Nothing beats the crunch of a candy apple on a crisp autumnal evening, don’t you agree? My husband and I started a new tradition last year when we decided to try “dipping” apples. We made caramel apples out of Halloween candy and it was fantastic. We used pre-packaged caramel and it worked really well.
This year, however, we decided to make homemade toffee apples to celebrate the beginning of fall. What’s the difference in caramel and toffee? Well, toffee is similar to caramel in the sense that it’s made from sugar but the main difference is the degree to which it’s cooked. Toffee is only cooked to the point that the sugar in it melts, at which point it becomes usable whereas caramel is cooked well beyond the melting stage.
Here’s the recipe. It’s a must-try!
8 Granny Smith apples
400g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vinegar
4 tbsp golden syrup
peanuts (or candy of your choice)
1. Put the apples in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water to remove the wax coating. This will help the caramel to stick. Dry thoroughly and twist off any stalks. Push a wooden skewer or lolly stick into the stalk end of each apple.
2. Lay out a sheet of baking parchment and place the apples on this, close to your stovetop. Tip the sugar into a pan along with 100ml water and set over a medium heat. Cook for 5 mins until the sugar dissolves, then stir in the vinegar and syrup. Set a sugar thermometer in the pan and boil to 140C or ‘hard crack’ stage. If you don’t have a thermometer you can test the toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle and easy to break. If you can still squish the toffee, continue to boil it.
3. Working quickly and carefully, dip and twist each apple in the hot toffee until covered, let any excess drip away, then place on the baking parchment to harden. You may have to heat the toffee a little if the temperature drops and it starts to feel thick and viscous. Leave the toffee to cool before eating. Toffee apples can be made up to 2 days in advance as long as you store them in a dry place.
Dipping apples is a fabulous date or family night activity. It’s a lot fun! Plus, you can pass them out to a few special trick-or-treaters or serve them at a Halloween party. Or you can keep them all for yourself . . . no one has to know!
If you try your hand at dipping some toffee apples, let me know how they turn out and what a great time you had making them. That’s what it’s all about!