Saturday, December 20, 2014

Candied Apples--A Great Winter Treat!

When I was a kid, every year when the apple harvest came in, my mama would make candied apples. We loved them! And I can remember in years past seeing boxes of candied apple mix displayed next to the bins of apples for sale for shoppers who wanted a bit of a head start. But for some time now, I don't see those packages available. Instead, grocery stores offer little tubs of caramel to dip your apple slices in. But the fact is, I would miss my yearly dose of candied apples, so I choose to make them myself--just like Mama did.

Candied apples are incredibly easy to make and about the only kitchen tool you need that you might not already have is a candy thermometer. (No instant-read or meat thermometers for this recipe.) So run down to the local store and pick one up and then come home and make this fun, kid-friendly recipe:


Candied Apples

anywhere from 5-12 apples, depending on size
an equal number of popsicle sticks or short bamboo skewers
2 cups white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups water
8 drops red food coloring

Lightly grease cookie sheets. Or do like I did and use a silicone baking mat. Nothing sticks to them. (Love those things!)

Wash the apples and dry thoroughly. Remove stems. Insert the popsicle sticks into the apples at the stem end. Set aside for now.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir while the sugar is dissolving, but once it gets boiling you only need to give it a stir every now and again. Heat the sugar syrup to 300-310 degrees F, or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads. This is my saucepan of syrup boiling away:

Once the temperature has been reached, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the food coloring.

Working quickly and holding the apple by its stick, dip the apple into the syrup, remove, and turn and swirl the apple so the syrup coats it evenly. Place on the prepared sheet to harden. But keep in mind that the syrup will start to thicken and begin hardening as soon as it's off the heat so working quickly is a must. As I get to the bottom of the batch, I will tip the saucepot a bit so I can more easily coat the apples. You'll get the hang of it in a hurry; it's not hard to do. And they don't have to be works of art because candied apples are fun food at its finest. Just enjoy what happens!
Some people love to add those cinnamon candies that are tiny little oblongs. I never do because that's not how we ate them when I was a kid. But your family might like cinnamon, so if you want to try that, throw in a handful of candies while the syrup is boiling so they dissolve when the sugar does.

Candied apples are a messy, wonderful treat and believe it or not, they are good companions to popcorn. So gather the family together, put a movie into the DVD player, cuddle up, and enjoy a family evening. It's homemade fun and great memories in the making!

I pray that this holiday season is filled with joy for you and your loved ones. Please, remember in prayer those who are less fortunate or may be going through a tough time. Gift them with your time and give them a hug while you're at it. Be God's hands and feet and heart.

Blessings to you and yours!


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