October 6, 2014

The Best Caramel Apples

Oh yum!  Caramel apples are my favorite treats this time of year! And now they are my kids favorite. What fun we had making these together this week! I think we'll come up with some more toppings next time, but for this round, we did sprinkles, M&Ms and pecans. Plus, some chocolate drizzled over a few.  So good. We made these to sell at an Oktoberfest party at Cooper and Lily's Kindergarten, but kept a few for ourselves. 


 I decided to make the caramel from scratch this time around, and used chopsticks and lollipop sticks I had on hand for the sticks. I tried out two recipes and made two batches of caramel. Below is my favorite of the two. Trust me, the homemade version is sooooo much better than the wrapped caramels. 

What you'll need:
  • 10-12  Granny Smith Apples (the sour in these apples helps even out the sweet of the caramel).
  • Wooden sticks (chopsticks worked for me)
  •  Wax paper
  •  Candy thermometer
  •  Ingredients for the Caramel (see below)
  •  Toppings: chopped pecans, toffee chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms, etc.

1. Wash the apples in cold water with dish soap to remove the wax and rinse completely.
 2. Insert wooden sticks in each apple and place in fridge to chill while prepping and making the caramel.
3. Prepare all toppings in individual bowls.
4. Line your counter with wax paper to set caramel dipped apples on.

Ingredients for Caramel:
• 2 cups brown sugar packed
• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk (you can use cream instead if needed)
• 1 cup dark Karo corn syrup
• 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
• 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/4 tsp. salt

Making Caramel:
1. Combine all ingredients in a large deep pot (this makes a lot of caramel) on medium low. Stir with wooden spoon, scraping sides for about 15 minutes.
2. Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to side of pot.  Increase heat to medium. Cook caramel at a rolling boil until thermometer reaches 245°F (soft ball stage).  This takes about 30 minutes. Be patient and don't turn the burner higher to decrease the time.
3. Once the caramel reaches 245 to 250 F,  pour it into a deep small bowl that makes dipping the apple easier.
4. Holding the stick, dip 1 apple at a time submerging it completely until the entire apple is covered.  Spin a couple times in the caramel and lift out allowing the excess caramel to drip off. 
5. Once all 12 apples are dipped, the first apples you dipped should be ready to add toppings.  Dip the bottom of the apple half way into the toppings (I like pecans best).
6. Place in fridge to set the caramel before it all drips off.
7. Melt milk chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave in small increments of time.  Once melted pour into a small ziplock bag and cut a tiny slice in the corner of the bag to drizzle over the apple.
8. Return the caramel apples to the fridge until ready to serve.
9. Enjoy!

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