It's no secret that I love Bonfire Night and given yesterday's big news, there seems to be even more sparkle and fire in the November air tonight.
We got our firework fix on Saturday night when a group of us went to the display at the beautiful Hampton Court Palace. I had intended to take some chunks of parkin to brace us against the cold but having returned from holiday the night before there was no time for the parkin to develop its necessary stickiness. Unable to go to any gathering empty handed (post-holiday chores and jet-lag are nothing against the fear of not feeding people) I decided to make toffee apples.
I'm not sure what the connection between bonfire night and toffee apples is, but I know that at most firework displays there will be a stall selling floury old apples with garish red 'toffee' covering them like a scab. Seriously, homemade apples are in a different league. Yes, there is always the risk of a hot toffee related injury (whether I'll ever feel the tip of my index finger again is debatable) but the contrast between a crisp cox apple and the thick, teeth chippingly good toffee shell is not to be missed.
Toffee Apples (makes 10)
10 small eating apples (choose your favourites)
450g soft brown sugar
50g butter (use real butter as substitutes may mean that the toffee doesn't set)
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 teaspoons malt vinegar
lolly sticks/wooden skewers
- Wash and dry the apples and insert a skewer into each apple. Pop them in the fridge to stay cool.
- Put all of the other ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves. Then boil rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Continue to boil the mixture until 'hard ball' stage is reached. This is 130 degrees if you have a sugar thermometer. If you don't have one you can tell when the mixture is at hard ball stage, not when it starts to answer you back and refuse to give way in negotiations (ha ha) but when it hardens on contact with ice cold water.
- Once the hard ball stage is reached, remove the pan from the heat and dunk/swirl your apples until they are coated.
- Put the toffee wrapped apples on a sheet of greaseproof paper until the toffee hardens.