Just like we couldn’t picture Christmas without cookies, it’s hard to imagine Halloween without candy. Between trick-or-treat hauls (Here’s what to do with all of that leftover candy!) and seasonal specialties (Reese’s pumpkins, anyone?), there’s a lot for any sweet tooth to love during the month of October.
If you’re a true Halloween candy aficionado, you’ll appreciate the sweet simplicity of candy apples. These ooey-gooey treats feature a tart apple enveloped in a hard, spicy-sweet coating. And unlike caramel apples, they’re best licked like a lollipop.
To make your own candy apples, you’ll need some basic ingredients, lollipop sticks and a candy thermometer. (Don’t own a candy thermometer? Buy one here). You’ll also need about an hour to prep, make the coating and dip the apples. Ready to get started?
- 4 medium red apples
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- Red food coloring
- Black food coloring
- 4 wooden or decorative pop sticks
Step 1: Prepare the Apples
Before you candy the apples, you’ll want to prep them. Give each apple a good rinse with water, then pat dry with a paper towel. Remove each apple’s stem and replace it with one of the wooden sticks. The sticks should be inserted far enough into the apple so they can be picked up but they shouldn’t go all the way through. Place the prepped apples on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper.
Step 2: Make the Candy Coating
Next, you’ll want to make the candy coating. Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a large, heavy-duty saucepan. Cook and stir the ingredients over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Once boiling, place a candy thermometer on the edge of the pan so it’s embedded in the mixture. (Here’s a great candy thermometer to add to your toolkit.) Let cook until the thermometer reads 290 degrees.
Test Kitchen Tip: Cooking with sugar can be a tricky business. For candy apples, you’ll be cooking the mixture until it reaches the soft-crack stage. To ensure it reaches the proper consistency, avoid stirring the mixture once it begins to boil.
Step 3: Color the Coating
Once the coating has reached the proper temperature, remove the pan from the heat. Pour the sugar mixture into two bowls. In the first bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and the red food coloring. In the second bowl, add remaining cinnamon and the black food coloring. Stir each mixture until the color is well combined.
Step 4: Dip the Apples
Dip the prepared apples into the candy mixtures until fully coated, then place on prepared baking sheet. We made apples that were a single color, but feel free to use both black and red coating on each apple.
Test Kitchen Tip: Make sure to work quickly! The sugar mixture will begin to solidify in the bowls if you let it rest for longer than a few minutes.