University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Cultural Bite – homemade sticky toffee apples



Nov 5, 2019

By Mehek Shahzad

With temperatures rapidly dropping and deadline season approaching, staying in and making your own food and treats is looking all the more appealing. With Halloween coming to an end, next up during this winter season posing as a perfect distraction from your studies, is the infamous bonfire night! And what better way to enjoy the fireworks and get in the Fawkes spirit than indulging in everyone’s classic, festive favourite – that is, sticky toffee apples! And if you’re like most students, who spent a little too much for Halloween, not to worry as we’re here to give you a quick and simple guide on how to make your own homemade toffee apples. This way, you can skip the queues and bring your own apples with you, or even enjoy the fireworks from the comfort of your own home if the weather isn’t the best. It’s a win-win!

What you’ll need:

8 Granny Smith apples 

400g golden caster sugar

1tsp vinegar

4tbsp golden syrup

Wooden skewers/lolly sticks


First, you’ll need to take your apples, place them in a large enough bowl and cover them with boiling water (you may need to do this in two batches separately, rather than all 8 together). This helps remove all of the waxy coating over the apples and will prepare them so that the caramel will stick effortlessly.

 Once boiled for around 2-3 minutes, dry your apples thoroughly and twist off any extra stalks. Once they’re dry and ready, push a wooden skewer or a lolly stick (dependent on your preference) into the stalk end of each apple. 

Then lay out a sheet of baking parchment on a clean surface and place the apples on to this close to your stovetop, leaving a little space between each one so that they don’t stick together. Leaving the apples aside for a moment, tip the 400g of sugar into a pan along with 100ml of water and set this over a medium heat. Cook this mixture for 5 minutes until all the sugar dissolves completely, then stir in the vinegar and syrup. 

When you’re satisfied that the mixture is cooked and want to check it, set a sugar thermometer in the pan and boil to 150C or to a ‘hard crack stage’. If you don’t have a thermometer, which is common, you can still test the toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water. If made correctly, it should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle and easy to break. However, if you can still squish the toffee, continue to boil it for a little longer.

Once the toffee is ready, it’s time to take each apple one by one and dip and twist it in the hot toffee until covered, working quickly carefully. Make sure you let any excess drip away, then place the apples on to the baking parchment to allow them to harden. Bear in mind, you may have to heat the toffee a little if the temperature drops and it starts to feel thick or viscous. 

Finally, leave the toffee to cool before eating and enjoying! These toffee apples can be made up to 2 days in advance, if stored in a cool, dry place. The recipe gives you enough to make 8 for you and your friends, but just double the ingredients if needed for a larger group or if you want any extras. Remember remember, for the 5th of November!

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