Poison Toffee Apples for Halloween

These black Poison toffee apples are the ultimate wickedly sinister Halloween treat and will make an excellent centerpiece.

Poison toffee apple

As a child, eating a toffee apple was the ultimate delight. I never felt guilty because well, it’s an apple! Yes, it has tons of sugar around it but who cares? It’s fruit! I would always crack the candy coating on the table because it was just too hard to bite through and I loved how it always made me feel so jolly when I ate it. And I now see that same joy on my kidlets’ faces when they eat them.

Poison toffee apples

Making them is equally fun. Even more fun when they candy coating is a glossy, sinister black. They remind me of something Maleficent would serve. Just perfect for Halloween. I have made a whole batch and have wrapped them in cellophane, ready to give to the trick-or-treaters who have become a fun addition in the last few years. As South Africans, Halloween is not a holiday we normally celebrate but I just love the dressing up and the festivity of it all. These apples make a beautiful center piece and will add the appropriate amount of wickedness to your party.

Poison toffee apples

5.0 from 1 reviews
Poison Toffee Apples for Halloween
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These black Poison toffee apples are the ultimate wickedly sinister Halloween treat and will make an excellent centerpiece.
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets, Candy, Halloween
Serves: 6-12 apples
Ingredients
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cups water
  • ½ cup liquid glucose/light corn syrup
  • few drops black gel food colouring
  • 6 Granny Smith apples (or 12 small apples) (Ensure your apples are fresh and haven't been waxed)
Instructions
  1. Grease a piece of baking paper and place on a tray/baking sheet.
  2. Insert bamboo skewers in all the apples and set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, combine the sugar, water, glucose/corn syrup and food colouring and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture feels smooth when you rub it between your fingers.
  4. When the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and wash the sides of the pot down with a pastry brush dipped into clean water to prevent crystals from forming.
  5. Allow the caramel to boil until it reaches the hard crack stage (150°c/310°F).
  6. Carefully dip the apples into the hot candy mixture and place on the baking paper to set and cool for approximately an hour before serving.
 

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Showing 183 comments
  • VALERIE
    Reply

    Can you add any flavoring?

  • Eden Passante
    Reply

    Beautiful and so perfect for Halloween! Love them!

  • Myhriah Young
    Reply

    Hi, Do you know if it would be possible to make this recipe (the candy) ahead of time, and re-warm it up in a crock pot the day it is needed? I want to do it for a party…

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      I wouldn’t suggest doing that but then again, I’ve never tried that before. Perhaps make them ahead and then wrap individually in cellophane?

  • Kristine
    Reply

    The color black made them really awesome. I can’t wait to try….

  • Alesha
    Reply

    Hi Alida – I wanted to make these for work but I’m concerned about the hard candy shell. Have you ever tried slicing the apples before the shell fully hardens? Or can you slice them with an regular apple slicer once they’ve “dried”?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      I’ve never tried slicing them because they look so beautiful whole. You could slice them but the candy layer will probably just crack off if you do. Perhaps cut them before dipping them? I’ve never tried this so not sure it will work but you could give it a try?

  • Saskia
    Reply

    Mine were nice and shiny, no bubbles, perfect consistency but turned out chocolate/dark brown… I did use black gel colouring. where did I go wrong?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      It might be the brand of colouring you used. Often they use different base colours which can make the finished look appear brown/green/red.

  • Nanny Brown
    Reply

    I have made these candy apples 3 times and each time they were yummy, just a question I found the candy to be a little thing so when dip the apple in it you could still see the apple, how do I make it a little thicker, also I placed sugar on a cookie sheet and placed the apple on that so you had a bit of a sugar coat on the top. thank you for the great receipt.

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      If you’d like it a little thicker, boil the caramel for a little longer. The thicker the caramel, the thicker it will look on the apple. 🙂

  • Linda
    Reply

    Are there any alternatives to glucose or light corn syrup? I can’t get them on short notice here in Germany ;(

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Linda, the glucose/light corn syrup add a real gloss to these apples but you can subsitute a cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water for each cup of light corn syrup.

      • Linda
        Reply

        So, they won’t be as glossy when I use the sugar/water-mixture?

        • Alida Ryder
          Reply

          I’m not sure, unfortunately as I’ve never made them without the corn syrup. They will still probably be quite glossy but I just feel I should warn you just in case they’re not. 😉

          • Linda

            Hmm OK…I will let you know how they turned out 🙂

          • Linda

            So, destiny apparently wanted me to have glucose. I found a fantastic baking accessories shop around the corner of my workplace and they had it! Plus a million other things I want to buy right now! 😀

          • tee

            Does it matter if its dark corn syrup?

          • Alida Ryder

            Not at all, since you’re going to be adding black food colouring you won’t notice the difference at all.

          • Alida Ryder

            I’m so glad! Now they’re going to be perfect.

