Candy apples are a fairground classic, but they're also easy to make at home. Put a different twist on the recipe by using red hot candies in the coating. These give your apples a spicy, cinnamon taste and give the crunchy candy shell a bright red color, with no additional flavoring or food coloring required.
To avoid having your candy apples turn out too sweet, make sure to use tart apples, like the kind you would use for apple pie. Granny Smith are a favorite variety but if you have another tart apple you prefer, you can easily substitute them.
You can substitute chopsticks or popsicle sticks for the skewers if that's what you have on hand.
- 8 apples, preferably tart, like Granny Smith
- 8 wooden skewers
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup red cinnamon candies, like Red Hots
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and lightly spray the foil or parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
- Wash and dry the apples carefully. Make sure that no water remains on the apples. Remove the stems, and firmly stick the skewers in the stem ends.
- Combine the water, corn syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then continue to cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush occasionally to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
- Once the candy reaches 250 degrees, add the red hot cinnamon candies and stir briefly to incorporate the candies into the sugar syrup. Continue to cook the candy, washing down the sides with the wet pastry brush occasionally, until the temperature of the candy reaches 285 degrees on the thermometer.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir the candy so that it is smooth and even. Immediately start to dip the apples; hold an apple by the skewer and dip it in the candy, tilting the pan at an angle and rotating the apple to cover it completely with a smooth, even layer of red candy.
- Bring the apple out of the candy and twirl it to remove any excess, then set it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining apples.
- Allow the apples to cool at room temperature. Candy apples are best enjoyed within 24 hours.
Note: The candy mixture will start to set almost as soon as you pull it off the heat, so if it begins to harden before you are done and is difficult to work with, return the pan to the heat and warm it gently, over medium-low heat, just until it liquefies again.