Little finger food morsels and I simply don’t get along. My aversion to the bite-sized party snack is, to put it mildly, considerable. I blame the seventies and eighties for this.

Tooth-picked blocks of Gouda with red cocktail onions. Floppy mini sausage rolls. Teeny, tiny Vienna sausages with a sweet mustard dipping sauce – naturally served with, you guessed it, toothpicks.  The damage is permanent.

But there is hope. I’ve been fascinated by those canned baby apples for some time now. Are they, like Shetland ponies, a miniature variety and that’s pretty much how big they’re ever going to get? Or are they normal apples that are rudely stripped and canned in infancy?

I don’t know and, to be honest, I couldn’t really be bothered to find out. But I do think they’re rather cute. So I decided to do something with them…

All you need is..

1 can of Goldcrest baby apples
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup water
¼ tsp white vinegar
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp red food colouring (optional)

Grease a non-stick baking tray with sunflower oil. Drain the apples, dry each apple thoroughly and set aside.

Boil the rest of the ingredients over a low heat till ‘hard crack’ stage. If you have a sugar thermometer, the syrup should reach 150°C. If, like me, you don’t have one, it’s not the end of the world. Simply boil the syrup for about 20 minutes. Drop a bit of the syrup in cold water – if it sets rock hard straight away and is easy to crack, it’s ready.

Remove from the heat and as soon as the syrup stops bubbling, you can start dipping. Simply hold an apple by its stem and dip it in the syrup. I tilt the pan slightly to make this easier. But BEWARE, this syrup is ferociously hot, so it really is best to ignore phones, kids, dogs and nagging husband until you’re done.

Dip the syrupy apple in a small bowl of cold water (literally for one second) and place on the greased baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the apples. Eat immediately. If you keep them till the next day, the hard sugar coating will start to sweat – and sweat is never pretty!

serves

12

prep

5 min

cook

20 min

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good to know

Add some nuts

For an appley ‘sesame snap’, add two or three tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds to the syrup just before you dip the apples. I love the nutty crunch, plus it’s pretty, which in my book never hurts. (To toast sesame seeds, simply toss them in a dry hot pan until light golden brown.)

Apples go well with pecan nuts too. Toast a few in a dry pan and serve them with the mini toffee apples

enjoy with

I love serving my baby toffee apples as a playful dessert after a relaxed meal with good mates.

I make this childhood favourite adult, by accompanying it with Calvados, a French apple brandy. A bite of apple, ‘n sip of fiery apple brandy… heaven.

Calvados

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