How to make toffee apples and chocolate apples for Halloween and Bonfire Night

26 October 2020, 11:33

Here's how to make toffee apples for Halloween and Bonfire Night
Here's how to make toffee apples for Halloween and Bonfire Night. Picture: Getty
Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

Toffee apples are a traditional autumnal treat that are surprisingly easy and fun to make - and you can let your imagination run wild with toppings!

An apple on a stick, dipped in sticky toffee, or a crunchy sugar shell, what’s not to like?

Traditionally enjoyed on Bonfire Night or just before on Halloween, it’s the sweet treat that is as much fun to make as it is to eat.

It is believed that they were the invention of an American a confectioner called William W Kolb, who in 1908 was experimenting with a Christmas-themed red cinnamon potion when he dropped an apple in to the gloopy mix.

As late October is right in the middle of the apple harvest, there is never any shortage of apples to be adorned in a sweet shell - and as you’ll see from the recipes below, you can make similarly delicious chocolate apples just as easily.

These are a great project to make with the kids - although be extra careful with little ones around molten sugar - and the sky is the limit when it comes to toppings - try sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, or even more chocolate!

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Toffee apples

These toffee apples are a traditional autumn treat
These toffee apples are a traditional autumn treat. Picture: Pink Lady Apples


· 4 apples (Pink Lady® Apples are used in this recipe)

· 400g caster sugar

· 50g salted butter

· 3tbsp of golden syrup

· 1tbsp of cider vinegar

· 100ml of water

· 4 thick wooden sticks


Place the Pink Lady® apples into a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, as this will help the sugar syrup stick better. Remove the apples and dry with kitchen paper.

Remove the stalks of the apples and push the wooden sticks through the top to create the handle.

Measure out all of the ingredients and put them all (except the apples) into a medium heavy-based saucepan with deep sides, as you will need to tip to the saucepan to the side while dipping the apples into the sugar syrup.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper for when the apples are ready.

Heat the sugar mix on a medium low heat and let it bubble away for a good 10 minutes. The most accurate way to know when the sugar syrup is ready is to use a cooking thermometer; you want the sugar syrup to reach 143 -150°c.

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Or alternatively if you do not have a thermometer you can place a small amount of the mixture into a bowl of cold water and if it separates into threads that are hard but not brittle, then it is ready.

Once the sugar syrup has reached 143-150°c, turn off the heat and keep stirring to remove all the bubbles and to cool it down slightly.

If the sugar syrup is too hot then it will run off the apple so you need to wait until the mixture looks like syrup with no bubbles, which is around 120°c.

Carefully place your apple with the wooden stick into the sugar syrup and tilt the pan to get best coverage for your apple.

Keep rotating the apple in the mix to coat. Hold the apple above the pan and keep rotating until the sugar cools and holds its shape better.

When you think its holding well place the apple onto the lined tray to cool. Repeat the process with the remaining apples.

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Chocolate apples

These chocolate apples are a tasty twist on a toffee apple
These chocolate apples are a tasty twist on a toffee apple. Picture: Pink Lady Apples


· 100g chocolate, finely chopped (use milk, plain or white - or a mixture)

· 6 apples (Pink Lady® apples are used in this recipe)

· 6 long lolly sticks (available at kitchen shops, online & some supermarkets)


Add a few centimetres of water to a small saucepan and set on the hob over a medium heat and bring up to the boil.

Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl, using separate bowls for different colours of chocolate - a sturdy pyrex one is ideal.

Once the water in the pan is boiling, set the bowl on top ensuring the base doesn’t actually touch the water. Turn off the heat and allow the chocolate to melt gently, stirring as it does so. If the chocolate has been finely chopped this should only take a minute or so.

Pierce the centre of each apple, just next to the stalk, and insert a lolly stick in deep so that it feels firmly embedded. Line a baking sheet with a piece of greaseproof paper and spread the apples out on it.

Use a teaspoon to drizzle thin trails of chocolate around each apple, using the lolly stick to twirl the apple to get an evening coating all over. Set back on the tray and repeat with the other apples. Set aside somewhere cool to set.

You can also use white chocolate - and don't shy away from adding sprinkles!
You can also use white chocolate - and don't shy away from adding sprinkles! Picture: Pink Lady Apples

Cooks tips: Melting chocolate

Whilst melting dark and milk chocolate is pretty easy, and can be done in the microwave if you prefer, melting white chocolate is a little trickier. It is more prone to ‘seizing’, which is turning unpleasantly grainy and splitting slightly.

By chopping the chocolate into small lumps it will melt much quicker and not need any direct heat source. This will minimize the risk of overheating. White chocolate is not easy to melt in a microwave as you have little control over the direction of the heat source.