These are the maple toffee apples from my story A Week in Books: Stories to treasure, traditional recipes and seasonal flowers
Maple toffee apples are wonderful in autumn, for evenings spent outdoors, wrapped up warm by a fire. Consider also making these with surplus apples in August and enjoying them cool from the fridge on hot summer days.
6 eating apples
400g (1 3/4 cups) golden caster sugar
100ml (1/2 cup) water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons syrup, such as:
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup = maple flavour
- 4 tablespoons golden syrup = standard toffee apples
Baking sheet or chopping board (to fit your fridge shelf)
Medium drinking glass
Ice cube tray (you will need one ice cube)
Large, deep saucepan
Metal desert spoon or ladle
To make toffee brittle with the leftover syrup mixture, you will need to prepare a square cake tin, lined with baking parchment.
- Line the baking sheet or chopping board with the baking parchment. Set aside for later.
- Fill the saucepan with boiling water and place the apples in the water for one minute.
- Dunk the apples under the water with a wooden spoon so that all of the apple skin touches the boiling water.
- Remove the apples from the water and twist off the stalks.
- Insert a skewer halfway through each apple core from the stalk end, until it holds the apple securely. We used homegrown bamboo canes for ours.
- Fill up your drinking glass half way with cold water, add an ice cube and leave within easy reach of the hob. The ice cube will keep the water cooled ready for later.
- Discard the used water from the saucepan.
- Place the empty saucepan on the hob.
- Add the sugar and the 100ml of water to the saucepan.
- Bring the sugar-water mixture to a boil, whilst gently stirring.
- When the mixture has boiled, reduce to a simmer until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Add the lemon juice, golden syrup and maple syrup (or the syrup mix of your choosing), stir in gently with the wooden spoon, then bring back to the boil.
- Carefully watch the boiling sugar mixture at all times and every minute take a scant teaspoon of the mixture and drop it into the glass of cold water. When the syrup in the glass forms a little solid ball, rather than dropping like liquid to the base of the glass, the mixture is at the perfect point for coating the apples.
- Place your lined baking sheet / chopping board next to the hob, making sure to keep the parchment lining paper well away from the flame if using a gas hob, to prevent the paper catching fire.
- Pick up an apple by the skewer, dip the apple into the boiling mixture with one hand, whilst using the dessert spoon / ladle to gently coat the apple. Then place the coated apple onto the parchment paper to cool. Repeat for the remaining apples.
- If you want to make toffee brittle see the optional stage at the end of this recipe. If not, empty the saucepan straight away and soak in water to prevent any damage to the pan surface by the sugar as it cools and sticks.
- Traditionally, you would leave the apples to set with the skewer standing upright, so that the flattened part of the toffee is at the top of the apple – I prefer to have mine resting lengthways, so that I can fit them in the fridge.
- Place the tray of coated apples in the fridge until the toffee is completely hardened. This takes approximately one hour.
- They are now ready to enjoy.
Optional final stage – to create shards of Toffee Brittle
- Carefully pour the remaining hot sugary syrup into a lined cake tin and after waiting for it to stop boiling, place the tin into the fridge to cool.
- Once completely hardened, the toffee can be broken up into shards by covering it with parchment paper and lightly tapping with a rolling pin.
- The shards (see photo below) can be used in other recipes, reboiled to create more toffee sauce or dropped into warm drinks, in the place of your usual sugar cubes, as a warming autumnal flavouring.
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