Black Candy Apples Recipe

Swap out traditional red and go black with these frightfully delicious candy apples.

Homemade Candy Apples

Homemade Candy Apples

These candy apples taste exactly like traditional red ones.

Photo by: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Photo by Melissa Caughey

These candy apples taste exactly like traditional red ones.

With fall comes apple-picking season and few things are better than a day spent picking apples, exploring the orchard or sipping apple cider. There is nothing like the taste of freshly-picked apples.

Once home, apples fill the lunchboxes. We also turn them into wonderful apple pies, apple tarts, add them to our turkey dinner's stuffing and even indulge in making candy apples.

Homemade candy apples are much easier to make than you would think. We are accustomed to seeing them glazed in red candy, but you can change the candy into any color you prefer with the help of food coloring. Only a few ingredients are required, the most important item being a candy thermometer. 

When working with melted sugar, temperature is very key to getting recipes correct. Whether it is taffy, peanut brittle or candy apples, you must remove the sugar from heat at exactly the right moment to get the texture, hardness and setting of the candy to go just right. In the case of candy apples, the sugar will need to simmer for almost 30 minutes to achieve the temperature of 300 degrees F. This is the point of "hard crack."

This year, I wanted to add a fun element of surprise to our candy apples. I turned them black for instant drama and an air of mystery. Instead of using traditional lollipop or popsicle sticks, I used branches from one of our maple trees. (Birch and fruit tree branches are also safe to use.) These are sure to be a hit at our next fall get-together. 

Here is what you will need to get started:

Yield: 8 candy apples

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup of light corn syrup
  • Black sugar sprinkles
  • Black food coloring
  • 8 sticks, twigs or small branches
  • Candy thermometer
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Cooking spray

Take a peek below to see the entire gallery with photos and captions that show the step-by-step directions to create these candy apples.

Black Candy Apples How-To

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They're Frightfully Delicious!

Black food coloring and branches from your garden in lieu of lollipop or popsicle sticks creates a spooky twist on this classic fall treat. You'll have just as much fun making them as you will eating them!

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Gather Your Supplies

Here is what you will need to get started: 8 apples / 8 small branches from food-safe tree (apple, maple, birch, etc.) / sugar / corn syrup / water / candy thermometer / black food coloring / black sugar sprinkles / cooking spray / parchment paper / cookie sheet.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Start the Candy Coating

Add 2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of corn syrup, 1 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of food coloring to a small pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir it only once to combine the ingredients and then do not stir again.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Give it Time

Add the candy thermometer to the pot with the sugar mixture as it simmers. The temperature will need to reach 300 degrees F (this will bring the mixture to the hard-crack stage). This can take up to 30 minutes. In the meantime, move on to the next steps. Warning: Use extreme caution when working with the hot sugar mixture to avoid injury. Do not let children handle the hot candy coating.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Prepare the Apples

Give the apples a rinse and remove the stems. Trim the branches to approximately 8 inches long.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Add the Stem

Insert a stick a couple of inches down into the top of each apple.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Set Up a System

Set up a workstation close to your stove. Place the apples in reach. Pour the sugar sprinkles in a bowl. Add a piece of parchment paper to the top of the cookie sheet and spray it with cooking spray. A potholder nearby comes in handy, too.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Get Rolling

You will need to move quickly with this step! Once the sugar mixture has reached the desired temperature, remove the candy thermometer and turn off the stove's heat. Roll the apple around in the candy mixture. You may need to tilt the pot to coat the top of the apple. Allow the excess candy to drip off. Roll it in the sugar sprinkles and place it on the cookie sheet to harden. Repeat this process with each apple.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Let Them Rest

Allow the apples to completely cool and harden prior to handling again. Tip: Pour out any excess sugar in the cooking pot onto a piece of parchment paper. Everything cleans up with warm soapy water.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Pick a Color

When making these candy apples, you can work with any color. Black lends itself to Halloween.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Homemade Candy Apples

These spooky candy apples are a great break from the usual bright red Halloween treat.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Tips for success:

  • You will need to work quickly with the sugar mixture. You will only have minutes to coat the apples.
  • An extra set of hands comes in handy.
  • Use extreme caution when handling the hot sugar—contact with the mixture can cause a nasty burn.
  • The sugar mixture comes off easily with a soak in hot soapy water.
  • This recipe can be doubled.
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