A couple of weeks ago the kids asked me what treats l used to eat as a child?? It brought back many a memories of grocery shopping with my Mum on a Thursday night and choosing either a Chocolate Freddo or a Toffee Apple as a special treat! Of course l always chose the Toffee Apple as it lasted longer and so l shared this little story with my children who looked at me rather bewildered and said "Mum, What is a Toffee Apple??" Oh my, what had the modern world come to where children no longer knew what a toffee apple was?? I was flabergasted that l had never shared these special treats from my childhood and so the search was on to try and buy the kids a toffee apple and to my dismay l could not find a local shop that sold them!! So what did l do?? I decided to make them and it gave me an excuse to use the very snazzy new candy thermometer l bought a couple of weeks back to replace my glass one which broke when we did the kitchen renovation.
So l went and bought the loveliest large green apples and found some large square skewers and got my sugar, water, vinegar and colouring all ready to make my wonderous toffee apples! It all sounds rather simplistic and nostalgic doesn't it?? Well was l in for a suprise!! My first lot of toffee l made, well it burnt and l then had tears streaming down my face, not from failure but from the burnt sugar fumes that had engulfed my house!! The kids were rather disgusted by the smell and had to evacuate! l was in a fluster and had to dispose of the burnt toffee and not thinking straight and preoccupied with the fumes l poured the hot toffee down the sink! As soon as l did it the light bulb in my brain went on and l realised that was not quite one of my smartest moments!! Quickly as l heard the crackling of hot toffee down the pipes l put the hot water on full and let it run for what seamed like an eternity in the hope that l would not block the drain and it worked! But be warned never pour hot toffee down the sink! Put water into the pan and then let it dilute and pour down the sink!! Yes, Yes it all seems rather sensible to do this and if l hadn't been intoxicated by burnt sugar fumes l am certain l would not have acted so irrationally.
So l was disheartened by my first toffee attempt but decided to pick myself back off the floor and try, try again! This time l kept my heat lower and really watched the thermometer and adjusted the heat when it seemed to be getting to hot! Eventually it got to 150 degrees and l started to dip the apples into the toffee and it worked well for the first three but started to get harder to work with as l believe the mixture was cooling and this made it gluggy and harder to coat the apples. Also the large green apples were not such a good idea as it made it quite hard to dip so I only made 6 toffee apples and 3 were perfect! After all my mishaps l had achieved my goal to expose my children to the joy of the toffee apple! And also found another way to evacuate them from the house!! hahahaha!
Did they like it?? Yes, but it did take them all day to eat it! Byron liked them so much that he asked me to make them for his class as a special birthday treat! So the next week l armed myself with 30 small fuji apples, a can do attitude and the knowledge of how not to make toffee apples! I am proud to say that the toffee apples were all perfect and the kids from Byron's class were very excited as most of them had never tasted a toffee apple either!
I have included my recipe for toffee apples and hope you too will be inspired to bake something from your childhood! I know my mum used to make caramel toffees for fetes which l am going to try and hunt up!! I never appreciated them back then as all the other kids ate sticky toffee's and that is what their Mum's made but now l understand where my love for butterscotch stems from!! Can't wait to make them and share with you!
Toffee Apples - makes 30
30 small red apples - l used fuji's as they were is season
30 square skewers or paddle pop sticks
800g of white sugar
200mls of Water
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
2 tablespoons of liquid food colouring
1. Remove stems from apples and wash in warm water. Rub apples with a clean dry cloth to remove any wax on the apples.
2. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper and place apples on the baking sheets.
3. Insert skewer into the core of the apple and place trays near your cook top.
4. Place sugar and water into saucepan and stir on medium heat until sugar has dissolved which will take about 5-10 minutes.
5. Add Vinegar and Colouring and stir until combined.
6. Place candy thermometer into the pan and let it boil until it reaches hard crack stage 150 degrees Celsius. Make sure you keep an eye on the pan and adjust heat if getting too hot too quickly as this will mean burnt toffee.
7. Turn heat down to low and then dip apples into the toffee and slowly spin off excess toffee and place onto tray.
8. Keep an eye on the temp and if below 140 degrees put heat up again until it reached 150 and all apples have been coated.
9. Let cool overnight and then wrap in baking paper or cellophane and tie with twine or ribbon
Take Care and remember to Bake, Create & Celebrate!
Bye for now