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    Lynz, I would suggest eating them the day they are made. Alternatively you can wrap the cooled candy apples in celophane and keep them for a day or two at room temperature?

    If you drop a bit of the caramel in ice water it needs to form a hard ball immediately, that is hard crack stage.

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    Kelsie, it could be that your apples have been waxed by the retailer you bought them from which will then melt off resulting in your candy layer slipping off. Either that or your caramel hasn’t cooked for long enough.

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    Julia, that means your caramel hasn’t cooked for long enough. It needs to be really quite thick so it sticks onto the apples. Also, make sure your apples haven’t been waxed by the retailer you have bought them from as this could also cause the candy layer to slip off.

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    Those look great Emma! Again, please don’t use wax paper as that will melt and stick to the apple. Rather use baking paper or parchment.

    • Emma Lyell
      Reply

      Thanks Alida, i didn’t use wax paper but noted that others had been and was suggesting they try a silicone baking mat.

      • Alida Ryder
        Reply

        Oh, silly me! The silicone baking mats are fantastic!

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    Katy, the caramel should be quite thick. I would say approximately 10-15 minutes?

  • Katy
    Reply

    I started this before realizing I needed a candy thermometer, alas mine is broken, about how long after sugar starts boiling should I start dipping in the apples?

  • Emma Lyell
    Reply

    Followed the recipe but used food coloring, couldn’t get hold of the gel. Still after 2 rounds was able to get the gloss effect and very happy witht the results. For those having problems with the toffee sticking to the wax paper, you might want to try using a non-stick silicone baking mat. I have put a link below to my picture on Pinterest – Check it out.
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/290834088410574979/

  • Juliap
    Reply

    My candy is sliding right off the apple! Help!!!

  • kelsie
    Reply

    My mixture isn’t sticking to my apples…it just runs right off when i pull it out? helppp

  • Jessica
    Reply

    Hi! I made a batch of these last night and had two issues – first, some of the toffee bubbled once I dipped the apples, do I just need to remove the toffee from the high heat before dipping? Other issue was that the wax paper stuck to the toffee when I removed them…I used Crisco on wax paper. Is there a better way? Do I have to remove them sooner (like right after the hour of cooling)? Thanks!

    • Lady
      Reply

      Yes you’re going to want to take them off the heat first then dip. Also yeah as soon as the caramel is set enough i would peel if off the parchment, regrease the pan and put them back down. 😀

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Yes, remove the caramel from the heat before dipping in the apples.

      And it’s important that you use BAKING paper or parchment and not wax paper. Wax paper is not heat-resistant and the waxy layer will melt.

  • Lynz
    Reply

    How long in advance can you make these? And what is the best way to store them? Also….without a thermometer, how best can I determine when it gets to the ” hard crack stage”?

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    You could definitely add dark blue if you wanted. I actually don’t even know what the brand is that I use, it’s just the colouring my local baking shop sells.

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    The problem with liquid is that it can often dilute the candy layer to get to the same opaque colour and then it won’t set hard. But perhaps give it a try and see?

  • Josephine Del Papa
    Reply

    These are so spooky and creative! I LOVE them.

  • Jacqueline Baker
    Reply

    I am using them as treats at my zombie wedding ceremony this saturday!! They are perfect for the theme and ill be sticking neon colored gummy worms on them right after dipping

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      What an awesome idea. I hope you’re wedding day is amazing!

  • Ursula
    Reply

    Im going to make these for my work party, but dont have any gel food coloring all I have is liquid. How will it different? Has anyone used liquid food coloring?

  • Juli
    Reply

    I followed the directions to the detail and had no issues. My black sugar came out more translucent… I added 4 healthy drops of black gel food color. I really wanted that glossy black look. Help?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Juli, the only way to get it more black is to add more colouring. Some gel colours are less opaque than others so you’ll have to add until your happy with the end result.

      • Juli
        Reply

        Ok so I made a second batch. I alway dbl the batches because I get so irritated when I don’t have enough. This time I put the water in the saucepan first and just used a ton of color (almost half of the tube). I stirred the color with the water to make sure it was blended well. Then the other ingredients were added. I cooked it to 310 and then let it sit for about a minute off the heat. The first time I just started dipping the apples and then I had bubbles forming in the coating. This time I actually stepped back and waited for the bubbles to dissipate. Absolute success!!!! The color was much better and the coating was silky smooth. It’s still not as dark as I want tho. I’m looking for that midnight black color in the pic. Would you suggest maybe a hit of dark blue with the black? What brand of black gel are you using? Thanks for everything.

  • Michelle
    Reply

    These are beautiful. Is there a way to tell when the candy gets to the hard crack stage without a candy thermometer?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      When you drop a bit of the caramel into ice water it should form a hard little ball that cracks when you bite into it/hit it with a spoon.

  • laura_specht
    Reply

    I always have trouble with my apples sticking to the paper, whats the best way to get that to not happen?

