Homemade Toffee Apples make the perfect snack for Halloween or Bonfire Night. Crunchy apples encased in a decadent layer of toffee and dipped in a choice of chopped hazelnuts or crushed pretzels. These are so good that they aren’t only for the kids.
Toffee Apples are a treat lodged in most of our memories eating them as a kid wrapped warm with our mitts on and crunching into them whilst kicking Autumnal leaves. You can now make this delectable treat at home and customise them to suit your taste!
But what exactly are they. They are a whole apples dipped into toffee until fully coated with a golden hard shell. The shell coating has to be bitten to crunch your way through to the apple inside.Typically eaten over Halloween, Guy Fawkes night or Bon Fire Night, they are every child's dream!
If you love smaller snacks to share with family and friends, then you’ll love this Apple Cider Chocolate Toffee, Chocolate Chip Scones and Triple Chocolate Madeleines. There’s something really special about being able to fill a cellophane bag with some of these snacks and gift them during the holiday season.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Classic halloween/bonfire night treat. Re-live your childhood or creating lasting memories for your own children and friends with this classic toffee apple recipe.
- Only a handful of ingredients needed. The ingredients list is super short and you’ll most likely have what you need already!
- Made in less than 45 minutes. These can be made from start to finish in 45 minutes, but you definitely don’t want to rush the process.
As you can see, the ingredients list is very short for these Toffee Apples and you probably have everything on hand already.
- Apples - You can use whatever apple you like. If you like the crisp tartness of a Granny Smith Apple, then go for that. I love the sweet yet tart notes of a Braeburn Apple alongside the toffee.
- Sugar - White or golden sugar works well. I prefer to use caster (super-fine) sugar and it dissolves wicker, but if granulated is all you have, then use that.
- Water - Allows the sugar to dissolve and evaporates before the sugar turns to toffee.
- Golden Syrup - Provides added flavour to the toffee but also helps prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
- White vinegar - The acid element also helps prevent crystallisation from happening. Alternatively, use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
- Pretzels and Hazelnuts - These two ingredients are an optional extra. But I adore the toasty notes of crushed pretzels or the nutty crunch of chopped hazelnuts with the toffee and apples. Make sure the hazelnuts are finely chopped and pretzels crushed and in a bowl before you start making the toffee.
Tools you’ll need
The most important part of making this recipe is the need to be organised. Toffee can be incredibly dangerous due to its high temperature. It’s not something that you can leave by itself whilst getting out other equipment or utensils. Be prepared and set everything out that you’ll need.
- Popsicle sticks or thick skewers: Allows you to dip the apples into the toffee without the risk of burning yourself.
- Large bowl and tongs - Before making the toffee the apples wax coating needs to be removed. The bowl and tongs allow us to do this in a safe manner.
- High sided saucepan: To make the toffee in.
- Pastry brush: to brush away any sugar crystals from forming around the edge of the pan.
- Candy Thermometer: The most accurate way to know when the sugar is at hard-crack stage is with a candy thermometer. Notes below if you don’t have one.
- Baking tray: Line a baking tray with paper and have it on hand so that you can place the dipped apples immediately on the paper to harden.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Homemade Toffee Apples only require a couple of steps to make them, but because of the high temperature that toffee gets to, I recommend lining all your ducks in a row before starting. By that I mean get organised and prep your ingredients. We call this mise-en-place. Weighing out the ingredients and getting all the things you’ll need ready.
Prepare the apples
1. De-wax the apples. The wax coating on the skin of the apples will prevent the toffee from holding onto the skin and creating that coverage that we all love. So we have to remove it.
Into a large bowl, add boiling water. 4 at a time, dunk the apples in for a couple of seconds. Remove with tongs and dry thoroughly by rubbing the skin with a tea towel. (Image 1 & 2)
2. Push popsicle sticks into the apples. I read a lot of recipes that say to remove the stem of the apple first, but I don’t see this as necessary - so only remove it if you want to. Push the popsicle sticks into the apple. (Image 3)
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the apples on top and set the apples near to your stovetop. (Image 4)
Make the toffee
1. Dissolve sugar into the water. In a medium saucepan, over medium to low heat, add the water and sugar. We want the sugar to dissolve nice and slowly before it starts to boil, to prevent any crystallisation from happening. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. (Image 5) If any sugar crystals form on the edge of the sugar syrup, use a wet pastry brush to brush them and help dissolve them.
