From county fairs to gourmet shops, candy apples are popular throughout the country as a way to preserve and enhance the basic apple. No matter what the toppings, these treats are all constructed in the same basic manner. Fresh apples are skewered with wooden sticks, then dipped into a type of coating that hardens or firms over the apple flesh. This classic sweet treat comes in a variety of flavors and textures, in all price ranges.
Hard Candy Apples
These colorful versions of the candy apple are made with a hard sugar-candy shell, much like an apple with a lollipop coating. Boil sugar, corn syrup and water until a syrup forms, much like in candy-making. Add food coloring if you'd like a classic red candy apple, or a more exotic color. Dip the skewered apples and allow them to cool on parchment or waxed paper.
Caramel apples are autumn classics, often sold in farm markets and grocery stores. Melt caramel squares until you have a smooth consistency. Dip the apples into the liquid caramel and allow them to cool upright on sheets of waxed paper. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top of the caramel before it cools, for a classic variation.
Gourmet Candy Apples
Gourmet candy apples have become a popular gift item, as they are elaborate but not extremely expensive for a gift item. Make them for even more savings, while creating an impressive display for friends. Dip apples into melted caramel and let them cool. Dip the caramel apples into melted milk chocolate. Drizzle the cooled apples with dark and white chocolate, and sprinkle them with tiny chocolate chips, coconut flakes or silver nonpareil balls. Wrap them in cellophane bags and tie them with a fancy bow. Serve gourmet apples in slices so that you can show off the many layers.