Some time ago, I went apple picking and came back with around 25kg that I bought. One part went for direct consumption, another went for apple pies and another part went for testing a recipe for Halloween (even though we don’t celebrate it in Lebanon but it got imported and I root for our traditional dress-up feast) but sweets are out of this argument. Right?
I’ve always wanted to try those red candy apples that look so delicious and painful to bite into. The first time I tried one of those was not when I was in Disneyland — I have never been to Disneyland — but I was in Souk Sabra, a street market where cleanliness, organization and hygiene are unusual terms. Don’t ask me how I dared. It was a Snow White moment. A mouthwatering shiny red apple. I bit into it and it stuck to my teeth instead of my throat. Phew, that didn’t need prince charming to be around.
Oh, and the apple was not the only thing I’ve tried from there. I once ate 2 shawarma sandwiches. Greasy and basic but original 😜
Back to my apples. Searching recipes, I couldn’t help but notice that all of them had corn syrup. After a brief conversation with my friend Paty, she told me that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are very damaging for the body because they are not processed but bypassed directly to be stored as fat. Read the labels on products you buy (syrups, sauces, sodas…) and you’ll be surprised how much is snuck into everything. You’ll never have to wonder where those love handles came from again.
I decided to find me a recipe without corn syrup and test it to get the perfect apples. It was an extensive search. I tried it a million times before reaching a satisfying one. My family got sick of the smell of caramel on the stove. I have been researching all the time to get the perfect apple. But perfect doesn’t exist. What is achievable in this case is, red candy apples with no corn syrup that should be kept away from humidity, thus should be consumed soon after preparing or stored in the refrigerator.
I have to confess. I used red food coloring. But only for this recipe I allowed myself to. I don’t want transparent candy apples.
How does it work?
Without going into scientific details, when melting the sugar, something is required to prevent the crystallization and keep the smooth texture. Corn syrup does that. In my case, lemon juice, vinegar or cream of tartar can be used and it worked just fine.
I also made gourmet chocolate apples with nuts and tried making caramel apples with the caramel sauce I had (Lazy me) but it didn’t work because it’s not the right recipe for apple coating.
I have no idea why, but this song was always playing in the kitchen every time I’m melting the sugar
Halloween Candy & Gourmet Chocolate Apple Recipe
- 4-5 apples*
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- Or 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 tbsp red food coloring
Gourmet Chocolate Apples
- 4-6 apples*
- 200g baking dark chocolate
- 200g white chocolate
- Crushed Oreo cookies
- Crushed nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, coconut…)
- Wash and dry the apple and stick wooden skewers or craft sticks in them and set aside
- Coat a baking sheet with wax paper
- In a deep saucepan, mix sugar, water and cream of tartar (or lemon juice or vinegar) well and set on low heat
- Bring it to a boil (around 10-15 min)
- Let it boil until it starts thickening a bit (you won’t notice it much visually) and then do the candy hardening test
- Once it reaches the hard crack stage, add the red food coloring and mix well
- Remove from heat, tilt, dip and roll the apples, one by one to coat evenly. Let the excess drip before setting aside on the wax paper
- Repeat until the mix is over. If it hardens in the pot, heat it a bit
- For the chocolate, melt it in a deep small bowl using double boiler (bain-marie) and repeat the dipping process as above.
- Dip the apples in crushed Oreo or crushed nuts and set aside
*any apples can be used but it’s preferable to use small apples for easier bites and better individual portioning. As for taste, Granny Smith are optimal for their sour/tart taste that contrasts the sweetness of the coating and gives a favorable flavor