I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the first ever Ontario Apple Growers blogger challenge- the search for the best candy apple recipe. The challenge was inspired by the 200th anniversary of the McIntosh apple and the grandiose Winter Apple Ball, a free family event taking place at the Westin Harbour Castle this Family Day, Monday, February 21st.
• The original McIntosh tree was a chance discovery by John McIntosh in the Village of Dundela, Ontario in the spring of 1811.
• Many apple varieties we know today stem from the McIntosh including: the Cortland, the Lobo, the Melba, the Macoun and more.
• The original McIntosh tree was severely damaged by a house fire but continued to bear fruit on the side that was unaffected until it died in 1906. In 1912, a plaque was installed in honour of the tree.
• Every McIntosh tree and apple in the world is a descendent of the original McIntosh tree.
• The McIntosh apple represents approximately 25 per cent of Ontario’s total acreage.
• The McIntosh apple is grown in greater quantities than any other apple in Canada and the north-eastern United States combined.
• It is reputed that Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple incorporated and Mac computers named the company after the McIntosh apple in 1976 after spending the summer working on a friend’s apple orchard. For a different take on the story, this article in Mashable is a good read too!
Of course, I can’t see anything with “Mc or Mac” in the name without thinking of two of my favourite things – my MacBook Air and macarons. Since creating a candy apple with a computer theme just seemed too tricky, I went with the latter. Having never made a candy apple (we call them toffee apples in Australia) nor tiny macarons before, this was a total experiment that I think we can call a success.
The McIntosh apple is in season mid September to May. It is medium-sized apple with an irregular round shape. Its skin is green with a red splash and its flesh is white and juicy. It’s mildly tart, becoming sweeter as it ripens. It’s an excellent apple for eating fresh, or for baking pies and sauces.
And making candy apples…
2 cups sugar
¾ cup water
½ cup corn syrup (I used the darker kind and it was fine)
1 tbsp red food colouring
4 medium Ontario McIntosh apples
4 candy sticks
about 40 mini pink macarons, about the size of a dime, I used this recipe that I always have success with.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush generously with vegetable oil, set aside.
In a medium heavy bottomed pot, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and food colouring. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium high, boiling until candy mixture reaches a temperature of 290° F – 300° F, hard crack stage, about 20 minutes.
When candy is ready remove from heat, tilt pan slightly to one side while dipping an apple twisting to thoroughly coat the apple and let excess candy drip away. Working quickly, place the mini macarons around the apple – pressing in gently to make sure they stick. Place apple onto baking sheet to cool, repeat steps with remaining apples.
Best enjoyed within 24 hrs.
Makes 4 candied apples.
Source: Adapted from The Ontario Apple Growers Website
Happy Birthday McIntosh!
If you are in Toronto on February 21st, although general registration for the Winter Apple Ball is closed, you still have an opportunity to attend if at least one member of your family (4-18 yrs) registers to participate in the apple-bobbing World Record attempt.
Disclaimer: The Ontario Apple Growers were part sponsors who helped me attend IFBC last year.