Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maple Candied Apples


Apple season is here, and I love to see local harvests displayed at the market.  This small variety caught my eye, and I knew right away that they were destined for a candy coating.

Candied apples have a special place in my heart.  They bring back childhood memories of state fairs and playful times.  They are also incredibly beautiful and have an almost fairy tale magic with their glass-encased appearance.  Today I went foraging for twigs under the big oak tree on our property and came away with an interesting bunch of knobby stems.  I think they make a charming replacement for the standard Popsicle stick.


After covering the entire batch of apples, I had a good amount of candy coating left over.  To my delight, it spun easily into wispy angel hair-like nests.




Of course, they are just as pretty and delicious without the spun sugar.

The maple flavoring oil I used is from LorAnn.  Adding it to the boiling sugar made my entire kitchen smell like hot, buttery maple syrup.  That's one of the the things I love about fall baking, it is absolutely heartwarming! 

My one complaint about candied treats is that they aren't easy to eat,  particularly that first bite. I've found that one good whack on the countertop will break the glass-like encasement enough to peel away a few candy bits.  From that starting point, it's much easier to get a good bite.



Maple Candied Apples                                  [click for printable version]

8-10 small apples, organic (avoid food grade wax on store bought apples, the candy won't stick to it)
8-10 sturdy wooden stems
1/2 cup clear (light) corn syrup
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4-1/2 tsp. maple candy flavoring oil

Grease a jelly-roll pan well with vegetable shortening and set aside.

Clean and dry the apples well.  Remove the apple stems and carefully punch a guide hole for the twigs with a knife or skewer.  Insert twigs into guide holes, and lift each apple to make sure each can securely be picked up. Set aside.

Combine the corn syrup, water and sugar in a medium saucepan with a handle.  Heat at medium-high until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat and bring mixture to a boil. 



The sugar mixture will take about 20-25 minutes to reach 302 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.  This is known as the hard-crack stage.  I highly recommend you use a thermometer, but if you want to tempt fate you can use a glass of cold water to gauge the hardness of the sugar.  I've tried this in the past, with disastrous results.

Once the correct temperature has been reached, remove the pan from the burner and add the maple flavoring.  Mix well.


Dip apples, one at a time, swirling until completely coated in syrup.  Hold apples above saucepan to let excess candy drain off.  As you work, you may need to tilt the saucepan to pool the candy to one side.  This will help ensure all apples get a full coating as your mixture gets lower. 

Place the apples on the prepared jelly-roll pan and allow to dry.


Spun Sugar


Although I didn't get any pictures of the sugar-spinning in action (I'd need an extra pair of arms) I'll try to explain the process as best I can.  Have everything (as stated below) set up before you begin the initial candying of the apples.  You'll be working fast, and the sugar will set up quickly.

Place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom of your sink.  Securely tape a wooden spoon to the counter top with the spoon handle hanging over the parchment.  Spray the handle with cooking spray or grease with vegetable shortening.  Use two forks or a ball whisk to pick up the sugar mixture and gauge the behavior of the candy.  When the candy spins a thread,  begin waving your utensil(s) vigorously back and forth across the spoon handle.  Dip utensil(s) again in melted candy and repeat waving technique several times until you have amassed a great amount of spun sugar.  Gently slide the spun sugar off the spoon handle and pick up the extra threads that have accumulated on the parchment below.  Form the spun sugar into a manageable nest and break it into pieces. Top the set candied apples with spun sugar pieces.

**Do not attempt spinning sugar on a humid day.  It will melt away before your eyes!


39 comments:

Jessica @ How Sweet said...

Those are gorgeous! I have never tried spinning sugar - not sure I'd have the patience!

SweetxCatastrophe said...

These look wondeful! I've never tried making candied apples or spun sugar, so I'm excited to try both of these one weekend I've got off! Thanks for the recipe!!!

Leah said...

I love the spun sugar on the apples, such a clever idea!

Liz said...

