How to Make Candy Apples with Honey (No Corn Syrup!) and How to Spike Candy Apples for Adults

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Candy apples have been a favorite of mine since childhood, and they make a nice novelty dessert for adults, too. For this recipe,
Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
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I experimented with a combination of ingredients until I was happy with the end product, which is why there is no corn syrup in this recipe. Instead, I used honey and cinnamon sticks, which brings a more sophisticated flavor to the candy coating. 

I’m also sharing a fun, spiked version of my recipe that’s even more grown-up. It swaps out cinnamon sticks for cinnamon schnapps! 

Click here to download
this recipe as a free PDF.



To download a free PDF of my recipe right now, click here. To see the recipe as a blog post, click here or on the READ MORE link below.

Whether you eat your apples with spirits or without, I wish you a very...Happy Halloween Season! 


~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries











Cleo Coyle's 
Candy Apples with Honey
(No corn syrup!)


Makes about 8 small or 6 medium (to large) apples

You will need: 

* Wax paper or parchment paper
* Non-stick cooking spray; 
* Non-stick medium size saucepan
* Wooden spoon or silicone spatula (one for high-heat cooking)
* Wooden skewers or Popsicle/Craft Sticks or Chopsticks
* (Optional) A candy thermometer; it's optional because I often make these without a thermometer; so if you don’t have one, just follow my tips for knowing when the candy is done cooking.

Ingredients:

8 small or 6 medium (to large) unwaxed apples (NOTE: If you have wax on your apples, the candy will not stick! See my note below on what type of apples to choose and how to de-wax store apples.)
                             
2/3 cup water

1 tablespoon honey 

2 cinnamon sticks (or a few more, but do not use
   ground or powdered, it will cloud the mixture)


2-1/2 cups white, granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon + 4 or 5 extra drops red food coloring


**CLEO'S NOTE ON CHOOSING APPLES: I like to use small apples for this recipe and in my photos you see organic Fuji variety apples, which are one of my favorites for flavor and texture. For more suggestions on what types of apples are best for this recipe, read my tips in the PDF version of this recipe. Download it by clicking here.

Be sure to choose apples without any wax coating (farmer's market or organic apples are your best bet). If you do have wax coating on your apples, you will need to remove the wax by dipping the apples very briefly in boiling water, dry the surfaces well, and chill them in the refrigerator (to prevent mushiness) before using in this recipe. Otherwise, the wax will cause the candy coating to slide off in a heartbreaking manner.


Directions:

Step 1 - Prep the apples: Cover a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper and generously coat the paper with nonstick spray or you can brush it with oil. This is a must to prevent the apples from sticking to the paper. Remove stems from the apples and insert skewers, Popsicle sticks, or chopsticks as shown. 

As mentioned above, if your apples are natural or organic, you're all set. But if they have WAX coating their skins, you MUST REMOVE THE WAX or the candy coating will not stick. To remove wax, dip the apples very briefly in boiling water, dry completely, and chill in the refrigerator (to prevent mushiness) before continuing with the recipe.



Step 2 - Make the candy coating: Combine sugar, water, honey, cinnamon sticks, and food coloring in a nonstick saucepan. (The red food coloring will darken as the candy cooks, so don't go too heavy on it. I suggest 1/4 teaspoon and 4 or 5 extra drops, not much more than that.)



Stir the mixture over medium-high heat only until the sugar is completely melted. Once it’s melted, you’re safe to boil it. DO NOT STIR AGAIN AT THIS POINT. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. After about 10 minutes of a continual, rolling boil, the candy should be ready or very close. 




Testing candy for doneness (no candy thermometer?): To check without a thermometer, dip a spoon into the mixture and drop some of the liquid candy into a glass of ice cold water. Does it harden up quickly into a crunchy, brittle substance? If it does, you’re ready to make candy apples. If not, keep cooking but check frequently to prevent burning. 

Testing candy for doneness (with a candy thermometer): If you're using a candy thermometer, look for a temperature from 280 to 300 degrees F. Don’t go much beyond that or you’ll risk burning the candy. 

Candy-Making Temperatures Grid: For a handy grid of of temperatures attached to each stage of candy making, see the PDF version of this recipe. To download the document, click here.


Step 3 - Coat the apples: BE CAREFUL with this step because the candy-coating is very hot and will hurt like the dickens if it splashes on you. Turn the heat off under the pan and allow the boiling to stop. Tip the pan slightly and dip a skewered apple in the coating. Twirl the apple for an even coat. Lift and allow the excess to drip back into the pan. Place your newly dipped candy apple on the greased wax or parchment paper.





COATING TIP: Do not double-dip or be concerned with applying a super-thick coating. Take it from me, if the candy is too thick, your teeth will not be able to penetrate it. Simply dip once for a thin candy-coating. As it cools, it will harden prettily (similar to the hardness of peanut brittle).



As the candy in the pot cools, it will thicken and become more difficult to work with so don't let the candy sit around. Be sure to dip all of your apples relatively quickly after the candy is finished cooking. If the liquid candy does begin to thicken up on your, then turn the heat on again under the pan and warm the mixture until it loosens up.



CLEAN-UP TIP: Do not pour any leftover liquid candy into your sink. Instead, pour it into a disposable container (like an empty milk carton or soup can) and toss it into the garbage. As for cleaning any encrusted candy on your pan or utensils, simply fill your saucepan with water, place the utensils inside, and boil the water on the stove to melt the crusted candy off the sides and bottom of the pot. 



Cleo Coyle's
Cinnamon Schnapps 

Spiked Candy Apples

To make an even more grown-up version, you can spike the candy apples with cinnamon schnapps. Here's how I do it. Follow the recipe exactly as you would above with these changes.

1 - Leave out the cinnamon sticks and make the candy coating without them.

- After the candy is finished cooking and you are ready to coat the apples, turn off the heat under the pan. WAIT for the boiling to stop. Measure out 2 tablespoons of cinnamon schnapps** and CAREFULLY pour the schnapps into the liquid candy. The hot candy will JUMP and sizzle as you add the alcohol so please watch for that and do not get burned! The reason you are adding it at this late stage is to preserve the alcohol and flavor of the liqueur. Lightly stir the mixture with a wooden skewer and immediately begin dipping your apples. If the liquid candy cools and begins to thicken on you, turn on the heat and warm it until it loosens again, and...

Follow the rest of the recipe as written.

**Cinnamon schnapps is a fun liqueur to play with, especially in the fall and winter. Add a generous splash of it to a glass of cold apple cider, for instance, and you've got a drinkable "Apple Pie"--delicious! For more drink ideas using cinnamon schnapps, click here or here. (We use Goldschläger.)





Click here to download
this recipe as a free PDF.





Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle


New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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