How to Make Candy Apples
Originally published October 27, 2009, Updated on 10/10/20
Candy Apples are a fun activity for the family, are cheap and easy to make, inspire nostalgia, and are a tasty way to use some of the bountiful apples this season. What's not to love?
Well.. aside from sugar burns, anyway. While this is an easy recipe, I recommend keeping little hands away from the cooking sugar, and ideally away from the dipping process as well.
Kids can have just as much fun picking out the apples, the flavors, etc... without the risk!
Candy Apple Colours and Flavours
Flavouring Your Candy Apples
There are two main types of flavouring you can use for your Candy Apples:
Flavour Extract - This is the stuff you can buy at the grocery store, usually McCormick brand. You can usually find some good basic flavours that’ll work - Cherry, Orange, Lemon, Grape, Banana, etc.
Flavour Oil - This stuff - Lorann Oil is the gold standard - is a bit harder to come by, but can usually be found at your local cake or candy making supply store. It comes in a LOT more flavours than grocery store extracts do, so you can really have fun with it!
Note: Flavour oils are MUCH more concentrated than extracts. You’ll need a tablespoon of extract in this recipe, but only a teaspoon of oil.
Colouring Your Candy Apples
I like to choose my flavour first, then the candy colour... but sometimes I’ll be going for a certain look, and will pick the colour first and decide what flavour would be nice with it.
When using grocery store extracts, I like to flavor my candy apples with cherry, banana, or grape extracts. Usually, I like to color my candy to match: Purple for grape, yellow for banana, and so on.
Sometimes I’ll let my “Chaotic Good” side out, and make purple banana, yellow cherry, or whatever. They’re Candy Apples, have fun with it!
When using flavour oils, I tend to go more wild with it - more flavour options opens up to more colour options!
Whichever colour(s) I go with, I prefer to use a nice quality gel based colour, such as Americolor (what I used when I was in the USA), or ChefMaster (Which is the option more readily available here!)
You can use the grocery store liquid food colouring if you like - it’ll just take a bit more of it!
If you want your candy to be opaque - that is, not a sheer, see-through candy - use a few drops of WHITE gel food colouring - I recommend Americolor White Gel Paste - before mixing in your colour.
You can do all kinds of fun pastels, or just creamy medium-tone colours using this technique. The white provides a nice base to make the final colour stand out more from the apple.
Example: You can start with white, tint it pink or baby blue, add some Cotton Candy Flavour Oil, and it’ll show up and look great on any colour of apple!
Choosing Your Apples
Choose nice, big apples that don’t have any soft spots or blemishes... and are varieties that you like to eat raw.
I usually figure out what flavor/colour I’d like to do, and then choose the apple type based on that. As an example, Grape and Banana candy look great on Red Delicious apples, Cherry and Grape look particularly nice on Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples.
My absolute favourite apple for candy apples is the Mutsu variety, which is a yellowy green colour.
Not only is it my favourite apple of all time, it also looks great in pretty much any candy colour!
More Fall Eats
Looking for more cool weather, “autumn” type recipes to enjoy as the leaves change? I’ve got you!
Acorn Squash Tortellini with Nutmeg Cream Sauce
Hearty Corn and Black Bean Soup
Homemade Hard Apple Cider
How to Make Candy Apples
How to Make Pumpkin Mead
Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Serrano Drizzle
Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffed Peppers
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Now, on to that Candy Apples recipe!
- Grease a cookie sheet, and/or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Prepare the apples: Remove all stems and stickers (if applicable). Insert stick into apple – They should go in at least halfway. Set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir well, bring to a boil on medium or medium-high heat. Affix candy thermometer to pan.
- Boil mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 310 degrees. Remove from heat, quickly stir in food coloring and flavoring. Stir mixture until it stops boiling, and most of the “bubbles” disappear – this will minimize texture on your finished coating.
- CAREFULLY dip each apple, one at a time, turning to coat completely & evenly. Allow excess candy to drip into the pan, then place on prepared cookie sheet. Be VERY careful – sugar burns are NOT fun! Leftover sugar syrup can be used to make Homemade Jolly Ranchers
- Allow candy coating to cool completely – usually 30-45 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and enjoy, or wrap in cellophane to enjoy later.
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