Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas my grandmother, Mabel Eckroat, made cinnamon apples. I cannot image a holiday without them!
Cook apples in a mixture of water, sugar, and red hots. Use apples that are firm and round. Granny Smith’s are a good choice but. Choose a wide heavy pan to cook them in.
Begin early in the day. Pour 6-7 cups water into the pan (2-3″ deep). Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 bag of red hots. Turn the heat to low-medium. Stir occasionally until the red hots are melted.
Core, peel, and slice 2 apples into 1/4″ thick rings. Place the slices in the pot, overlapping as necessary. You can try cooking 3 apples at a time after your first batch.
Let the apples simmer. When they look about like this (below), carefully turn them over with a slotted spoon. You can flip them more than once as they cook.
TIP: Keep your spoon in a 2-cup measuring cup that has water in it. If any gooey red hots get stuck to it they will get dissolved off the spoon.
The first batch takes the longest, up to an hour or more. If you have too much water, the apples will lose their shape. This corrects itself as water is cooked off. Too little water and the syrup gets too thick. You can add more water but it’s better to add it between batches. You should see simmering, not a rolling boil.
The finished apples look like this (below). NOTE: The first batch of apples may not be this dark. I think this is because the it takes a while for the syrup to strengthen.
Once the first batch is out, add more water to bring the level up to where you began (unless that was too much water). Add sugar (1/4-1/2 cup), and more red hots, maybe 1/2 of a bag. Stir the mixture and begin again.
It takes more red hots than you would think. I typically use 5-7 bags for 16 apples.
When all of your apples are cooked, pour a bit of the remaining syrup over them to keep them moist. Store them covered in the refrigerator. They keep for a very long time.