Candied Apples

Makes 6 to 12 candied apples, depending on size.

Note: This will take about 1 hour to make. You will need a candy thermometer. Find cinnamon oil or extract at kitchen specialty stores. From Noelle Carter.

• Butter, for greasing the baking sheets

• 3 c. sugar

• 2/3 c. corn syrup

• About 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1/4 tsp. cinnamon oil or extract, if desired (see Note)

• Red or other food coloring (preferably gel coloring)

• Apples, cleaned of dirt and wax, and fitted with Popsicle sticks or skewers

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter or grease the paper and set the sheet aside.

In a small, heavy pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until a candy thermometer reaches 290 degrees. Remove the pan from the heat and, when the bubbles subside, carefully stir the extract into the sugar mixture. Stir in a few drops of the food coloring.

Dip the apples into the mixture, coating on all sides and allowing any excess to drip back into the pot. Transfer the coated apples to the baking sheet to cool completely.

 

Salted Caramel Apples

Makes about 12 caramel apples, depending on size.

Note: This will take about 30 minutes to make, plus cooling time. You will need a candy thermometer. For a thicker caramel coating, cool the caramel slightly before coating the apples. If the caramel becomes too thick, simply rewarm to thin. From Noelle Carter.

• 2 2/3 c. sugar

• 1 tsp. corn syrup

• 1 c. heavy cream

• 1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. (3/4 stick) butter

• 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

• Coarse sea salt, preferably Maldon, for sprinkling

• Apples, cleaned of dirt and wax, and fitted with Popsicle sticks or skewers

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter or grease the paper and set the sheet aside.

In a small, heavy pot, combine the sugar, 1/2 cup water and corn syrup, stirring until the sugar has the consistency of wet sand. Place the saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and begins to boil. Do not stir the sugar, as this may cause it to seize.

While the sugar is cooking, combine the cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the sugar while you’re heating the cream to keep it from scorching. Cook until the butter melts, stirring it into the cream. When the mixture has come to a simmer, remove from heat.

Continue to cook the sugar until it darkens to a rich caramel color, 7 to 10 minutes — the sugar will darken quickly and noticeably and will smell faintly nutty. (For lighter caramel, simply cook the sugar to a lighter color.) Swirl the pan as the sugar darkens to judge the true color of the caramel (the sugar may darken in patches if there are hot spots on the stove). Watch carefully, as the sugar can easily overcook at this point and burn.

As soon as the color is darkened, remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the cream mixture in a slow, steady stream. The sugar will bubble and steam as the cream is added; be careful as both the mixture and steam are very hot.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook just until a candy thermometer inserted reaches 248 degrees. Carefully stir in the vanilla. Remove from heat.

Pour the caramel into a heatproof and microwave-safe bowl and set aside until the caramel begins to cool and thicken. You want the caramel to cool enough so the apples have a nice, thick coating as they are dipped, but still warm enough that the excess caramel drips off somewhat easily. If the caramel cools too much, microwave the caramel to warm and thin as needed.

Dip the apples in the caramel, coating them on all sides and allowing any excess to drip back into the pot. Transfer the coated apples to the baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt, and set aside to cool completely.

Maple Candy Apples

Makes 6 to 12 candied apples, depending on size.

Note: This takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to make. You will need a candy thermometer. From Noelle Carter.

• 1 quart maple syrup

• Apples, cleaned of dirt and wax, and fitted with Popsicle sticks or skewers

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter or grease the paper and set the sheet aside.

In a small, heavy pot, add the syrup. Very slowly boil the syrup over medium heat until a candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees, about 1 hour. Watch the syrup carefully so it does not boil over the sides of the pot, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the boiling slow but steady. Remove the pot from heat.

At this point, you can create 2 different types of maple candy coating: for a glossy coating similar to “sugar on snow” candy, simply dip the apples in the hot mixture. For a coating similar to molded maple candies, stir the mixture until it begins to crystallize and become opaque before dipping the apples.

Dip the apples in the hot mixture, coating them on all sides and allowing any excess to drip back into the pot. Transfer the coated apples to the baking sheet to cool completely.