In October, apples are at their peak; beyond the usual McIntosh, Gala and Red Delicious you’ll come across Jonagold, Ambrosia and Pink Ladies – all with unique flavours and textures, and most reaching their peak between September and November. All the more reason to make candy apples for your Halloween festivities – they’re fun to make and to eat, with the nutritional bonus of an entire apple inside a candy coating you make (and control the quantity of) yourself. If you like, sprinkle freshly dipped apples with dried fruit, sprinkles or other candies, and set them on a muffin paper to cool – they look nice and are easy to arrange on a platter without spreading their stickiness.
Apples that come pre-bagged tend to be smaller than those you pick from the display; these smaller ones are a better choice for candy apples – they’re easier to handle and dip, and stay on their sticks. Make sure they’re well washed and dried before you begin.
Red Candy Apples
about a dozen small apples
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
several drops red food colouring
lollipop sticks, wooden popsicle sticks or small bamboo skewers
Wash and dry your apples; insert lollipop sticks, wooden popsicle sticks or small bamboo skewers into the stem end and set aside; line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar (this is important – it will prevent crystallization, just stop stirring once the mixture comes to a boil). Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the mixture reaches 300F.
Immediately dip the apples by holding them by the stick and submerging them completely in the candy; tilt the pan as you need to in order to coat them well. If you would like to add candies or other toppings, sprinkle them over the apples (or dip their bottoms into a shallow bowl before the candy sets), then set them stick-up on the lined baking sheet. Set aside to harden and cool.
Once completely cooled, wrap each candy apple in cellophane. Makes about a dozen candy apples.