Bonfire Night: Popping Candy Toffee Apples

Rockets racing. Screamers shrieking. Bangers booming. Fire crackling.

Toffee Apples are synonymous with bonfire night. Once the mesmerizing flickers of the bonfire have died down and the sparkler calligraphy completed, it’s difficult to imagine watching the final jubilant firework flourishes of the evening without one of these gleaming jewel-like baubles. 

We’re all very familiar with why we celebrate Guy Fawkes with fireworks and bonfires at this time of year, but what’s not quite so obvious is why we choose to cover our tangy apples with sugar… Our favourite origin story is the happy accident one. A candy maker in the 1900s was experimenting with a red cinnamon sauce for Christmas and dropped an apple into the potion. The resulting fruit lollipop was immediately popular and so it became synonymous with the changing of the season and the ripening of apples.

To make these delightfully sticky treats, follow our recipe below.


  • 8 red apples of your choosing
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • Food colouring (we’ll be using fiery red, but we’d love to see what colours you choose)
  • 8 tall sticks, or head out to your garden and find some good twigs!
  • Popping Candy (Optional)


  1. Remove the stalks of your apples and push your sticks all the way in – we’re making Toffee Apples, not Floppy Apples!
  2. Take a chopping board and place a large sheet of baking parchment on top and set to one side with the apples.
  3. Get out a big saucepan and heat up your sugar with 100ml water. You just want to do this until the sugar has dissolved.
    Top tip: Gently move the sugar around the saucepan, no vigorous stirring.
  4. Pour in your golden syrup and allow the mixture to come to a bubble. Once it reaches 150C it’s ready. But not to worry if you don’t have a thermometer, there’s a great little trick in which you flick a small amount of the mixture into cold water and see if it instantly turns solid. If it’s still soft, you’ll want to keep it on the boil for a little longer.
  5. When the mixture is ready, drip in a little food colouring and swirl to combine.
  6. You need to be fast now, dip your apples into the toffee and coat the skin completely. 
  7. Sprinkle some popping candy on top for a surprise crackle, emulating the sizzle of a fireworks display.
  8. Rest on the baking parchment to remove any excess toffee and serve.

That’s it! 8 shining trophies lined up and ready to be enjoyed around the bonfire. And if you’re feeling a little naughty, you could always add a drop of caramel vodka to your toffee for a grown up twist.

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