Toffee apples for Halloween – and why not? We realise this activity might be frowned upon by clean eating parents out there, but if you can’t have a traditional treat at Halloween then let’s just say we think you’re missing out! The deal here is that Little Explorers have to give their teeth an especially thorough clean afterwards.
You will need:-
- 8 apples – any variety will do but the crisper, the better
- 8 strong twigs
- 400g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 4tbsp golden syrup
- Red food colouring
- Sprinkles or chocolate drops
We went begging to our neighbours to pick apples straight from their trees and our haul was enormous! It’s great to find naturally grown, free produce right on your doorstep. Next our Little Explorers collected strong twigs to make the handles with, and gave them a thorough scrubbing.
Douse your apples in a large bowl of boiling water to remove the waxy coating they’ll have if shop bought. This can take some scrubbing to remove and it’s a good reminder of the need to wash your fruit and veg thoroughly. If the wax is still on the apple it will make it difficult for the toffee to stick.
Insert your wooden stick into the bottom of each apple.
Take a large piece of baking parchment and cover the work surface right by the hob. This is going to be messy and hot so really needs an adult to do it. In fact, we chose to do it on the camping stove just for extra fun.
Get your sprinkles ready – this is the bit the Little Explorers can do with a little guidance from you to check they don’t touch the burning hot melted toffee.
Pour 100ml of water into a pan and bring to a medium heat, then add your 400g sugar and cook for five minutes until dissolved. Next, add your vinegar and syrup, pop in a sugar thermometer and wait until it reaches 150c. This is called the ‘hard crack’ stage. If you don’t have a thermometer, test for readiness by dropping a little toffee into a bowl of cold water. If the toffee hardens straight away and snaps when you bend it, it is ready. If it is still malleable, keep boiling! Add a few drops of red food colouring to make them look like Snow White’s poisoned apples!
Now, dip each apple into the toffee – be as quick as possible! Turn it in the toffee until well coated and pass to your Little Explorer for dipping in the sprinkles, chopped berries or chocolate drops, then set aside to harden and cool.
Expert Explorers: Do you know why we eat toffee apples at this time of year? It’s because Halloween and Bonfire’s Night happen after the annual apple harvest. It’s also because the weather needs to be cool, not hot or humid, for the toffee to set. Toffee apples used to be given out to trick or treaters. They are eaten all around the world in festivals from Halloween right up to Christmas – in the USA, China, Brazil and Germany as well as here in the UK.