer in this case is Guy Fawkes night. How could I forget? After all, it was drummed into me at school with the song ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November……!’
I missed ‘Guy’ from the list because I wanted to single Bonfire Night out for some special attention, because of my recipe for Toffee Apples.
Bonfire night means being wrapped up in my biggest coat, packed into a huge scarf and massive mittens ready to take on the November night air. I have heard that some people go to the Guy Fawkes events for the spectacular fireworks and the awe inspiring bonfire. You may already have guessed though, that for me, all that spectacular display takes second place. Second, of course, to the food on offer. The hamburgers and sausages in warm buttered rolls slathered in onions and relish. And then of course there’s the sweet stuff. Fluffy, impossibly large candy floss, and the toffee apples! I did wonder about including this recipe, it’s not exactly grown up, but after some consideration, I decided that it encapsulated the season both in food (there are some really great apples around now), and in celebration. This one is a real definite for Guy Fawkes night.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
And some time to cool.
Ingredients for 8 Toffee Apples
8 large apples. I like to use Granny Smith or Elstar
400gr / 14oz. light brown caster sugar
100ml / 3.5fl oz. water
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 x tsp vinegar
8 x wooden lolly sticks
- Remove the stalks from the apples and place them in your kitchen sink, making sure of course that it is clean.
- Pour water from a kettle that has just boiled over the apples. This removes any coating and makes it easy for the toffee to adhere to the apples. Dry them off.
- Drive your wooden lolly sticks into the centre at the core area of each apple. Make sure you leave enough exposed to hold the apple.
- Lay out a sheet of grease proof paper on your work surface close to your stove top where you will be making the toffee.
- Tip the sugar and the water into a high sided, heavy bottomed pan (not non-stick) on a medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add the vinegar and the syrup and turn up the heat to high to bring the mix to a boil. Allow it to boil rapidly until it reaches a temperature of 140°C / 280°F. If you have a sugar thermometer you can use this to measure. However, if you, like me do not have a thermometer, you can check the temperature by dropping a teaspoon full or so of the mix into a bowl of cold water. If it hardens and becomes brittle immediately it is ready. If it is at all squidgy or soft, keep boiling until you reach this ‘hard crack’ stage.
- When the toffee is ready it’s time to work swiftly and of course carefully. I like to tip my pan to the side allowing the toffee to collect at the side of the pan giving me a deeper dipping area, take an apple by the lolly stick, dunk it, twist and swirl until coated, stand the apple upside down as it were on the grease proof paper and repeat.
- Leave the toffee apples to harden. They will keep for a couple of days, but make sure you store them in a cool place or the toffee may melt.
Tips and Variations
- When working with melting, or melted sugar be extra careful. This hot sugar or toffee can cause very painful burns as it sticks to the skin and the heat is intense.
- Try adding some cinnamon to the toffee for a spicy version.
- You can sprinkle some chopped nuts over the coated apples (before they set)