Insert lollipop sticks into 4 apples, one-third of the way. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Stir together 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup each corn syrup and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring. Continue cooking, swirling the pan but not stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 290 degrees F, about 10 minutes; remove from the heat. Immediately dip each apple into the candy, then twirl the apple over the pan to let the excess drip off. Decorate (see instructions below).
How to Decorate
Spun-sugar apple: Dip the apple as directed, then hold sideways over the pan, dip a fork in the candy mixture and quickly wave it all over the apple to make thin threads. Let set.
Candy cane apple: Roll the apple in crushed candy canes immediately after dipping. Let set.
White chocolate apple: Let the coating set, then drizzle the apple with melted white chocolate. Sprinkle with silver nonpareils.
Coconut apple: Roll the apple in shredded coconut immediately after dipping. Let set.
Photograph by Levi Brown
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine