Pilar Valdes' Balsamic Candy Apples

We take a small twist on the classic candied apple, while still tipping our hats to the original cinnamon flavor. A candy thermometer is critical here. Be sure to have one before proceeding!

40 minsCook Time

55 minsTotal Time


  • 2 cups granulated Sugar
  • ⅔ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 8 small Apples (choose varieties that are firm and tart—I like to do a combination of Granny Smith and Sweet Tango)
  • 8 Lollipop or Popsicle sticks
  • 1 tsp gold or red (or both) edible Glitter, optional
  • 4 tbsp Cinnamon Imperials, roughly crushed


Rinse and dry the apples thoroughly.  Remove the stem of the apple. Insert the stick through the top of the apple all the way through, until secure. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.


In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, balsamic vinegar, water and corn syrup and stir to combine. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot. Set the heat to medium and continue stirring until sugar is dissolved, then immediately stop stirring and adjust the heat to medium high. Do not stir after this point. Continue to boil until the temperature reaches the hard crack stage, at 300 degrees, about 20-30 minutes. To test, carefully drop a bit of the caramel in cold water. If it firms up like a hard candy, you have reached the hard crack stage. Remove immediately from heat. Remove the thermometer. 


Tilt the pot and carefully dip each apple into the candy mixture to coat fully. Allow the excess caramel to drip back into the pot. Dip the bottom of the apple in crushed cinnamon candy. Sprinkle with edible glitter dust if using. Repeat with the remaining apples. (If you want to create a more all around, galaxy-like swirl, add the edible glitter directly to the caramel as soon as the hard crack stage is reached.)


Set sheet pan in a cool dry place and allow it to harden fully.


** Working with caramel is dangerous. Don’t be tempted to walk away, and definitely don’t pick up or touch hot caramel!Because of the balsamic vinegar in this recipe, the caramel mixture will start at a darker hue.  Use the candy thermometer and hard crack water test to ensure your candy is at the right temperature. **