Most toffee apple recipes recommend using butter, and mixing a sort of English-style-toffee. But using these recipes there's a risk that the butter is separate in the mix and you'll end up with shiny, slimy apples. So I recommend this non-butter toffee recipe for coating crunchy, sugar crusted apples, and the with-butter recipe below it for regular without-apple-toffees.
I also recommend using Granny Smith apples (this makes enough toffee for eight) – though other recipes, and tastes, will recommend other varieties. For this recipe you'll also need:
8 ice lolly sticks 1 tbsp vinegar 4 tbsp golden syrup 400g golden caster sugar 100mls water
Step One: Place your apples in a big pot and cover them with boiling water. This isn't part of the cooking process, it's to wash off the wax coating that many shop-bought apples now come with. You should also remove any stalks, then dry them thoroughly and skewer in a lolly stick where the stalk used to be. Then place them, lolly stick upwards, on a baking paper covered tray.
Step Two: Pour the sugar into a pan with the water and heat on medium. When the sugar dissolves, which should take about five minutes, add the vinegar and golden syrup. You then need to boil the mixture until it's 140 degrees – the best way to check this is using a sugar thermometer.
Note: If you don't make candy frequently enough to have one of these you can test the temperature by spooning a bit of the mixture into a bowl of cold water. If it's right it will harden instantly and snap when you try and break it. If you try and snap it and it's not brittle enough then you need to keep going with the heating process.
Step Three: Once your toffee's ready, lower the heat and dip an apple into it, twisting it around several times to make sure it's totally coated in toffee. Then put it back onto the baking paper to set. Repeat with your other apples, adding a second coat of toffee if you have any left.
Step Four: Once they've hardened you can serve them right away, or else wrap them in cellophane and keep them for a special occasion.
Toffee apples are especially popular around the autumn when there are lots of apples around, and make a healthier choice for Halloween treats.
To make regular with-butter-not-apples toffee you need:
400g caster sugar
200g soft, dark brown sugar
350g golden syrup
250g softened butter
475g whipping cream
250g evaporated milk
and 1 ¼ tsp of vanilla extract
Step One: Prepare a shallow tin with grease proof paper.
Step Two: Add the caster sugar, brown sugar, butter, cream, evaporated milk and golden syrup to a pot, stirring it as you heat it. If you have that sugar thermometer then you need to wait for it to get to 120 degrees, by which time the ingredients will be thoroughly mixed, then remove your pot from the heat.
Step Three: Stir in the vanilla extract and pour it into the tin you've prepared. This toffee will be chewier than the apple version, so you should be able to cut it into pieces when it's cooled, but score it on top when it's cooled for a few minutes to make the process easier.
Step Four: Once totally cool, cut the toffee into small squares or rectangles and wrap individually in grease proof paper for easy divvying up.