Yes, you read that right! A Cheerwine Candy Apple recipe courtesy of Columbia, S.C.’s Bourbon cocktail bar. This sweet treat is fun to make as an impressive homemade birthday or holiday gift, or sliced for a pick-me-up at your next party.
10 small organic apples
10 sturdy wooden pop sticks
½ cup light corn syrup
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Cheerwine or Cheerwine Holiday Punch
2 cups peanuts, crushed and toasted
Line baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Wash and dry apples well. The reason for organic apples is because they are not coated in food grade wax, so the caramel will stick better. Remove the apple stems and carefully insert the wooden pop sticks; lift each apple to make sure they can securely be picked up. Set aside.
Combine corn syrup, sugar, and Cheerwine in a medium saucepan with a handle. Heat at medium-high until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring mixture to a boil. (Watch the mixture constantly as it cooks at this stage because the soda may bubble over. If the mixture rises too high in the pan, just give it a stir to calm the bubbling.) After 5-7 minutes the mixture should lose its fizziness.
The sugar mixture will take about 20-25 minutes to reach 302˚F on a candy thermometer. This is known as the hard-crack stage.
Once the correct temperature has been reached, remove the pan from the burner. Mix well. Mixture is ready for dipping when the bubbles have subsided, about 5 minutes.
Dip apples, one at a time, turning until completely coated. Hold apples above saucepan to let excess candy drain off and transfer them to the baking sheet. As you work, you may need to tilt the saucepan to pool the candy to one side. This will help ensure all apples get a full coating as your mixture gets lower. Dip the apples twice for a deep amber color, then roll in crushed, toasted peanuts.
Allow the candy to harden completely. Leave in stick and wrap apple in clear cellophane to gift, or remove stick and slice into wedges to serve. Makes an amazing party cocktail garnish. See the cocktail recipe here.