|crunchy and sticky: toffee apples|
As a small child I yearned for toffee apples; for their beautiful enticing shiny jewel-like colour and promise of sickly sweetness. But they were forbidden fruit as my mother refused to buy one for me. This was less because she was mean (hardly) but more that experience suggested that since toffee apples are very sticky, it might end with disaster. My one and only experience of pink bubble-gum at the age of seven had left my long golden blonde hair in piles around my feet as my head was shaved . . . seriously, don’t ask!
These days, while still a little accident-prone, I decided to make a simple caramel and coated my apples in the vibrant toffee ready for tonight’s bonfire party
Well, I didn’t burn down the kitchen, injure myself or anyone else, nor lose any teeth. A triumph I suspect. It has been a long time coming and I still have all my own hair.. Although I suspect a few teeth are suffering from the crunch. It was worth it and a dream has been fulfilled!
Skill level: Messy
6-8 eating apples (I used Braeburns)
a kettle of boiling water
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp white wine vinegar
red food colouring
- First you need to put the apples in a large bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Wipe the apples to make sure that any wax coating, although not all apples will be waxed. Better to be sure, since the wax inhibits the ability for the toffee caramel to adhere to the apples.
- Twist off any apple stems.
- Push a wooden ice lolly stick or thick wooden skewer through the stalk end of each apple. (I was forced to improvise and use twigs that I found in the garden. I cleaned them in hot water to make sure that they were free of mud and bugs!)
- Line a baking sheet with baking parchment, Place the apples upright on the sheet.
- Tip the sugar into a pan along with 100ml water over a medium heat. Cook carefully until the sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes). Stir in the golden syrup and vinegar. Add the food colouring if using. The mixture should be cooked at a slow boil until the toffee caramel reaches the “hard crack” stage. If you have a sugar thermometer it should reach 140C. Alternatively use the method I used which is to have handy a bowl of very cold water by the stovetop. Test the toffee caramel by dripping a little into the cold water. The toffee caramel is ready when it hardens as it hits the water and breaks easily. If it looks chewy then you will need to boil it for a little longer.
- Dip each apple into the hot toffee caramel, using a twisting motion to ensure most (if not all) of the apple is coated. Allow some of the excess toffee to drip off the apple before placing on the baking tray.
- Leave the apples to cool and harden for at least couple of hours.
- If the toffee caramel seems to becoming too thick then reheat for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle chopped nuts or sugar sprinkles over the toffee caramel before it hardens.