TIP: Grease-free saucepan
Ensure the saucepan is totally grease-free as even the tiniest amount can make the sugar crystallize.
2. Add golden syrup and vinegar. Add the golden syrup and vinegar, give the sugar mixture a quick stir with a spoon to combine it and then don’t stir anymore, only swirl the pan as needed. (Image 6)
Add the candy thermometer to the saucepan, increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil until the temperature reads 150°C (302°F) on a sugar thermometer which is the ‘hard crack’ stage. (Image 7 & 8) This is the correct temperature for the sugar syrup to set around the fruit and crack when bitten into. The mixture will turn lovely and golden.
TIP: If you don’t have a candy thermometer.
Test that the sugar is at the right temperature by dropping a small amount of sugar syrup into a bowl of ice-cold water, and if it forms into hard, brittle threads, then it's ready. If not, then return to the stove and heat further.
3. Coat the apples in toffee. Now the fun bit! Remove the pan from the heat and wait for the bubbles to calm down. This will ensure a smooth glass-like surface. If the toffee is still bubbling, you’ll see lots of tiny bubbles all over the apples.
Tilt the saucepan to form a deep well of toffee and work quickly and carefully, using the popsicle stick to hold the apple, dip the apple in the toffee and rotate it to coat. Lift the apple out of the toffee and let it drip for ten or so seconds. (Image 9 & 10)
Option: Place the dipped apple directly onto the baking tray or dip the toffee apple into the bowl of chopped nuts or crushed pretzels and then place it on the tray. The toffee sets super quickly so don’t hang around if you want to coat them!
When you get to dipping the fourth piece of fruit I noticed the toffee thickening and not coating so well. At this point place the pan back onto a low heat on your stove and heat it again to the correct temp, you will see it liquefy before your eyes are ready to dip again.
And that’s it! After a couple of minutes of leaving them for the toffee to set, they are good to eat!
TIP: Clean your saucepan
Looking into a pan of solid toffee can be a little intimidating. You may think that you’ve ruined your pan forever!! Luckily, this isn’t the case. Simply fill the saucepan with hot water and let it soak. Place any utensils, including the candy thermometer into the hot water also. The hot water will gradually dissolve the toffee until you can wash the items as normal.
Customise your Toffee Apples
Here’s the thing about these... you can totally dip these Homemade Toffee Apples into whatever you want. Alongside the chopped hazelnuts and crushed pretzels, here are other things you might prefer to dip them into.
- Mini marshmallows
- Melted chocolate
- Crushed Graham Crackers or Digestives
- Crushed oreo cookies
- Chopped pecans with a sprinkle of flaked sea salt.
You know what I mean- you can put WHATEVER you fancy on these babies! Or leave it with just the toffee. Totally fine too.
I re-photographed this recipe to create the process images but in the previous shoot, I included pears. They work brilliantly dipped into the toffee. It was quite a revelation when I first tried it! My favourite combination has to be the toffee dipped pears with chopped hazelnuts. I mean those three flavours together are seriously epic!! Check out my photos with the pears below.
Decorating your Toffee Pears
When I published the original post, I had lots of questions over on Instagram as to how I decorated the apples and pears with sticks and paper leaves. To replicate it, pull out the lollipop sticks. Cut small strips of parchment paper, place a couple over the hole, and then push the stick into the lollipop stick's original hole. Cut the ends of the parchment paper into a leaf shape and crinkle the paper slightly. And that's it!! They look pretty as a picture!
- Grease-free saucepan. Minimise the risk of sugar crystallising by having a grease-free pan. Pipe with vinegar and then rinse with water to remove any residual grease.
- Heat the sugar slowly. Whilst the water is heating up and the sugar is dissolving, don’t let it bubble.
