Trips to the state fair will always, by far, be my favorite childhood pastime. They were visits filled with pure, unbridled elation, sugar highs and sticky fingers and moments too fond to be forgotten. There’s no denying that fair food played a big part in my revelry as this was some of our only chances to eat to our heart’s content, without adult supervision. Looking back, perhaps mixing fried Oreos with upside down roller coasters wasn’t the most intelligent decision of my adolescent life but boy oh boy, how content we were with ourselves at the time!
I always had trouble passing by the stands with candy apples on display. The sheen of the glossy red coating was always so appealing – it always reminded me so much of the Snow White. I thought it would be a fun idea to make my own version of a candy-coated apple, a more refined grown-up version if you will, and set about crafting these marbled rock candy creations. While your topping choices are completely up to you and your taste bud predilections, the purple rock candy against the vivid green of the apple produced a sense of whimsy I couldn’t get enough of!
Overall, candy-coating the Granny Smith apples was a pretty seamless process, much more so than I first expected and would make a great (relatively) healthy treat for a kid’s party. As long as you have a good candy thermometer, patience, and bit of inspiration your apples are for certain to get more turns of the head than a spectator on a Ferris wheel.
What You Need
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 6 Granny Smith apples
- Lollipop sticks
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Healthy dose of white food coloring
- 2 (or more!) other food coloring shades
- Candy thermometer
- Parchment paper
- Crushed rock candy
- Sprinkles for some extra sparkle and panache
Before You Begin
Most apples that you purchase from the grocery store will come with a shiny, wax coating. This coating will prevent the candy from sticking to the surface of the apple – to remove the way coating, boil 6 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Dip your apple in for 5 seconds, then dry thoroughly.
Remove the stems from your apples, insert a lollipop stick midway through, and pop them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to the dipping process. Remove the chilled apples from the refrigerator and make sure they are placed close to the stovetop on parchment paper as you will have to move rather quickly in the apple coating process.
In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, water, and the corn syrup until it becomes thick. Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making certain it doesn’t hit the bottom as this will give you an incorrect temperature. My thermometer happened to be too tall for my pan so I had an assistant (my mom!) hold it at an appropriate height. Heat over medium high heat and let bubble and ooze until it reaches 302 degrees, the hard crack stage. No need to do any stirring.
After it hits 302 degrees, swiftly remove from heat and mix in your vanilla and white food coloring. Add a few drops of your two other food coloring options (I used a bright purple and a teal) and use a wooden skewer to gently stir the colors, taking great care not to mix too much as this will create too much solid color.
Tip the pot slightly to the side and plunge your apples directly into the mix. Slowly rotate them as you remove to get rid of too much excess coating. Place them on the parchment and sprinkle with rock candy before they harden and set. The candy coating is extremely hot so don’t attempt to handle them or taste-test until they have cooled.
Enjoy your trip down memory lane!