Monday, 29 October 2012

Toffee apples: a recipe

Following Apple Day and an impulse-bought bag of reduced English Russets, I felt inspired to make my own toffee apples. In the past, the only toffee apples I had ever bitten into were the ruby red crackle of fairground apples on bleached sticks. The apple I bought at Boiling Wells reminded me that you can recreate culinary memories in your own kitchen and I looked up a couple of recipes and worked out my own version of this autumnal classic.

Toffee apple recipe - try it yourself!
Once the sugar dissolves, the water is still clear but you can see crystals forming. The vinegar struck me as odd and I hesitated because I only had balsamic and wasn’t sure if that would be okay, but as soon as I added a splash, that fairground toffee aroma suddenly hit me and I knew it was just right. As a nod to the toffee apples of my childhood memories, I added a generous splash of natural red food colouring. You don’t need this but it’s good fun. You could add different colours- wouldn’t a green toffee apple be perfect for a creepy hallowe’en treat? One recipe suggested using a thermometer and, if you’ve got one, this will cut out the only real bit of work involved: determining when the toffee is ready for coating.  If not, do as I did and boil the toffee (I was worried I’d burn it so kept monitoring the mixture, adjusting the heat and checking it every now and then) until it is ready. To test this out, have a bowl of cold water close at hand and pour a little of the toffee mixture into it. If it remains gooey and squishable when in the water, it needs to boil for longer. If it immediately solidifies and shatters when you pick it up and bend it, it’s ready for your apples (and the splintering sample is a tasty treat while you coat them!).

Splintering red toffee on a russet apple makes for an exciting autumn treat!
Lolly sticks or even wooden skewers, depending on the size of your apples, would be perfect for this but I had neither so trimmed down some dry twigs from the garden – it’s not as though you eat the stick! Depending on the type of apples you’re using, they may have a waxy coating on them. The toffee won’t stick properly to this, so soak the apples for five minutes in a bowl of boiling water to remove it. You can do this while you’re waiting for the toffee to be ready. Mine were local produce and didn’t have this coating, so I cut out that step!

The toffee sets almost immediately. Depending on when you want to serve the apples, you could refrigerate them but I found that this actually had a detrimental effect on the coating: the toffee had softened a little on some of the apples and slid down them. That said, this may have just been down to the mixture being cooler when I coated those apples and nothing to do with the fridge!
Serve however you want. I pierced some paper cupcake cases with the sticks and slid them over the base of the apple to keep the sticky toffee off eager fingers! I thought it made a pretty finishing touch. I took my apples along to an early hallowe’en gathering with friends. At the end of the night, people clamoured to try one! They’d also be perfect for a kids’ party, a bonfire night gathering, for trick-or-treaters this Wednesday or just for your own indulgence!

My toffee apples took pride of place in Lori's hallowe'en spread!
What do you associate toffee apples with? Are there any other goodies that this time of year has you yearning for?


  1. I'm gonna use this recipe for the party. Not a fan of toffee apples myself (they disagree with my teeth) but they always look so yummy!! x

  2. yummm! this post made me want a toffee apple so much!
    (love your blog) xx

    1. Well now you know how to make one! ;)
      And thank you so much! Not sure I've carved out as much of a theme for mine as you have for yours but hopefully it;s enough! x

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.