Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tricked Out Candy Apples
A tricked-out the classic Halloween treat. But it is... tricky. Candy apples don't really like to be refrigerated, and caramel apples don't really like room temperature. Make the candy apples, let them set up and then really, really quickly, "decorate" them with a quick dunk in the caramel (just the bottom part) and the chocolate pretzels.
Here's what you'll need:
3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 cup water
Red food coloring
8 candy apples
8 wooden sticks (decorated with acrylic craft paint)
Bowl of ice water (just in case)
Wash and dry the apples. Insert the sticks near the core and check the stability when they are inverted.
In heavy saucepan, place water, sugar and corn syrup. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Don't stir! Resist the temptation. You can swirl the pan as the ingredients start to melt but put that spoon away.
Allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil - it will reach 300 degrees on your candy thermometer.
After the mixture has reached hard crack stage (300 degrees) remove from heat and stir in food colouring until you have reached the desired tint. Don't be stingy, either. If you are using liquid drops from the grocery store, you'll need about 1/2 teaspoon. If you're using gel paste (ie. Wilton) you'll need about 1/4 teaspoon.
Working quickly, dip the apples, rolling them thoroughly in the hot sugar mixture. When the entire apple is covered, allow excess to drip back into the pan. Place them on a sheet of waxed paper or silicone pad. Repeat with each apple - if your mixture gets too thick, place it back on the stove for a minute to thin it out again.
~ Caramel Apple Topping ~
32 - 34 Kraft caramels, unwrapped
2 tbsp milk
Place caramels and milk in a heavy small saucepan. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, melt the caramels until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and continue to stir, allowing the mixture to thicken slightly. Dip apples as you see fit... but if they are already covered in hard crack candy, you will be limited to just dipping the bottom of them for the effect. Otherwise, the candy will soften too much. Place the caramel-bottomed apples on a bed of coarsely granulated white sugar. The caramel will stick into the sugar and harden but the layer of sugar will help prevent the caramel from sticking to the platter or wrapper bottom.
If you're a microwave fan, substitute 2 tbsp water for the milk and microwave on high for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, stopping to stir.
To decorate your tricked-out apples with a chocolate pretzel, warm chocolate candy pieces (I like Wilton Candy Melts) over a double boiler. Dip the pretzel into the smooth melted chocolate. Add sprinkles and immediately place on your candy apple. The chocolate will harden and "stick" to the apple surface.
Wrap and present or serve immediately! Booking your dental appointment prior is recommended.