I did squeal at one point when AB talked about pink lady apples. I had recently made a trip to a you pick apple orchard and got some pink ladies fresh from the tree. Those may be my favorite apple. Although, I prefer caramel apples to candied.
If you are brave, go forth and create some dangerously delicious treats from the mastermind.
* 6 small apples, at room temperature, Pink Lady, Gala, or McIntosh
* 14 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 2 cups
* 15 ounces light corn syrup, approximately 1 1/3 cups
* 2/3 cup water
* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil
* 15 to 20 drops red liquid food coloring
* Special Equipment: 6 chopsticks
Put 3 inches of water in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Insert the narrow end of a chopstick into the bottom blossom end of each apple. Dip the apples, 1 at a time, into the boiling water for 20 seconds to remove the wax coating. Wipe dry with a paper towel. Transfer apples to a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium heat. Cover and bring it to a boil, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and clip on a candy thermometer. Continue cooking the syrup until it reaches 300 degrees F, approximately 15 minutes. When the syrup reaches temperature, take the pot off the heat and remove the thermometer. Add the cayenne, cinnamon oil and food coloring, stirring thoroughly to combine. Cool until the bubbles calm and begin to subside, about 3 minutes.
Dip each apple in the warm syrup, turning slowly to coat. Continue to turn, allowing the excess to drip back into the pot. Cool the apples completely on the prepared half sheet pan. Wrap individually in waxed paper and plastic wrap or store for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.
Candy Corn Popcorn Balls
* 4 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
* 1/2-ounce nonfat dry milk, approximately 6 1/2 teaspoons
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1/2 cup
* 3 3/4 ounces light corn syrup, approximately 1/3 cup
* 2 1/2 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 to 3 drops yellow and orange gel paste food coloring
Combine the powdered sugar, dry milk and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Set aside.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a 2-quart pot. Put over medium heat, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the butter, clip on a candy thermometer, and bring the mixture to 230 degrees F, about 1 to 2 minutes. When the sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees F, take the pot off the heat and remove the thermometer. Add the vanilla and the dry mixture, stirring continuously with a silicone spatula until well combined. Pour onto a half sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat. Cool until the mixture is cool enough to handle, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Add 2 drops of yellow food coloring to 1 piece and knead the dough until the color is consistent throughout. Add 2 drops of orange to the second piece, and knead until the color is consistent throughout. Leave the third piece white. Roll each piece of dough into a strand, about 18-inches long. Cut each strand in half.
Roll 1 of the white pieces into a strand that is about 1/2-inch thick and about 22-inches long. Repeat with a yellow piece and orange piece. Lay the strands side by side and press them together using your fingers. Cut the strand into 4-inch pieces. Lay the strands, 1 at a time, onto the silicone mat and press into a wedge shape, like a triangle. Use a wire butter slicer to cut the candies into pieces. If you don't have a wire butter slicer, use a knife, metal bench scraper or pizza cutter to slice the dough into small pieces. Repeat the procedure with remaining dough. Lay the finished pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to dry for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between each layer.
* 1 recipe Perfect Popcorn, butter omitted, recipe follows
* 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
* 7 1/2 ounces light corn syrup, approximately 2/3 cup
* 7 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 cup
* 4 1/4 ounces molasses, approximately 1/3 cup
* 1/3 cup water
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Unsalted butter, for shaping
Combine the popcorn and cocoa nibs in a very large mixing bowl. Make sure to remove any unpopped kernels.
Combine the corn syrup, sugar, molasses, water, salt, and vanilla in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan and put it over medium heat. Cover and bring to boil, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid and clip on a candy thermometer. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F. Take the pan off the heat, remove the candy thermometer and immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn. Stir to coat the popcorn evenly. Cool until the mixture can be handled safely, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Using a large ice cream disher, scoop the popcorn mixture into 3-inch rounds onto a parchment lined half sheet pan, smoothing with buttered hands as needed. Cool completely. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or put them in an airtight container. Store for up to 2 days.
Put the oil, popcorn and salt in a large, 6-quart, metal mixing bowl. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke 10 slits in the top with a knife. Put the bowl over medium heat and shake constantly using tongs to hold the bowl. Continue shaking until the popcorn finishes popping, approximately 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and carefully remove the foil. Stir in any salt that is on the side of the bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave. Slowly drizzle over the popcorn, while spinning the bowl. Serve immediately.