How to Make Perfect Candy Apples

Candy apples are a classic treat enjoyed in autumn, especially around Halloween. This guide on how to make perfect candy apples offers tips and advice on preparing delicious candy apples.

The candy apple is prepared by dipping fresh apples into a candy coating, and allowing for it to dry, creating a hard candy shell. The coating can be dyed using food coloring to match any theme, and a number of toppings can be added to the candy apple to suit any taste. While the recipe is simple to follow, candy apples should be prepared with caution and with the supervision of an adult, as the candy coating becomes hot as it cooks.

Preparing candy apples can be a fun project for cooks of all ages and skill level. Read on to learn how to make perfect candy apples.

Step 1: Gather Your Equipment

  1. Wooden skewers or popsicle sticks
    • Buy them at your local grocery or party supply store.
    • You can also buy bamboo skewers and cut them in half.
  2. Candy thermometer
    • A candy thermometer is very important, especially if you're making candy apples for the first time. You'll need it to make sure your heated sugar reaches the right stage of completion. Judging otherwise can easily lead you to burnt or underdone coatings. However, the thermometer is not necessary if you are just melting chocolate.
    • Make sure your thermometer's accurate. Being off by just a few degrees can mean the difference between delicious and burnt. To check its accuracy, clip on your candy thermometer and set a pot of water to boil. The thermometer should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius when the water is boiling. If not, note what temperature it reads at and adjust for the difference.
  3. Pot for making the candy coating
  4. Second container, bigger than your cooking pot
    • If you heat your coating to a high enough temperature, you'll fill this container with cold water to submerge and cool the pot with your candy apple coating.
  5. Tray or baking sheet (for completed apples)
    • Aluminum foil: you'll need this if you do not want to put your finished apples directly on an oiled baking sheet, tray, or serving platter.
    • Alternatively, you can top your baking sheet with a silpat mat.
  6. Measuring cups and spoons
  7. Wooden spoon
  8. Pastry brush, to keep sugar from crystallizing as you work
  9. Extra bowls for additional toppings

Step 2: Choosing Your Apples

Making a candy apple is about pairing the sweetness of candy with the right apple. It's exquisite to pair a tart apple with a sweet candy exterior. Of course, if you can't stand tart apples, then pick a sweeter one. However, you want to eschew varieties like Red Delicious, which lacks the firmness required for candy apples, and Rome Beauty, which is primarily used in baking. Recommended apples include:

    • Braeburn: Golden-green to red skin, firm, sweetly tart
    • Fuji: Yellow-green skin, firm, sweet
    • Golden Delicious: golden skin, firm, sweet
    • Granny Smith: green skin, very firm, tart
    • Jonathan: Yellow-red skin, firm, sweetly tart
    • Jonagold: A hybrid of Jonathan and Golden Delicious, firm skin, tangily sweet
    • Lady: Red to yellow skin, firm, sweetly tart
    • McIntosh: Reddish-green skin, firm, sweetly tart
  1. Choose smaller apples - they'll be easier to make, easier to eat, and will give you a better candy to apple ratio!
  2. Store-bought apples are usually coated with wax, which makes it more difficult to coat them. If possible, buy apples at a farmer's market. Or you can go apple picking and get your own fresh off the tree!
  3. If you have no choice but to use wax-coated apples, quickly dip them in boiling water and then wipe away the wax coating.http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/102427
  4. Chill the apples in the refrigerator until you're ready to start making candy apples.

Step 3: Prepare Your Kitchen

  • Get everything gathered before you put the sugar on the stove. You don't want to rush off for your pastry brush and come back to find a pot full of crystallized sugar.
  1. Put your pastry brush in a cup of warm water.
  2. Butter your baking sheet or tray (or aluminum foil) so it's ready to hold coated apples.
  3. Fill the second, larger, container with ice water, if you plan to cook your candy to 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. If you want extra toppings on your apples, place the toppings in separate bowls. Possible toppings include:

Step 4: Get Your Apples Ready

  1. Check the apples for firmness and bruising before using.

  2. Remove the stems from good apples.

  3. Wash and dry your apples.

  4. Insert the wooden skewers or popsicle sticks.

Step 5: Make the Candy Coating

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup corn syrup. Use light corn syrup if you want to color your coating.
  • 2 cups sugar. If you use brown sugar your candy coating will take on its darker color. The molasses in the sugar may also make your mixture more susceptible to burning.
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp food coloring (optional)http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/candy-appleshttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/candy-apples-recipe2/index.html http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,candy_apples,FF.html

Directions:

  1. Place the ingredients listed above (and any variation you choose to add) in a saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
    • You want the sugar to dissolve before the mixture boils; this will help prevent crystallization.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil.
    • Reduce the heat to a medium-low flame if you are using brown sugar. This will take longer, but if you have the heat on a higher flame you risk burning the sugar.
  5. Don't stir the sugar mixture once it begins to boil], to avoid crystallizing the candy. Instead, use your pastry brush to brush the pot's sides with warm water, to prevent crystals from forming.http://www.post-gazette.com/food/20021017mailbo1017fnp1.asp
  6. Simmer until the candy reaches 290 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Remove the candy from heat when it's at 290 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Sugar is at the soft-crack stage at this temperature.http://baking.about.com/od/candy/a/tempchart.htm For a lighter, more brittle candy shell, heat the sugar more. Remove it from heat when it's between 300 and 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • If you heat the sugar to 310 degrees Fahrenheit, place the pot in a cold water bath when you remove it from the stove, to stop the sugar from cooking.http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/candy-apples http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/candy-apples-recipe2/index.html http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,candy_apples,FF.html

Step 6: Coat Your Apples

  • When the candy mixture is ready, work quickly to coat the apples, before it hardens.
  1. Dip your apples, holding the wooden stick, and submerge completely in the candy.
    • Tilt the pot as necessary and spoon candy over the apples for full coating.
  2. If using additional toppings, dip the apples in them before the candy shell hardens.
  3. Place apples on the waiting tray or sheet.
  4. When all your apples are covered, place them in the refrigerator to cool.
  • Once your apples have cooled, you can eat and enjoy! Make sure to eat them within three days of making them.
  • If you're giving the apples as gifts, you can place them in plastic or cellophane bags (once they've cooled) and tie off with ribbons.

Popular Variations

  • You're not limited to following a recipe. If there's a flavor you'd like to add, try it. For example:
  1. Add a cinnamon stick or cinnamon extract to your candy coating for cinnamon-flavored apples.
  2. Spice it up by sprinkling nutmeg or allspice into your candy coating.
  3. Make more adult apples by adding your favorite liquor or liqueur.

References

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