Friday, October 28, 2011

Toffee Apples – For Time-Travelling Taste Buds

Pin It When I was but a youngster, my aunt used to take me into Dublin city centre on Saturdays. We’d trawl the shops for a while then wander past the stalls in Henry Street and into Moore Street in search of bangles to add to my already extensive collection. A girl can never have too much jewellery. I loved the buzz of these streets, so packed, so noisy, so very much Dublin.

A little taste of yesteryear

One of my favourite times of the year was around Halloween when the street sellers hawked plastic masks, sparklers and bangers, monkey nuts and cellophone-wrapped apples. I only fell for the chocolate apples once – they seduced me with their multi-coloured sprinkles but the “chocolate” was cheap fatty cake covering. Yuk!

The toffee apples – on the other hand – never failed to delight. Oh the anticipation of cracking the toffee shell with my teeth and sinking into the soft sweet apple beneath. Fruit never tasted so good. (nostalgic sigh!)
The Moore Street I knew, no longer exists, but just one bite of these apples is enough to send my taste buds travelling back to that part of Dublin’s past. Trick or treat? Definitely a treat!

For 6 old-fashioned Moore Street Toffee Apples you will need...

225g caster sugar
110 mls water
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon white malt vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
25g butter
6 small sweet apples – I use Gala
6 popsicle sticks

A sugar thermometer is handy but not essential

1                  Prepare a tray by covering it with non-stick baking parchment or silicon paper.
2                  Place the sugar and water together in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, add the golden syrup, vinegar, butter and vanilla extract and continue to heat without stirring until the caramel is golden and smells like caramel -  and sugar thermometer has reached the ‘hard crack’ stage. This is between 149°C-154°C (300°F-310°F). If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, drop a little of the hot syrup into cold water. Leave for a minute until it cools enough to handle. It should form hard brittle threads that snap when bent. If not, continue cooking the syrup for a further minute and test again.
3                 When the syrup is ready, pierce each apple with a popsicle stick, inserting it about halfway into the apple to provide a firm grip. Working quickly, dip each apple into the hot toffee syrup, tilting the saucepan carefully so that each apple is completely coated. Remove from the hot toffee and allow any drips to fall back into the saucepan.
4                 Place each apple on the prepared tray, stick pointing upwards, to cool completely.

The apples are best eaten on the day you make them.

Quickly dip the toffee coated apples into your choice of chopped nuts, or sprinkles while still hot before placing on the tray to cool. Pin It