It’s that time of year again, its now socially acceptable to dunk fresh fruits in silly amounts of sugar before you eat them!
Now I may be speaking out of turn here but using Pinterest as my guide, I think there is a bit of a cultural divide in what one dips their apples in each side of the Atlantic. On this side of the pond we have always had apples in clear hard toffee, but it all seems to be about creamy caramel state-side.
Given our slightly transatlantic background we thought it would be fund to do a little of both, which is surprisingly easy as the toffee is very easily transformed into caramel with a touch of cream.
We struggled to find nice sticks to pop out apples on so decided to get a little creative and use three wooden kebab skewers in each apple wrapped up in wool to make things look a little tidier.
Caramel and Toffee Apples (makes 2 of each)
4 apples (nothing too powdery, a little acidity and crunch under all that sugar works well)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup double cream
1. Prep – First things first, remove the stalks and stickers from your apples. Insert your stick (or skewers in our case) one at a time straight through the base of the apple almost all the way through.
2. Apple skin magic – Now even if your apples are not a particularly waxy variety they will have a shine to them which wont help things stick. If you plunge each apple into a bowl of hot water for a few seconds, this waxy coating is removed. Make sure your apples are already on sticks to do this as it means your hands can keep well clear of the hot water. When dried you’ll really notice the difference in the surface! Finally to make everything set real quick and therefore stick nicely, your apples need to be cold so while you make the toffee pop them in the fridge.
3. Hot sugar – First things first hot sugar gets HOT! Don’t be tempted to taste along the way or tongues will get burned. In a small saucepan over a medium-high heat, put the two cups of sugar and half a cup of water and wait. It is super important not to get tempted to stir things up or sugar crystals will form and you wont get nice clear toffee or nice smooth caramel. The sugar should dissolve and arrive at a rolling boil. I am not the proud owner of a sugar thermometer so from here on out colour will be our guide. Slowly as the sugar heats, the liquid syrup will begin to take an amber colour. When the liquid is just starting to turn golden remove from the heat. The syrup will continue to cook through with the residual heat and overdone toffee gets a very bitter, burnt marshmallow kind of taste.
4. Toffee Apples – So now we have a pot of hot toffee. Leave this to cool a little for 2 minutes in order to thicken. Take your first apple and dip into the saucepan, turning continuously to coat the whole apple. Continue to rotate above the pan in order cool off to loose any excess. Place on a piece of non stick parchment to cool. Repeat for the next apple.
5. Caramel Apples – Place the pot of remaining toffee back on a medium heat and add the cream. As the cream will be a great deal cooler this will momentarily cause things to bubble furiously before settling down. Heat for a couple of minutes to tighten up the caramel. Remove from the heat and leave to cool and thicken a little. Using the same technique as before coat the remaining two apples and leave to cool on some non stick parchment.