Chic yet spooky, these black magic “poison” candy apples add a touch of gothic elegance to any Samhain gathering.
Head out to the closest apple orchard to select some locally sourced fruit. Gather some sticks from the backyard.
Then, tie on an apron and let’s get started!
Magical Meaning & Correspondences
The evil witch’s diabolical apple in the classic fairytale, Snow White, inspired this simple Samhain treat.
Jealous of Snow White’s youth and beauty, she offered the wide-eyed, innocent princess a poison apple.
Although we tend to think of the cutesy Disney-princess version, this darkly serious tale weaves European pagan folklore about magic and witchcraft with universal themes like envy, youth-obsession and death.
That theme of death plays a central role to the celebration of Samhain.
Additionally, apples epitomize the season of Mabon and Samhain, when they seem to adorn every flat surface of a witch’s hearth and home.
I never run out of ideas to use apples in spells and in my autumn kitchen witch recipes, and for these black magic “poison” candy apples, they appear again, along with another classic Samhain ingredient:
Cinnamon. Cinnamon, among other things, acts as a spell ingredient in rituals to communicate with the dead. In this case, we add it to our “poison” apples to call the spirits and welcome them to join us for Samhain rituals, parties and even the Pagan Dumb Supper.
Be warned: the food coloring turns your lips black.
I actually think this is hilarious, as it makes everyone at a Samhain party look kind of ghoulish and adds to the atmosphere.
Either warn people this will happen, or don’t, and enjoy watching them figure it out on their own. I personally prefer the latter.
To remove it, just wash mouth gently with soap and water.
No candy thermometer? No problem.
This recipe requires taking the sugar mixture to what candy makers call the “hard crack” stage.
It’s infinitely easier with a (affiliate link —->) candy thermometer. However, it’s definitely possible to do it without one.
The key is to keep a constant eye on the sugar mixture once it reaches boiling. It takes a while to get it to boil, but once it gets there, the temp goes very quickly from about 220 degrees to 300 degrees. Once it gets past 320 degree or so, all you have is a bunch of burnt sugar and you have to start over.
This article goes into detail about how to identify the hard crack stage without a thermometer.
Warning: This is NOT an activity for the kids. Taking sugar water to the “hard crack” stage requires heating it to 300 degrees and it must be handled with extreme caution. Eye protection is recommended.
–black food coloring (<—-affiliate link)
-6 tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
-1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 cup water
-12 sticks, washed and dried (or use extra long popsicle sticks)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drive sticks from the top of the apple into the core and put them on the parchment.
Add sugar, water and ground cinnamon to a medium-sized pot. Bring it to boil. Whisk periodically, and make sure to scrape any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pot.
Check temperature frequently using a candy thermometer until it reaches 300 degrees (or use this method if you have no thermometer).
Once it reaches the desired temp, immediately remove it from the heat source immediately.
Add black food coloring a few drops at a time until it reaches a rich, black color.
Working quickly, pick up each apple by the stick and lightly coat with sugar mixture. You may need to pick up the pot and tilt it slightly to coat the top of the apple.
You want the thinnest possible coat on each apple. If the mixture becomes to thick, simply put it back on the stove for a 30 seconds to 1 minute until it thins again and continue.
Set each apple on the parchment to dry.
DO NOT POUR REMAIN CANDY COAT DIRECTLY IN THE SINK. It will clog it. The hard crack candy tends to cement itself quite stubbornly on anything you use, but it’s actually pretty easy to clean. Just fill the pot with water and bring it back to boil. The sugar will dissolve and scrap away easily in a few minutes.
Wait at least 45 minutes before eating “poison” candy apples, and serve within 2-4 hours for best results.