Corn syrup gives candy apples that bright, glistening sheen and prevents the sugar syrup from crystallizing during the cooking process, but it is unhealthy since it breaks down into fat faster than other sugars and contains more fructose than granulated white sugar, making it sweeter. You do not need corn syrup, however, to make red candied apples as a fall treat. Omitting corn syrup is easy and does not change the flavor of the apples; using lemon juice in its place protects your sugar syrup. Modify the process by adding your own favorite spices, or roll the finished candied apples in rainbow sprinkles, coconut flakes, nuts or crushed cinnamon candies to create a unique treat.
Wash apples under cold water and dry them with a dish towel.
Insert skewers into the bottom of each apple, aiming up through the stem end on the bottom. Drive the skewers two-thirds of the way through the apple to ensure that the apple doesn't slip off from the skewer during the candying process.
Combine in a small pot 1-1/2 cups sugar with enough water to moisten it, up to 1/3 cup. The sugar should take on the consistency of wet sand. Squirt in the juice from one slice of lemon to keep the sugar from crystallizing (which is the purpose of corn syrup). Mix until the sugar becomes the consistency of sand. Add 1 tsp. red food coloring, six whole cloves and one cinnamon stick. Alternately, omit the sugar and combine 1-2/3 cups red hot cinnamon candies with 2 tbsp. water to give your red candied apples a spicy cinnamon flavor.
Place your pot on the stove and bring the ingredients to a boil. Cook them until your sugar solution measures 300 to 310 degrees F, the hard crack stage of sugar. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper while you wait for the sugar solution to come to 310 degrees F.
Turn off the stove and remove your pot from the heat when the syrup reaches 310 degrees F.
Tilt the pot sideways so the syrup pools on one side. Holding the pot with one hand, grab a skewered apple with the other. Dip the apple into the candy solution to coat it. Then place it on your prepared cookie sheet.
Coat all apples in this manner. Leave the apples on the cookie sheet to cool.