Atomic Candy Apples

Atomic Candy Apples

All my life I’ve loved Halloween and when I was a kid, nothing … and I mean nothing was better than trick-or-treating. You never knew what you’d get in your bag/pumpkin, and I always relished trying the strange stuff first so that I could save my prized Bit-O-Honey’s and Milk Duds for later. I’ll never forget the night while trying to peer through the eye-holes in my skeleton mask, I fished out what appeared to be a red jawbreaker. Feeling adventurous, I popped it in and commenced sucking. At first it was all cinnamon-y goodness, but then, suddenly, the bottom dropped out and there was a horrible, flesh-searing pain, as though someone were putting a cigarette out on my tongue. And yet … and yet … I kinda liked it. That was my first Atomic Fireball. I’ve attempted to replicate that experience in what appear to be harmless candy apples. (Evil laughter).

Atomic Candy Apples
Yields 6
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  1. 6 small apples, Pink Lady, Gala or McIntosh, at room temperature
  2. 14 ounces granulated sugar, about 2 cups
  3. 15 ounces light corn syrup, about 1 1/3 cups
  4. 2/3 cup water
  5. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil
  7. 15 to 20 drops red liquid food coloring
  8. Special Equipment: 6 chopsticks
  1. Put 3 inches of water in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Insert the narrow end of a chopstick into the bottom blossom end of each apple. Dip the apples, 1 at a time, into the boiling water for 20 seconds to remove the wax coating. Wipe dry with a paper towel. Transfer apples to a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium heat. Cover and bring it to a boil, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and clip on a candy thermometer. Continue cooking the syrup until it reaches 300 degrees F, approximately 15 minutes. When the syrup reaches temperature, take the pot off the heat and remove the thermometer. Add the cayenne, cinnamon oil and food coloring, stirring thoroughly to combine. Cool until the bubbles calm and begin to subside, about 3 minutes.
  3. Dip each apple in the warm syrup, turning slowly to coat. Continue to turn, allowing the excess to drip back into the pot. Cool the apples completely on the prepared half sheet pan. Wrap individually in waxed paper and plastic wrap or store for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.
  1. Cinnamon oil is available at many a megamart as well as the interwebs.


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  1. 3

    I never thought of using cayenne but I’ve made some mean atomic hard candies following normal hard candy recipie but using 2-3 drams of cinnamon oil instead of the small amount they call for.

  2. 5

    hi – cinnamon is also found in many drug stores as it is useful for tooth pain until you can be seen by a dentist. I know because I’m a retired pharmacist & know many patients that it has worked for – temporary use only

  3. 6

    Wash hands after using cinnamon oil. It can burn if you touch the wrong places. But aside from that I just made some, and they’re amazing.

    • 9
      Grim Cook

      it’d be a waste of Fireball. The cinnamon oil has more than enough of a cinnamon kick to it, and since you’re cooking the mixture to 300 degrees F, any alcohol soluble flavors that it would have imparted will long be obliterated.

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