2 cups sugar
¾ cup water
1 ½ cups light corn syrup
8 drops red food coloring
½ teaspoon cinnamon extract (if you like it)
6 medium-sized, hard apples (Gala, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Cripps Pink, or Braeburn)
Wash the apples, remove the stem and allow them to dry on paper towel.
Insert a stick into the apple through the stem. The stick should extend at least half-way into the apple but not all the way through.
Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Alternatively, line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and brush with vegetable oil.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan mix together sugar, water, and corn syrup.
Place a candy thermometer with the holder on the top edge of the pan and the tip of the thermometer in the syrup,but not touching the bottom of the pan.
Bring the syrup to a boil. Allow to boil. Be patient, it seems to take forever for the syrup to reach the thread stage.* When the syrup forms a long thread (it is not ready if there are drips) as it falls from a spoon covered with syrup from the pot and held 4 inches above the pan, add food coloring and extract (if desired).
Now watch carefully until the syrup reaches the hard crack stage.** At this point, a small amount of the syrup dropped into cold water will form brittle, hard threads that crack apart easily.
Remove syrup from heat.
Tilt the pot to maximize the depth of the syrup.
Pick up an apple by the stick and gently roll it through the syrup. Lift it out of the syrup and allow the excess to drip off.
Place the apple on the oil cookie sheet or parchment.
Repeat with the rest of the apples.
Allow to harden at room temperature.
Cook’s Note: If there is any remaining syrup, pour it on the oiled cookie sheet or parchment, away from the apples. Break it up later into pieces for candy or drizzle the syrup into a bowl of cold water, a teaspoon at a time. It will form threads and harden almost immediately. Carefully remove from water and place on plate. Let it drain a few moments and then carefully drain the plate (else the sugar will melt). If the water becomes warm, remove finished candy and replace water before doing the next batch.
Cook’s Note: Serve apples that day. Do not chill as the candy shell will soften.
* 230° F.
** 300º F – 310º F.