Candy Apples are a traditional treat many associate with carnivals, festivals, Halloween parties and more. In our pursuit of Candy Science knowledge and learning it made sense to include this treat in our lesson plans.
It would be a huge understatement to say that our study of candy science has been a success. Kids love learning practical knowledge and the study of candy science has allowed us to explore so many concepts. Plus, due to the hands on nature, they can see how different temperatures can affect the chemical reaction or how altitude can change the results. It’s been fun and most of all interesting. And when kids are interested, they are learning skills and knowledge that will stick with them.
The Science Behind Candy Apples
We are now heating our syrup to hard crack stage that’s 150 c or 290 f. At this temperature the syrup has lost almost all of its fluids and the sucrose molecules will be breaking down and starting to caramelize.
The biggest problem with this stage of candy making is that the resultant candy is very hard – you’ve probably tried candy apples that were so hard that it was impossible to eat without chipping teeth.
How would we get around that problem? By adding an acid to the syrup to retard the tough finish and make it break with little pressure. Also, don’t be tempted to double dip your apples. Dip them once so that you achieve a thin light thin coat on your apple – your teeth with thank you.
Candy Apple Recipe Tools
A 3 or 4-quart sauce pan
Two large bowls
A tray lined with parchment paper.
Candy Apple Recipe Ingredients
6 small apples
100mls (1/2cup) water
400 grams (1.75 cups) of golden sugar
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
4 tablespoons of corn syrup
Red food coloring if you want to make the toffee traditional red color
Making Candy Apples – Directions
Apples bought at the grocery stores usually have a wax film on them to keep them fresh. We have to remove this film or risk the toffee not sticking to the apple when we dip them.
Fill a large bowl with boiling water.
Put the wooden skewers into the apples at the stalk end. Make sure they are nice and secure.
Dip the apples into the boiling water for 1 minute. This will help to soften the wax. Remove the apples and place them in the second bowl in warm water. Gently scrub them with a scrubbing pad.
Dry the apples thoroughly with a clean cloth.
Place the apples on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Add the water and sugar to the pan and place over medium heat until it is boiling. Stir constantly. Once it is boiling gently stir in the vinegar, the red food coloring (if desired), and the corn syrup. Mix well.
Place the thermometer into the pan (after checking it’s accuracy and ensuring it isn’t on the bottom of the pan) and boil the syrup to 150C / 300 F. This is known as hard crack in the sugar stages. Do not stir.
Working very carefully – the syrup is very hot – dip the apples into the syrup until the whole apple is submerged. Lift out slowly, twisting the stick gently to get rid of the excess.
Place the apple on the parchment paper to harden.
These apples will be a little stickier because of the vinegar. If you want to avoid this, you can roll the apples in nut crumbs or candy crumbs or sprinkles immediately after pulling it from the candy mixture. It will make your finished apples quite festive looking.