I mentioned the Inn at the Crossroads blog a while back but hadn’t really been keeping up with it, so I’m delighted that the fabulous JoAsakura clued me in to the fact that they’re expanding beyond Westeros-specific dishes and into other fantasy venues.
One such excursion is their lovely Snow White-esque enchanted apples, eerily darkened with food coloring and given a nicely rustic touch by using twigs as handles.* I love how sinister-looking the glossy black coating looks.
If you use twigs instead of skewers you would definitely want to make sure you know what kind of wood they are–using something like oleander would be a spectacularly bad idea–and make sure they haven’t been sprayed with any pesticide (or, if you get them from a craft store, that they haven’t been treated with a preservative). Cutting them from the tree would probably make them easier to rinse off vs. collecting them from the ground, although obviously you’d need permission first; wandering into a national park and hacking at the trees is generally frowned upon.
You would want to ensure that the apples are thoroughly scrubbed (some apples are waxed, which will prevent the coating from sticking properly) and thoroughly dried before dipping. I might also suggest either suspending them over a basin until they begin to harden or holding them upside-down for about a minute after dipping rather than placing them directly on a Silpat or waxed paper. That would let a lot more of the excess coating drip off instead of creating a hard puddle of candy around the base, leaving you with a more naturally apple-shaped finished product.
And, of course, you can change up the recipe to use whatever candy (rather than caramel, which wouldn’t be as glossy) coating suits you; this cider-based recipe looks tempting.
However you do it, these are a splendid and super-easy addition to a party table. Who knew nothing but a little food coloring could be so effective?
*As I was writing this, I became more and more convinced that I’d seen something like this before, possibly from Martha Stewart (which came up negative, although she does have these neat-looking “poison” apples), and finally a thorough scouring of my archives turned them up here. I’m assuming this was the Inn’s inspiration, although it’s possibly just convergent evolution.