Oh my gosh, love the idea of using sticks for the apples!

O. said...

They look really pretty and delicious too

Sue said...

The apples look so pretty with the clear candy coat, and I LOVE the rustic stems! The cracked apple looks like a spiderweb, perfect for Halloween:) How's your book coming along?

Paula said...

these apples looks awesome!

have a nice time!
Paula

hannah {thepastrykook} said...

these look beautiful! i love a candied fruit any time!

oneordinaryday said...

Oh my gosh, these are stunning. Such a fun presentation and gorgeous photos.

squirrelbread said...

edible art is the best kind. makes it all the more special. i love that you swapped traditional caramel for maple candy coating, and also the foraged sticks. it'll be a most happy Autumn at your house!

cheers,

*heather*

Candy Girl said...

Absolute perfection! Love, love the use of twigs and the spider web like appearance of the cracked apple. Beautiful!

Haniela said...

wow. these look gorgeous!!

Nancy @ The Sensitive Pantry said...

Beautiful. From start to finish-every photo is a piece of art. (I bet those apples are divine!)

Brittany said...

I'm so ready for fall to be here, and candied apples would make a perfect Fall treat. Beautiful (and appetizing) shots!

Kristina said...

These are exquisite. I haven't ever even eaten a candied apple, and this makes me want one more than anything else ever has.

Tara said...

LOVE!!! They look perfectly preserved in their candy shell.

Erin*Sparkle&Hay said...

Gorgeous and Yummy!

Leigh said...

Absolutely beautiful! I love the maple idea.

Jessica said...

My mouth is watering just looking at these photos - you're so talented! And adding maple is brilliant!

Enter to win an Acanthus necklace! (prize valued at $85 - 100)

Heather Ozee said...

Plus the good whack leaves an eerie look to it perfect for any haunted hall!

Caro said...

Mmmm...Beautiful!!

christelle is flabbergasting said...

Colors are so beautiful! I wanna bite into one of theses apple!!!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Heather, it wouldn't matter what your creations tasted like, because they LOOK glorious! But I know they must be so delicious... Your baking/creation making is the epitome of the phrase, "You eat with your eyes first." Bravo!
Best regards,
Gloria
P.S. I am telling you, if you give up baking, you have career in Photography, lady!

Cristie said...

Oh my goodness are these beautiful or what? Just perfect for a fall dessert. Love the cracked apple. L O V E L Y.

Susan said...

How pretty--the caramel looks heavenly

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) said...

The spun sugar is so beautiful! This all looks delicious. And I'm so jealous of your photography :)

Linds said...

These are so Martha!! Looks magazine ready! great job.

LimeCake said...

wow these look incredible! I'm so envious!

june said...

Your photography is beautiful!

Joy said...

That is so cool.

stefania said...

Deliziose :)

anna said...

Awesome! Those look and sound really delicious. I love maple! The spiderwebby crackling and spindly oak twigs just scream fall (and Halloween) too!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

These are absolutely stunning and so perfect for Halloween. I would actually pre-crack the caramel ahead of time to create the cool spiderweb effect.

Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

Heather, you blow my mind! I love love LOVE these photos! You are an artist! The natural sticks are such a good choice! I also love how you can see through the candy coating to the apple beauty underneath. I'll definitely have to try these!

Ingrid said...

These are your finest photos. The apples are absolutely gorgeous. I especially love the one you "cracked" on the counter.
~ingrid

jess @ pen n' paperflowers said...

o my gosh! LOVE these. I've been looking for some apples for my Thanksgiving Dessert table...THESE are going to be the ones I try! Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

Anonymous said...

so so sexy

Amanda said...

the cracked coating makes it look like a spiderweb.... good for the Halloween time!

Amanda
softandstiffpeaks.blogspot.com

Tina said...

Heya,
Beautiful pictures! Would the candyfloss travel well or would it disappear? Not very far, maybe 10 mins, but would have to endure a car journey.

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