Candy apples get a soda pop makeover using bottled cola and flavoring oil. So perfect for fall!
The arrival of autumn always seems to spark my creativity and experimental nature in the kitchen. Lately I’ve been tinkering with my favorite hard candy recipe. It’s difficult to improve upon the classic candy apple but I’m over-the-moon excited about this new soda pop twist. The flavor is oddly addictive, and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many candy apples consecutively!
The original hard candy recipe is from the Sprinkle Bakes book, and essentially I’ve replaced the water in the formula with fizzy cola. You can use your favorite dark soda-pop such as Coca-Cola, RC Cola, Nichols Kola or even Dr. Pepper!
You can find the candy apple sticks I used here, which are very inexpensive considering you get 100 in a pack for less than $5. I know that sounds like a huge quantity but if you’re a sweets maker like I am then you can use them as lollipop and cake pop sticks, too. I recommend using cola hard candy flavoring oil by LorAnn. The cola flavor is too subtle without it, and it also lends a little more color to the finished product.
Definitely use a candy thermometer for this endeavor. The mixture boils to hard crack stage which is 302F, but I always set my thermometer to 300 so I can be alerted early. I am easily distracted and a thermometer with an alarm is a lifesaver (er, candy-saver) for me!
This candy recipe coats 8-10 medium apples. I double dipped each so they’d have a deep amber-red shine. Leftover candy can be poured in lollipop molds, if you have them. I made a few that you can see in the first picture of this post.
I find cutting the candy apples into slices is the easiest way to eat them. Even though these were double dipped they were easy to slice.
The cola flavor is mild and sweet, almost fizzy-tasting. It’s unexpected with crisp apples and curiously crave-worthy. I hope you’ll give it a try!
Cola Candied Apples
- 8-10 small apples
- 8-10 sturdy wooden pop sticks
- 1/2 cup 155g light corn syrup
- 3 cups 600g granulated sugar
- 1 cup 7.5 oz. cola/soda pop (such as Coca-Cola)
- 1 dram bottle 1/2 tsp. cola flavoring oil
- Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- Rinse and dry the apples well. Remove the apple stems and carefully insert the wooden pop sticks; lift each apple to make sure they can securely be picked up. Set aside.
- Combine the corn syrup, sugar and cola 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 – watch the mixture constantly as it cooks at this stage because the fizzy cola may bubble over. If the mixture rises too high in the pan, just give it a stir to calm the bubbling. After 5-7 minutes the mixture should lose its fizziness.
- 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.
- Once the correct temperature has been reached, remove the pan from the burner and add the cola flavoring. Mix well. Mixture is ready for dipping when the bubbles have subsided, about 5 minutes.
- Dip apples, one at a time, swirling until completely coated in syrup. Hold apples above saucepan to let excess candy drain off and transfer them to the baking sheet. 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. I dipped the apples twice for a deep amber color.
- Allow the candy to harden completely. Place the candy apples in decorative pastry papers or cupcake liners.