Whether served fresh at carnivals or packaged in the local grocery store, the candy apple has been a tasty treat that scores people, children and adult alike, have savored for many years. In fact, some research has suggested that the methods employed in the making of candy apples date back into ancient times where the practice of coating fruit in sugar syrup for preservative reasons was common.
Furthermore, food historians generally agree that the existence of what we currently call candy apples and caramel (toffee) apples probably date to the late 19th century, although this is difficult to prove in print. Both toffee and caramel are traced to the early decades of the 18th century. Inexpensive toffee/caramels became available by the end of the 19th century. Culinary evidence confirms a variety of recipes, from simple candy to creamy toffee/caramel coating.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives on quotations relating to toffee apples earlier than the beginning of the 20th century. However, the use of the term as a soldier's slang for a type of bomb used in World War I suggests that they were already well known, and probably have a longer history than the quotations allow.
In the phrase toffee apple the word toffee means simple boiled sugar, not the mixture of sugar and dairy produce which is what the word normally refers to. This may be another indication of an older origin. There is some similarity between toffee apples and the Chinese dessert items which consist of pieces of banana or apple fried in batter and then coated in caramelized syrup. Whether there is any historical connection is not clear.
In order to make candy apples, first, you need to remove stem from each apple. Wash and dry each apple. Insert wooden stir stick for holding in the center of stem end then set them aside. Now you are going to grease a baking sheet, then set this aside for later as well.
In 12-cup heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup; cook, stirring, over medium-low heat for 8 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, brushing down side of pan occasionally with brush dipped in hot water to prevent crystallization. Boil, brushing down side occasionally but not stirring, for 15 to 25 minutes or until at soft-crack stage of 290 degrees
Fahrenheit on candy thermometer, or until half a teaspoon of syrup dropped into cold water separates into hard but pliable threads. Then remove syrup from heat; very quickly stir in red food coloring. Immediately plunge bottom of pan into ice water and hold for about 15 seconds or until sizzling stops. Holding each apple by wooden stick and tilting saucepan, swirl each apple in candy syrup until well coated all over. Lift apple and quickly swirl over pan to allow excess to drip off. Place on prepared baking sheet; let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or until hardened. Now you have fresh delicious candy apples to enjoy.