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Trick For Your Treat: Poison Candy Apples Done Right

Poison Candy Apples sitting on a baking mat

Looking to wow with your Halloween sweets? Candy “Poison” Apples are the must-have treat of the season, but how do you get beautiful deserts and not just a sticky mess? It’s surprisingly easy, with just a little bit of prep and a little bit of insider know-how. Read on to learn how to get your treats looking Pinterest-perfect and killer at parties!

Do These In Advance

  • Buy black gel food coloring. This is not the usual food coloring you see in the grocery store! Gel food coloring is glycerine and/or corn syrup based and will deliver the more concentrated color you need to make your apples deadly. You can also find it at baking and specialty stores. Water-based food coloring can be used if you want a more transparent candy coating, or a lighter glaze.
  • Make sure you have a candy thermometer. We recommend this Taylor Precision Products thermometer. There are other options for under $10, but Taylor has a reputation for solid, reliable thermometers, and analog means you’ll never have to worry about batteries.
  • Check to see if you have the other ingredients on hand, and any other necessary equipment. There’s nothing worse than having to run to the store in the middle of a recipe!


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cups water
  • ½ cup liquid glucose or light corn syrup
  • A few drops of black gel food coloring.
  • 6 firm apples. We recommend Granny Smith, the classic tart choice, or Fuji, which are red and sweeter. You can also go for Gala, or a specialty apple. Just make sure it’s a harder variety – a softer, sweeter apple won’t hold up to the heat and candy.
  • Bamboo skewers
Basket of red Fuji apples
Fuji apples are well-suited to your “poisonous” plans.


  • Parchment paper
  • Cooking Spray
  • Baking Tray or Sheet
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Medium Heavy-Bottomed Pot. Note: using a thin pot can cause the candy to heat unevenly.
  • Pastry Brush


  1. Line baking tray with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
  2. Thoroughly wash and dry apples, then insert a bamboo skewers into the top of each. If your apples have a lot of wax on the outside, dip them quickly into a pot of boiling water for a couple of seconds each. This will help remove the wax so the candy coating will stick.
  3. In a medium, heavy pot, combine the sugar, water, glucose or corn syrup, and food coloring, and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Have your candy thermometer clipped on the side of the pot so that the tip is in the mixture but not touching the bottom of the pan.
  4. Turn the heat up, and use a pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pot to help prevent crystals from forming.
  5. Allow the mixture to boil until it reaches the hard crack stage (310°F/150°C on a candy thermometer). Once the temperature is reached, immediately remove the pot from heat.
  6. Holding the bamboo skewers, carefully dip the apples into the hot candy mixture, then hold them over the pan and let the excess candy drip off. Place apple on the parchment paper to set and cool. Be very careful – hot sugar is much hotter than boiling water!
  7. If you want to, you can add extras while the candy is hot. The apple can be dipped in nuts or sprinkles, or you can even dust on some cinnamon or salt to change up the flavor.
Black candy apples on a black halloween cake stand
Be sure to give  your poison apples an appropriate display.

Final Thoughts

Be careful eating these! They will be hard and sticky, and you don’t want to hurt your teeth. If full size apples are too much, you can also dip apple slices or even cubes for bite-sized poisonous treats. While black has the most drama, you can also use red food color for a nice contrast. Remember to give your apples a spooky display – even something as simple as draped black cloth can set the tone.


Looking for Halloween decorations and supplies? Shop across the web at for all your spooky needs this season!


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