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When we were little, Mama made these wonderful candied apples for us from time to time, it didn’t even have to be fall! She always made extra for our friends, too. She made pretty much everything and we thought she was the best thing since sliced bread, which was about the only thing she didn’t make (although she did make a mean biscuit and got into bread making later on in our lives), and our friends thought so too because they flocked to our house in droves.
That was the kind of house Mama wanted, one where her kids and their friends felt comfortable and welcome. There are many benefits to this but the primary one is that – she knew where her children were and that they were safe.
I can’t think of one thing that my mother cooked growing up that didn’t taste good. She made homemade cookies twice a week, a full breakfast every morning, a hot lunch every day, and a full supper every night. She’d been cooking like that since she was thirteen years old and she was every bit as skilled as my great grandmother at stretching a meal and pinching a penny til it sang the national anthem. She was a couponing pioneer and back then used to do “refunding” too as a means of getting Christmas gifts for us and little checks for a few dollars here and there to help out with the groceries.
Our most beloved Christmas presents came from sending in collected proofs of purchases from this product or that. One year Santa brought me a beautiful doll who came with a bathtub and her own miniature bar of ivory soap! Another year we got a talking calculator to share, and my brother spent two entire summers wearing “Tuff Stuff” t-shirts that featured a bulldog advertising insulation (My dad worked on houses as a spare job). He’d liked them so much that Mama just kept collecting proofs of purchase and sending them in to add more to his closet.
I have no idea how I got off on that tangent…
Oh yeah, my Mama made Candy Apples for us when we were little. These are really very simple to make and don’t require any fancy ingredients but so few people seem to make them nowadays, I guess because they are sold in grocery stores and such ready made. Those still don’t hold a candle to these though. Have you wowed your family and friends lately? These Candy Apples will do just that!
You’ll need: 8 apples, sugar, light corn syrup, red hots (or cinnamon candy like red hots), red food coloring, a candy thermometer, and wooden sticks of some sort.
I know some folks balk at light corn syrup but I’m cool with it.
In a medium sized heavy sauce pot, place sugar.
Add corn syrup
Also add water, red hots, and red food coloring.
Stir that up a bit.
Place over medium high heat and cook, without stirring, until it reaches 290 degrees.
This is gonna take a while, probably anywhere from 20-25 minutes or so, depending on how hot your eye is.
Okay so maybe I stir a time or two but Mama’s recipe says not to so you don’t have to but the world won’t end if you do.
An “eye” is what we call the heating elements on top of our stove. I didn’t realize that anyone called them anything different until I started writing Southern Plate and someone asked me what it was. I had to ask Mama if she knew what other people might call them and she didn’t either. I kept asking around and finally discovered that “Stove Eyes” translated out of it’s original Southern means “burners”, which seems kind of violent to me. ~grins~
While that is cooking, remove the stems from your apples but holding the stem in one hand and the apple in the other and twisting.
An old wives tale says that every time you twist the apple stem once, you say a letter of the alphabet and whichever one you land on when the stem comes off is the first letter in your future spouse’s name. I doubt many folks get beyond E or F with that though 🙂 I don’t have to worry about that with Katy Rose because she says that when she gets old enough to get married she wants ME to pick out your husband! She asked me if I’d do that and I immediately responded “I sure will, baby!”.
Now stick your sticks in each apple.
If you have a hard time finding Popsicle sticks, just go to the kid’s craft section and they have all sorts of wooden craft sticks that work very well. You can also use wooden skewers from the grilling section.
I’ve even used forks from my kitchen drawer before 🙂 They work great and when you’re done just stick ’em in the dishwasher. Either way you go, there isn’t a need to go buy anything special or go on a wild goose chase because there is surely something on hand that will work just fine.
This is what it will look like when it’s ready but the most important thing is to just watch that thermometer…
I’m hoping you can actually read your candy thermometer. I’ve never really been able to so I kinda go on gut and hope – and continually vow to get one of those digital candy thermometers I can actually read.
Now that our candy coating is done remove it from the heat and place it on a hot pad because it is H O T.
This is like one of those “Coffee-is-hot McDonald’s warnings”. While I’m at it, might as well go full on public service message and add that irons are hot, needles are sharp, cyanide pills aren’t for snacking on, and rattlesnakes don’t make good pets for cuddling.
Whew. I feel like I just saved some lives here.
Quickly dip an apple in it and swirl it around a bit until it is evenly coated.
Remove the apple and hold it over for a few seconds to allow excess to drip off.
Complete with remaining apples and place onto greased or buttered waxed paper (or a greased baking sheet) to cool completely before eating.
Best if eaten within two days.
If you have teeth like I do, you can do what I do and make these for the kids and click here to get the candied apples I can eat with all the flavor but none of the dental bills.
If you’d lke to read a cute story about my daughter, candied apples, and my book, click here. It really is precious 🙂
- 3 Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Water
- ½ Cup Light Corn Syrup
- ¼ Cup Cinnamon Red Hot Candies
- ¼ teaspoon red food coloring (I just give it a good splash)
- 8 wooden ice cream sticks
- 8 small apples
- In heavy saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, candies, red food coloring, and 1 cup of water.
- Place over medium heat and bring to a boil without stirring.
- Set a candy thermometer on the side of the pot, making sure the tip doesn't touch the bottom and continue cooking, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 290 F, about twenty minutes.
- Meanwhile, grease a cookie sheet. Remove stems from apples and insert a popsicle stick partway through each apple.
- When candy is ready, remove pan from heat and remove thermometer. Swirl each apple into candy syrup until it is coated and then hold over the pot for a few seconds to allow any drips to fall off.
- Place candied apples on a cookie sheet to cool. If the syrup begins to stiffen while you're still dipping apples you can place the pan over very low heat while you finish.
- Let apples cool at least an hour before eating. You can speed this up by placing them in the fridge if you like.
- Best if eaten within two days.
Did your Mother make Candy Apples when you were little?
Have you ever made them for your kids?
Do you have any memories of Candy Apples at fairs or festivals or special events when you were a kid?
With laundry and life,
You can iron out more wrinkles with warmth
than you can with pressure.