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Heat control critical for candy apples

By Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 24, 2001

Before you make candy or caramel apples at home, do yourself a favor and buy a candy thermometer.

Before you make candy or caramel apples at home, do yourself a favor and buy a candy thermometer.

A candy thermometer clips onto the inside of your saucepan and lets you know when it's time to start dipping your apples. If the red syrup or caramel isn't hot enough, the coating won't set and will slide off the apples.

And no, your meat thermometer won't work. It doesn't go high enough.

The syrup for candy apples needs to reach about 295 degrees, the hard ball stage, and caramel must be cooked to about 245 degrees, the soft ball stage. If you want to try it without a thermometer you must watch the pot diligently.

Candy apple syrup is ready when a drop placed in cold water forms a brittle string. The caramel is ready when it forms a soft ball.

This time of the year, when apples are in abundance and Halloween approaches, most grocery stores sell kits to make both types of sugary apples. They work well. Just make sure you follow the instructions carefully and get that candy thermometer.

Candied Apples

8 apples

3 cups white sugar

1/2 cup white corn syrup

1/2 cup water

8 cinnamon red hot candies

1 teaspoon red food coloring

Insert a wooden craft stick into the bottom of each apple. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Heat, without stirring, to 270-290 degrees or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard but pliable threads. Remove from heat and stir in candies and food coloring until just mixed.

Holding each apple by its stick, quickly twirl in syrup, tilting pan to cover apple. Lift out of syrup, turning to allow drips to adhere to apple. Place apples on prepared baking sheet to cool completely. Makes 8 apples.

Nutritional analysis: 429 calories; 0 protein, 0 fat, 26 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 112 gms carbohydrates, 4 gm fiber.

-- Source:

Candied Apple Drink

1 cup Granny Smith apples, peeled, diced, partially frozen

1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 cup apple juice

3/4 cup non-fat frozen vanilla yogurt

2 tablespoons caramel sauce

2/3 cups ice chips

Pour ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Makes about 4 cups.

-- Source: Sara Moulton, Food Network.

Caramel Apples

8 medium apples (2 to 3 pounds)

11/3 cups (15-ounce can) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup white corn syrup

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

11/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 4- to 6-inch wooden skewers

Generously grease baking sheet. Wash and dry your apples and insert a wooden skewer in the stem ends and put in fridge to cool.

Mix in a large heavy saucepan the condensed milk, both sugars and corn syrup. Stirring constantly, cook to 234 degrees (soft ball stage using candy thermometer and remove from heat while testing).

Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Quickly dip and twirl apples in syrup to coat evenly. Cool on a well-greased baking sheet, skewers upright. Serves 8.

-- Source:

Caramel Apple Euphoria

2 medium (5-6 ounces each) cooking apples

1/2 cup apple juice

24 caramel candy squares, unwrapped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup cream-style peanut butter

7 slices angel-food cake or 1 quart vanilla ice cream

Peel, core and cut each apple in 18 wedges; set aside. In 31/2-quart or smaller slow cooker, combine apple juice, unwrapped caramel candies, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon. Drop peanut butter, 1 teaspoon at a time, over ingredients in slow cooker; stir. Add apple wedges; cover and cook on LOW 5 hours. Stir contents of slow cooker throughly; cover and cook on LOW 1 additional hour.

Serve about 1/3 cup of warm caramel-apple mixture over a slice of angel food cake or vanilla ice cream. Makes 7 servings.

-- Source:

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