- Don’t have a candy thermometer? Don’t worry! Simply drop a half spoonful of toffee into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly. If it doesn’t and the toffee is malleable, then the sugar needs more heating.
- Wait for the bubbling to stop before dipping the toffee apples- the only way to ensure that smooth glass like finish.
- Easily clean the dried on toffee. It’s much simpler than you can imagine. Simply soak in hot water. That’s it!
Frequently asked questions
Even though toffee and caramel are a type of candy, they have a very different consistency, and taste. In terms of ingredients, caramel is made from sugar but also butter and cream. When dipped, the caramel hardens around the apple but when bitten into has a soft chewy texture. The flavour has sweet, well rounded buttery undertones.
Toffee on the other hand is predominantly made with sugar which results in a hard exterior around the apple.
That's simply down to adding red food colouring into the toffee. Once the toffee has come to hard crack stage then add a couple of drops into the toffee, give it a swirl to mix in, then remove the pan off the heat to let the bubbles subside. Dip the apples as per the instructions and you'll have yourself red toffee apples.
For a Halloween twist, add black food colouring to the toffee for a ghoulish feel! Spooky! Check out the Halloween Toffee Apples on My Goodness Kitchen for her fabulous rendition!
In the States, they're called Candy Apples and are dipped in a red toffee and chopped peanuts and wrapped individually in cellophane.
How to store and freeze
To store: Homemade Toffee Apples are best eaten on the same day, for that perfect signature crack, ideally as soon as possible after making.
If you do need to store them, then wrap them in parchment paper or cellophane tightly and store them at room temperature (never the refrigerator) for a day. But note the toffee coating will soften as the moisture of the apples starts to soften the toffee.
To freeze. I do not recommend freezing Toffee Apples.
More Autumn inspired recipes that you may like
If you tried this Homemade Toffee Apples Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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This post was originally published in October 2019 but has been updated with new photos, new content and an updated recipe.
Homemade Toffee Apples Recipe
- 8 apples
- 60 ml water
- 400 g caster sugar
- 80 g golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 25 g pretzels (optional), crushed
- 75 g toasted hazelnuts (optional), finely chopped
Prepare your tools and weigh out ingredients
Prepare the apples
- De-wax the apples. Pour boiling water into a medium bowl. Dunk the apples, a couple at a time, removing them within a couple of seconds of being dunked in the water. Dry the fruit thoroughly with a tea towel by rubbing the skin. This will remove the wax coating from the fruit's skin and allow the toffee to stick to the skin and coat evenly.
- Push popsicle sticks into the apples. Remove the stem of the apple if you prefer (I generally don't bother). Push a popsicle stick down into the centre of the apple core on each of the apples. Tap into place if need be with a rolling pin.Line a baking tray with parchment and place apples onto the baking tray. Place tray near to the stovetop.
Make the toffee
- Dissolve sugar into the water. In a medium heavy-based saucepan, add water and the sugar and heat gently on low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. If sugar crystals form around the edge, use a wet pastry brush to wipe down the side and dissolve the sugar.
- Add golden syrup and vinegar. Add the golden syrup and vinegar and give it a quick stir to combine. Then remove the spoon and swirl the pan from now on until the sugar is at a simmer.Add the candy thermometer, increase the heat to medium and bring to a rolling boil until the temperature on the thermometer reads 150°C (302°F) hard crack stage. This can take approximately ten minutes - but don't leave the pan unattended as the temperature can jump quickly. During this process, the colour will have turned a deep amber.
- Coat the apples in toffee. Once at temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat and wait for the bubbles to subside. Then tilt the saucepan to create a pool of toffee, and with the other hand holding the popsicle stick, dunk the apple rotating it in the pan until fully coated. Lift the apple out of the toffee and let the excess drip off for ten seconds, and then immediately dip into the chopped hazelnuts or pretzels and place on the baking sheet upright to harden. It will take only a couple of minutes to set. Repeat until all the apples are coated in toffee. Note: if the toffee feels like it is stiffening, place it back onto a low heat to melt it back down, taking care not to burn it.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.