  • kat814
    Reply

    I just tried this and it’s all watery and not sticking to the apple, is there something I’m doing wrong?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Kat, it might be that you didn’t cook it for long enough. Before you coat the apples the caramel/candy needs to be quite thick and sticky. Did you cook it until the hard crack stage? Also, if you used liquid food colouring instead of the gel mentioned in the recipe it could also have an effect on the finished result.

  • MadGastronomer
    Reply

    Pros regularly stick their fingers in boiling syrup. We just hold our hands in ice water until they ache first, then dip them in the syrup very quickly. No burns! It’s a pretty standard way to test the stage the syrup is at if you don’t have a thermometer, and was standard before reliable thermometers were common.

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Thanks for the tip, I would still not suggest people who aren’t completely comfortable working with hot sugar do this.

      • MadGastronomer
        Reply

        It’s definitely something to be very very careful with, and I was terrified the first several times I did it. I never would have without a chef standing over me instructing me on how to do it safely, back in culinary school.

  • Amanda
    Reply

    Will you get the same shiny effect with regular black food coloring vs. gel food coloring?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Yep, it’s the sugar that gives the shine. Gel food colouring is just a lot more pigmented so you don’t need to use as much.

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    Thanks for your comment. I’ve never made them with less corn syrup so I can’t verify if this will work but if anyone would like to give it a try, they’re welcome to!

  • Meg
    Reply

    How long do these keep for? I am having a party and I want to do these cause they are wickedly cool, but I want to do it the day before the party. Will they stay fresh in the fridge?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Meg, I would wrap them in cellophane and just keep them on your kitchen counter. Putting them in the fridge will cause the candy layer to start sweating and it might start pulling away from the apples. Because the candy layer preserves the apple in a way, they will be fine on your kitchen counter but be sure to cover them as they can draw moisture from the air and become tacky.

  • nikki
    Reply

    Is there a way to make it so it doesn’t break a tooth when biting into it? These look so cool, but I do not want my family biting into them thinking its like caramel and its a hard rock. so is there a way to make sure it doesn’t get rock hard?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Nikki, these are candy apples so the outside is meant to be really hard. If it doesn’t harden it will just be like syrup and won’t cling to the apple. I would just tell your family to be careful but really, we’ve eaten these many times and never have we broken a tooth while doing so.

      • nikki
        Reply

        ok thank you. My family has really sensitive teeth and really fragile teeth (I do not have kids but my mother and my stepfather are who I am talking about and myself) thank you for your response. 🙂

    • TeeTee
      Reply

      Decrease the amount of corn syrup and they won’t be so hard to bite into. I make them frequently and 1/8 to 1/4 cup of syrup is perfect. 1/2 cup makes them way too hard.

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    *snort*

  • CT
    Reply

    Because the hard crack stage requires intervention…

  • Christa
    Reply

    You said to cook to 310 – hard crack? Isn’t that like peanut brittle? Don’t you want it to be creamier – like caramel?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Yep, that’s correct. These are candy apples so the coating needs to be hard like candy.

      • Carla
        Reply

        I want to make these and use them for a center piece… What I’d like to know is…. Can you also use the candy ingredients to make like rock candy and pour it out on a cookie sheet lined with spayed paper. Then break apart after it hardens? I like to do some black, deep blood red and some mixed to throw around the outer edges of the apples.

        • Alida Ryder
          Reply

          Carla, that is a fabulous idea and yes, it will definitely work. It will go rock hard like a proper candy. Please tweet/Instagram a photo and tag me in it when you have done this. I’d love to see it. Twitter: @SimplyDelishSA Instagram: @alidaryder

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    Mandy, I actually can’t remember but I don’t think they did. It all depends on the type of colouring you use. The gel colouring I use don’t often cause stains unless you get it on your skin in its pure form.

  • Mandy
    Reply

    Do these turn your mouth black when you eat them? They look great.

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    You’re right, they would!

  • Brandy
    Reply

    I’m thinking these would look pretty placed in Halloween cupcake liners!

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    This instruction is before the sugar has started boiling and while the syrup is just warm but definitely not hot. You are completely right, you should NOT try to touch the syrup once it’s hot.

  • Phe
    Reply

    Correct me if I am wrong…. but did I just read that you put in the recipe “and the mixture feels smooth when you rub it between your fingers” . In my experience that equals 3rd degree burns…. hot sugar and all that.

  • Bridget Elam
    Reply

    nice could do blood red with cinnamon flavor as well 😛

  • hythrain
    Reply

    I now know what I’ll be making for my first attempt at a confectionery treat.

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Let me know what you think once you’ve tried it!

  • anna @ annamayeveryday
    Reply

    Those look just amazing, what a brilliant idea! Superb photographs too.

  • My
    Reply

    They look beautiful and sinister at the same time – what a great recipe! Thank you!! 🙂

  • Amanda Percy
    Reply

    so cool 🙂

  • tami
    Reply

    Totally wicked! Love it 🙂 xx

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