The traditional festivities at Halloween seem to have been long replaced with a more commercialised hyperactive version – which I must admit I’m not that keen on. So with a nod to the past I made some toffee apples. I can’t remember the last time I had one – it was definitely as a child. My memories of them were a thick hard red shell of toffee encasing a big juicy apple.
This recipe will coat 10 – 12 small apples.
- 500g sugar
- 225g golden syrup
- 70g butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of red food colouring
- 2 teaspoons of malt vinegar
- 150ml water
- Small apples
- Lolly sticks, preferably thick wooden ones (I use chopsticks!)
Put the put the sugar, syrup, butter, vinegar and water into a large heavy saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat until dissolved. Add the food colouring a few drops at a time until you have your desired colour.
To prevent the sugar burning up the pan use a wet pastry brush to brush down the sides of the pan, just above the level of the liquid. Now turn up the heat and boil until your toffee reaches a “hard crack”. This could be 5 minutes or longer depending on how high you have the heat.
While the toffee is boiling wipe down the apples, insert the sticks and leave ready to stand on a non stick surface like greaseproof paper. I like to use the long sticks (hence the chopsticks) as they are easier to handle when coating and you reduce the risk of burning yourself.
The easiest way to test whether the toffee is ready is to drop a little bit into a bowl of cold water. If it spreads across the bottom then you’ve a while to go, if you can form a soft lump in the water and roll it into a ball you are at the soft crack stage, if it immediately solidifies in the water and and “snaps” then you are at the hard crack stage.
Immediately turn off the heat and using one hand tilt the pan and dip the apple in toffee, twirl it around so it is completely coated. Let the excess toffee drip off then transfer back to the greaseproof paper to set.