What says summer fun, more than candied apples? They are very easy to make (if you follow a few tips at the end of this post) and would be a nice addition to any summer birthday party, barbeque or even for a 4th of July picnic!
The ingredients are very basic:
10 small (snack size) apples
10 popsicle sticks
2 cups white sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 & 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cherry UNsweetened Kool Aid powder
Wash any wax or soil from the apples and thoroughly dry them (remove stems). Insert wooden stick into the stem end of the apple (push about half way into the apple).
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and spray it with cooking spray (keep this close to your work station).
In a medium size, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, attach your candy thermometer and make sure that the glass tip is not setting on the bottom of the pan (it will give you a false reading). Put all of the candy ingredients in the pan and cook on medium high, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. DO NOT STIR THIS AFTER IT COMES TO A BOIL. Turn the heat down just a little, so that you have a nice gentle boil and then keep an eye on the thermometer. Cook until it hits 300 or hard crack stage; this can take up to 30 minutes, but on my stove it takes about 25. Keep a close eye on the candy after it reaches 285 because those last 15 degrees go faster than you think. DO NOT STIR!!
Remove the pan from the heat and work fast. Holding the apple by the stick, dip it into the pan (hold the pan at a tilt, so the candy will "pool". Twirl the apple and then let the candy drip off of the apple for a few seconds and then place on the prepared waxed paper. DON'T GET THIS STUFF ON YOUR SKIN!!!!! Apples will be hard and ready to use five to ten minutes after they are dipped. If you are going to add sprinkles or any decorations, you will have to add them with lightening speed because these cool off and become hard FAST (an extra person would be a big help if you are going to add sprinkles).
NOTE: Keep a bowl of ice water near your work station just in case you get some of this on your fingers (definitely not safe for younger kids).
NOTE: In the first stage of making the candy, try not to splash any liquid onto the sides of your pan (it can make crystals in the candy).
NOTE: I keep an electric frying pan, preheated to 200, at my work station. When the pan of candy comes off of the stove, I set it on the DRY, warm frying pan so that it doesn't cool down too fast and lengthens the amount of time you have to dip the apples.
NOTE: The best tip I can give you is to have EVERYTHING at your fingertips BEFORE you start dipping the apples. Once you are at that stage, you have zero time to run to the pantry and find something.
NOTE: Any candy left over can be poured out onto a pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. When it's cooled, you can break it up and eat it (tastes like cherry life savers.
NOTE: There is a teaspoon of UNsweetened Kool Aid powder in each small envelope, so you can get two batches of candied apples per Kool Aid envelope (any flavor will work).
NOTE: Clean up can be a pain if you don't have a dishwasher. If you have a dishwasher, just put all of the stuff in the hot cycle.
NOTE: These are best eaten the day they are made. If you HAVE to make them a day ahead of time, do NOT cover them because the moisture from the apples will degrade the candy coating.
NOTE: Someone told me (I haven't tried it) that you can candy grapes, cherries and other small fruit (use their stems to hold onto instead of using a stick).