Apples, Autumn, Halloween, Guy Fawkes and Bonfire night. Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, this recipe will make your get together complete. You can even kid yourself that they are vaguely good for you (they are based on apples after all!). The deliciously caramel tones of the toffee as it crunches in your mouth against the sharp-but-sweet juice of the apple underneath is a perfect combination. Just be careful if you have fillings!
Once these are made, you need to eat them ideally within 24 hours otherwise the apples start to become soft. You can wrap then in parchment or cellophane but the apples still go soggy. I used twigs from my apple tree for the sticks (they are non-toxic) but feel free to use lollipop sticks or even spare forks to spear your apples. Sometimes these are coloured with food colouring but I prefer the natural touch though gothic black with rosie pink apples peaking out might well fit a Halloween party! To make them a little grown up, how about sprinkling them with sea salt flakes before the toffee hardens?
12 small apples (kids lunch box size or Coxes but I prefer crunchier apples than Coxes)
400g sugar – granulated or caster, entirely white or some soft brown/un
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
Firstly you need to prepare the apples to get rid of the wax that coats them as otherwise the toffee will not stick. I did this by putting the apples in a colander in the sink and pouring over boiling water from the kettle then I dried the apples and gave them a good rub to remove all traces of wax.
Stick firm sticks (I used apple sticks) into the stalk end of the apple – make sure these are firm as these are your handles. Set the apples on a baking tray covered in baking parchment.
Place the sugar with 100ml water in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and use a dampened pastry brush to brush down any sugar clinging to the sides. Once all the sugar is dissolved, stir in the vinegar and syrup.
Now turn up the heat and DO NOT stir. Use a sugar thermometer and check that 150°C (hard crack) is reached.
Remove the toffee from the heat and carefully swirl the apples in it so they are completely covered, allowing extra to drip back into the pan before sitting the apples on the prepared tray. Repeat with all the apples; if the toffee is getting too thick then carefully heat again until it loosens in texture. Be very careful as the toffee is very hot and will give you a nasty burn if it touches you – if you are a little worried then fill the sink with cold water before doing this.
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