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Give the apples a good wash under hot water, as if they’re waxed the caramel won’t stick to them. Pat them dry with kitchen paper and remove the stalks, adding a wooden skewer or a clean stick in its place. Lightly oil a sheet of baking paper on a tray.
Heat the sugar, syrup, 4 tbsp water and the spices together on a medium-high heat in a heavy-based pan. Stir the mix just once to help melt the sugar, then bring to a bubble and turn the heat to medium-low. Swirl the pan every few minutes, rather than stirring, until you get a deep golden caramel – this should take about 10-15 minutes. If you have a sugar thermometer it should hit 150°C, or if you drip a little onto a plate it should harden without being sticky. Fish out the spices with a spoon (don’t touch the caramel).
Working relatively quickly, turn the heat to very low (but keep the pan on the hob). Dip each apple in turn in the caramel (holding them by the skewer or stick), then leave to set on the lined tray (be very careful as the caramel is burning hot!). Eat the day of making or the toffee will go soft.
When washing up, bring some water to the boil in the pan to easily dissolve any caramel that’s stuck on.