Even though I am tempted to start pulling out my old winter cookbooks, I am refraining; and even though, the shopping malls and department stores have already begun decorating for Christmas, I am doing my best to stay true to the current season; autumn. It seems like once Halloween hits everyone is so eager to skip straight to Christmas, but luckily the local markets are on my side and are keeping the autumn traditions alive.
After casually strolling through the fresh produce, these bright little honey crisp apples caught my eye. Without a recipe in my head, I threw them into my basket and headed home.
It is so hard to escape the wishful winter wanters, and because of this a holiday gourmet cooking catalog on my coffee table caught my eye. On the cover: candied apples. Right then, I knew there was a reason I brought those sweet fruits home. Desperately trying not to give into the winter temptations, I decided to pull flavors that reminded me of fall and immediately maple syrup came to mind. Puzzled about how to incorporate maple syrup into candied apples, I did a little research and stumbled upon a fellow blogger’s blog Sprinkle Bakes and she had made these stunning Maple Candied Apples with Spun sugar and they looked too cool not to try!
MAPLE CANDIED APPLES + SPUN SUGAR NEST
inspired from fellow blogger Heather Baird from Sprinkle Bakes
4 Apples, preferably organic
4 Sturdy Sticks
¼ Cup of Light Corn Syrup
1 ½ Cups of Granulated Sugar
½ Cup of Water
¼ Teaspoon of Maple Flavoring Oil
Grease a baking sheet with vegetable shortening and set aside. For creating our spun sugar, prep your kitchen before candying apples as you will need to work quickly.
Place a piece of parchment paper into the bottom of your dry sink. Grease the handle of a wooden spoon with vegetable shortening and secure the spoon head to your countertop using tape or a heavy object. Allow the spoon handle to hang over the parchment paper.
Thoroughly wash and dry the apples and carefully remove the stems. Using a small paring knife slice a small slit where the original stem was to easily allow the sturdy sticks to be inserted. Pick up each apple by it’s new stem to make sure they are in snug and set the apples aside.
Mix the corn syrup, water and sugar in a saucepan over a medium flame. Heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, then bring the mixture to a rapid boil.
Using a candy thermometer, carefully watch the sugar mixture until it reaches 302ºF; this is commonly referred to as the “hard crack” stage. Once it has reached this stage, remove the saucepan from the flame and add in the maple flavoring and mix thoroughly.
Grasping each apple by it’s “stem”, dip them individually it into the sugar mixture, swirling it around to evenly coat the apple. Hold the apple above the pan for a few seconds to allow and excess syrup to drip off. Place the apple on the greased baking sheet and allow it cool. Repeat with each apple.
Being that these apples are candied, they can be difficult to eat. I learned from Heather that an easy (and fun) way to eat these are to give them a nice hard smack on a cutting board or counter top. This breaks up the glass like candy shell and makes it easier to eat.
With the remaining sugar syrup, bring the saucepan over to the sink and using a ball whisk, dip the utensil into the syrup and begin to vigorously wave it back and forth over the spoon handle. Repeat these steps until you have a good amount of spun sugar hanging over your spoon handle.
Gently slide the spun sugar off the spoon handle and carefully form the threads into a spherical nest shape. Tear off smaller portions to top the candied apples with creating a whimsical look.