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Whenever we make Candy Apples, it reminds me of my childhood. You can dip the apples in just about anything you wish. Make sure you always put the "sticks" into the middle of the core and not through to the other side of the apple. It is thought that caramel apples started in the Mid-West with candy apples on both ocean coasts.
CANDY RECIPE HELP

Sarah's
Secrets

QUESTION: I'm making about 150 red candy apples for a wedding reception. What is the best way to wrap the apples, as well as how far in advance do you think I can make them?
SARAH SAYS: After the candy covering has dried, wrap candy apples in loose polyethylene or cellophane bags. Candy apples do not have a long shelf life; once you pierce the apple with a skewer you are opening them up to start rotting. Usually people dip them enough to cover the mark and that should help, but the apple begins to break down after a day or two. I would make them no more than a day or maybe two before you need them. HOWEVER -- do a test apple and see how long it lasts. Store it in a cool, dry place -- not the refrigerator because its moisture will affect the candy.

QUESTION: The candy covering was full of bubbles. What happened?
SARAH SAYS: The syrup is thick. If you stir it too fast and vigorously, bubbles will form in the mixture and will stay suspended in it. Stir the mixture slowly and in one direction.

INGREDIENTS
8 small red apples
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Remove stem from each apple. Wash and dry each apple. Insert wooden stir stick for holding in the center of stem end. Set aside. Grease baking sheet; set aside.

2. In 12-cup heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup; cook, stirring, over medium-low heat for 8 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, brushing down side of pan occasionally with brush dipped in hot water to prevent crystallization.

3. Boil, brushing down side occasionally but not stirring, for 15 to 25 minutes or until at soft-crack stage of 290 degrees F on candy thermometer, or until 1/2 tsp syrup dropped into cold water separates into hard but pliable threads.

4. Remove syrup from heat; very quickly stir in red food coloring. Immediately plunge bottom of pan into ice water and hold for about 15 seconds or until sizzling stops.

5. Holding each apple by wooden stick and tilting saucepan, swirl each apple in candy syrup until well coated all over.

6. Lift apple and quickly swirl over pan to allow excess to drip off. Place on prepared baking sheet; let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or until hardened.

TIPS
Choose the reddest small apples available in your area. McIntosh, Spartan and Cortland apples are excellent.

Watch the boiling sugar mixture carefully, because the temperature rises quickly near the end of the cooking process and the mixture burns easily; plunging the pan into ice water stops the cooking and prevents burning. Wear rubber gloves when swirling the apples to avoid sugar burns.
Store apples, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days at room temperature.

Adapted from The Canadian Living Magazine Test Kitchen

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