Shiny candy shells covering sweet, crisp fruit – candy apples are the seasonal treat both kids and adults love. A hellish spread of Halloween recipes or a table of Bonfire Night treats wouldn't be complete without a plate of crunchy and colourful toffee apples. Try our easy toffee apple recipes at home, experiment with mouth-watering toppings and plan the ultimate buffet table with our sensational sweets.
Although making the sugar coating is a job for grown-ups, kids can decorate their candy apples and get creative with sweets and sprinkles. Want more tasty projects for your little monsters to enjoy? Get some inspiration from our best ever Halloween kids' recipes.
Try our best ever candy apples recipe.
What's the difference between a candy apple and a toffee apple?
There's no key difference in the ingredients or method between candy apples and toffee apples. Both are made with a caramel that has been heated to reach the 'hard crack' point, which gives you the crunchy bite we all know and love. Toffee apples are most often referred to as 'candy apples' in North America. Sometimes, particularly in the USA, candy apples are made using red or black food colouring.
Top candy apple tips
- Removing fruit wax: October is the start of apple season in the UK, so there are plenty of varieties to choose from. If you're using apples from the supermarket, soak them in boiling water and dry before dipping into your caramel – this removes wax from the skin, meaning you'll get a better coating.
- Sticks: You can use chopsticks for the candy apple sticks as some skewers are too thin to hold them properly. Chunky lolly sticks also make good holders, or thick twigs that have been cleaned with any stalks removed.
- Leftover toffee: Pour any excess toffee onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Leave to cool, then snap into large pieces and eat, or bash up into crumbs and sprinkled over ice cream or yogurt.
How to make candy apples
Basic candy apple recipe:
- 8 red apples
- 400g caster sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- red or black food colouring
- red or black food glitter (optional)
- Pull any stalks off the twigs and push the sharpest end of each stick (or lolly sticks) into the stalk-end of each apple, making sure it's firmly wedged in. Put a large piece of baking parchment on a wooden board.
- Tip the sugar into a large saucepan and add the lemon juice and 100ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Swirl the pan gently to move the sugar around, but don’t stir. Add the golden syrup and simmer the mixture (be careful it doesn’t boil over) until it reaches 'hard crack' stage or 150C on a sugar thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, test the toffee by dropping a small amount into cold water. It should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle. If it's soft, continue to boil. When it's ready, drip in some food colouring and swirl to combine. Add the glitter, if using, and turn off the heat.
- Working quickly, dip each apple into the toffee, tipping the pan to cover all the skin. Lift out and allow any excess to drip off before putting on the baking parchment. Repeat with the remaining apples. Gently heat the toffee again if you need to. Best eaten on the same day.
Candy apple topping ideas
A sprinkling of colourful sweets, soft marshmallows or crunchy crushed nuts can take your toffee apples from boring to beautiful in a flash. For the grown-ups, why not try a handful of crushed pistachios or toasted hazelnuts? Salted peanuts and a drizzle of chocolate also makes a moreish pairing.
Let the kids experiment with crushed biscuits, melted chocolate, multi-coloured sprinkles or all of the above! Try creating a rocky road apple with dark chocolate, digestive biscuits, crushed honeycomb and mini marshmallows for a true seasonal showstopper.
Toffee apple twists to try
1. Toffee apple pops
Try our bite-sized toffee apple pops for a mini version of everyone's seasonal favourite. The chunky slices of apple are coated in toffee, chopped nuts and drizzled with chocolate for an eye-catching dessert. We guarantee they'll disappear in minutes.
2. Toffee apple cookies
Our toffee apple cookies are crunchy around the edges and chewy in the middle, just like a good cookie should be. These melt-in-the-mouth biscuits are sure to be the star of any Bonfire Night or Halloween spread.
3. Toffee apple bread & butter pudding
For a filling family pudding everyone will enjoy, you can't beat our toffee apple bread & butter pudding. Serve a scoop of this hearty dessert with a scoop of chilled vanilla ice cream for the ultimate autumnal treat. If you're looking for classic comfort food with a seasonal twist, look no further.
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What's your favourite candy apple topping? Leave a comment below...