The end of term, yay. I'm glad to have a break from the school run and very happy to get myself a few more sofa snuggles. I'm going to take a break next week to spend with my family so I thought I'd share a few little Halloween makes with you now. I've been going a bit crazy over pumpkins on Instagram, and of course there'll be a few more here too.
See, told you.
Whether you're having a Halloween party or just waiting for some trick or treaters to come knocking here are a couple of old school sweet recipes that might make a change from the usual pack of chewy sweets (although there will definitely be some of those in this house too).
First up toffee apples. I used to find toffee apple eternally disappointing as a child, the apple- to-toffee- coating ratio was never right and favoured far too much apple for me. And they're hard to eat without getting toffee all over your face. So I've chosen to use thick slices of apple in order to redress the balance. The only draw back with these is that you need to make them just a few hours before you want to eat them, other wise the juice from the apples makes the toffee melt and slip off. They're quite easy and quick to make so it's not too tricky, but if you wanted a make ahead sweet just go with whole apples, which will keep for two days.
I've given details of how to make these with and without a sugar thermometer.
You will need:
6 apples - I used Braeburn 400g caster sugar 1tsp vinegar 4tbsp golden syrup Cake pop sticks, twigs or lolly sticks
Put the sugar into the pan with 100ml of water and cook for five minutes over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile slice off the cheeks of your apple creating a thick slice around the core, push in your sticks. Feed the off cuts to your children and then line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Once the sugar has dissolved stir in the vinegar and golden syrup. Pop a sugar thermometer into the pan and boil until it reaches the hard crack stage (140c).
If you don't have a sugar thermometer pour a little drop of toffee into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly and be brittle. If it's still soft and squishy keep on boiling and check again until you have the right texture - it takes a while.
Take the toffee from the heat and quickly but carefully dip each apple in the toffee until it's completely covered. Place on your parchment paper to set. Once the toffee is crisp and cooled you can wrap them up and tie with string.
(For whole apples rinse them in boiling water before coating in toffee to remove any wax).
While I was in the mood for boiling up sugar I made some honeycomb, which is the work of minutes and makes you feel like you're properly good at making sweets. I used Nigella's recipe.
You will need:
100g caster sugar 4 tablespoons golden syrup 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Grease a sheet of baking parchment.
In a saucepan mix together the sugar and syrup. It's important to do this now because it will crystalise if you stir when the pan is on the heat.
Place the pan on the heat and cook for 3 minutes until you have a pan bubbling maple syrup coloured goo.
Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the bicarbonate of soda. Watch it bubble up and turn it out onto your greased baking parchment and leave to set. The bash it up into beautiful golden shards.
This keeps for about two days before it turns so sticky it feels like it could pull your teeth out. In other words, just eat it.
Last but not least, if you're like me and you find it impossible to through away paper bags, feel pleased that you can use them to make trick or treat bags for your kids, just pop on some washi tape. Easy.
Happy Halloween everyone x