10 min. 15 min.
Halloween is one of the few times each year where we let ourselves indulge in the making,creating, and eating lots and lots of candy. A Classic Haloween-time candy I always see are caramel and candy apples. I’ve always been less a fan of the candy apples, and more a fan of caramel apples. This dessert features my favorite fruit, slathered in one of my favorite candy types.
Crispy fresh apples, coated in chewy caramel, preferably rolled in toasted pecans. Phew. It puts me in a place of bliss and comfort.
I’ll let my dentist deal with the repercussions.
Do yourself a favor and make the caramel yourself. Sure, you can buy wrapped caramels at the store. But part of the “wow” of these apples is that you made them from scratch!
Homemade Caramel Apples
Step 1: Wash and prepare your apples. I like to scrub the apples with baking soda and rinse with water: if you buy apples from the grocery store, it helps take off some of the wax that is put on the fruit to prolong freshness. The wax makes it hard to the caramel to stick to the apples. If you buy your apples fresh from the farm, you don’t have to worry about this step. Make sure to rinse all baking soda off. Remove the Stems and Dry the apples well. In the core of your cleaned apple, place a stick. Could be a popsicle stick, lollipop stick, chopstick, or proper candy apple wooden stick/dowel. Lastly, stick your apples on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Step 2: Mise en Place: This is a culinary term for getting all of your ingredients and materials in place. This is important because caramel is like a needy significant other. It needs your undivided attention. You won’t have time to prepare the ingredients and constantly stir the caramel for 15 minutes-25 minutes. So, if you want chopped nuts to roll the final apples in, chop them now. If you want to roll these in anything, like coconut, m&ms, chocolate chips, etc., get it in a bowl before you start. I love caramel apples with pecans: if you use nuts, make sure to toast them to get optimal nutty-flavor.
This is a good time to measure out all of the caramel ingredients and get your equipment together as well.
What you’ll need: 1 saucepot, a wooden spoon (to stir caramel), a candy thermometer, a baking/cookie sheet, a piece of parchment paper (or silicone pad).
12 small apples (less than 8 oz each) I used 6 HoneyCrisps and 6 Granny Smiths
2 Cups of Brown Sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1 cup of corn syrup
a can of sweetened condensed milk (they are all about 14 oz)
Step 3: Make the Caramel
1.) Over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
2.) Add the brown sugar and salt to the butter. Bring to a boil.
3.) Add the sweetened condensed milk.
4.) Reduce heat to medium. Stir consistently until the mixture reaches 235 degrees. This should take 20 minutes. If you find after 10 minutes your mixture isn’t boiling, turn up the heat slightly until the mixture starts going. The higher the heat, the more you want to make sure you are stirring the caramel, making sure to scrape the bottom so the caramel doesn’t burn. Use your eyes and your sense of smell to make sure the caramel isn’t burning. And, last tip: if you turn the heat, the HIGHEST it should get to is medium high. High heat always means burned and ruined caramel.
5.) Once the caramel has reached 235 degrees, remove from heat. You can now dip your apples.
Step 4: Dip Apples into Caramel
The caramel will start to cool, so you want to dip your apples quickly.
1.) Take your apple and submerge into the caramel. Slowly pull the apple up out of the caramel, and let the excess caramel drip off.
2.) Place apple onto the parchment paper to cool. Note: The caramel will pool at the bottom of the apple. This is normal. You can dip the bottom of the freshly dipped apple into chopped nuts or other topping once it comes out of the caramel, which helps the caramel stick to the apple and minimize pooling.
3.) Let the apples cool at room temperature for an hour before eating.
4.) You can slice and eat, or eat right from the stick for the delicious and messy effect!