To make these Maple Candied Apples, you’ll heat maple syrup and sugar together with soft apple cider until the deep and resonant aroma of toffee develops. Then dip the apples into the hot sugar. As it cools, you’ll have all the rich flavor of maple and apple blended together – no dyes, no flavorings, and nothing artificial.
What’s in it?
Traditional candied apples are made with refined sugar and food dye, but this version uses a blend of maple sugar and dark maple syrup. As a result, the apples have a deeper flavor with a pleasant toffee-like aroma. Tart apples work well in this recipe to bring balance to maple’s sweetness.
Tips for Making Candied Apples
Like any candy making, making candied apples can be a little tricky and it involves precise temperatures. This is complicated further by using minimally processed sweeteners like maple sugar and maple syrup. So, before diving into the recipe, keep these tips in mind.
- Prepare your pan to prevent a mess. After candying, the apples will need to sit a minute or two. So line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then rub the parchment paper with butter or coconut oil to make it extra slick.
- Use a candy thermometer. Temperature is critical to this recipe, with very little room for error. A candy thermometer helps you to effectively monitor that temperature.
- Mind your temperature. For most candied apple recipes, you’ll want to cook the sugar to the hard crack stage – about 300 F. Maple-based sweeteners will burn before they reach that stage, so heat the candy coating to the hard-ball stage – about 255 F instead.
- Look for local (unwaxed) apples. Most grocery store apples have been waxed to improve longevity and increase visual appeal. Wax will prevent the candy coating from adhering to the apples, so buy unwaxed apples instead. You can find them at farmstands and farmer’s markets.
- Clean up with boiling water. Your candy will harden in the pan after you turn off the heat. You can clean it quickly by pour boiling water into the pan which will liquefy and dilute the sugar.
- Eat them quickly. While candied apples made with white sugar and corn syrup last for ages, maple-candied apples only last about a day.
Maple Candied Apples Recipe
- Wash and dry the apples. Remove the stems of the apples, and then insert a dowel or stick into the stem end. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper, and rub it well with olive or coconut oil.
- Whisk the maple sugar, maple syrup and cider together in a heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, and continue boiling it until it reaches 255 to 260 F, or the hard ball candy stage. The maple sugar and syrup will smell of rich toffee when the temperature is right.
- Turn off the heat, and tilt the pan so that the maple candy coating pools on one side of the pan at an angle. Working with one apple at a time, carefully dip the apples into the maple candy, swirling to entirely coat them and allowing any excess to drip into the pan. Transfer the apples to the prepared cookie sheet, and let them to cool completely until the candy has hardened, about 5 minutes.
Swap pears for apples. Pears are in the same botanical family as apples, and they also work well in this recipe. Use pears that are just beginning to ripen so that they stand up well to candying.
Swirl the apples in nuts and seeds. For added crunch, you can sprinkle or dredge the apples into nuts and seeds right after you candy them. Make sure to do it when the candy is still hot and before the coating sets.
If you like this maple-candied apple recipe and want to give other apple recipes a try, check out this super simple recipe for sautéed apples.