Fall is right around the corner; the leaves are starting to change colors, the weather is cooling down, the aroma of nutmeg and pumpkin are starting to permeate the air, and I know I can’t wait any longer to make some caramel apples.
Making gourmet caramel apples is not as hard of a task as it may seem. First thing we do is figure out what flavors we want to make. This year we made several variations;
· Traditional Caramel Apple (Caramel)
· Apple Pie (Caramel, White Chocolate, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar)
· Almond Joy (Caramel, Sliced Almonds, Chocolate, Coconut)
· Baby Ruth (Caramel, Peanuts, Chocolate)
· Sweet and Salty (Caramel, Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate, Potato Chips, M&Ms)
· S’mores (Caramel, Chocolate, Graham Crackers, Marshmallow Fluff)
You can come up with your own creations, seriously, the possibilities are endless.
There are a few things to purchase to make caramel apples a little easier;
1) Candy apple skewers – you can find these at most craft or baking stores. They usually run about $4 for 50. They hold up a lot better for eating, and they look cuter.
2) Bulk Caramel – I usually purchase a 5lb block of Peterson’s Caramel for about $15. (If you are making several apples, this is totally worth it.)
3) Parchment Paper – This is a MUST, wax paper will stick to the apples, and is almost impossible to remove.
4) Crock Pot – Best way we have found to melt caramel.
5) Microwave – The only way to melt chocolate. Make sure to use a plastic container (glass retains heat and keeps cooking the chocolate even after taking it out, causing scorched clumpy chocolate) and cook in 30 second increments. Also, throw in a touch of Crisco – this helps make the chocolate a little softer, so when you cut the apple, or bite into it, the chocolate doesn’t all just flake off.
Step 1: Melt the caramel. I do this in a crockpot on LOW. Cut the caramel into smaller pieces and throw in for about 2 hours.
Step 2: Get all of your toppings out. Chop up the nuts, smash the graham crackers, etc. and put them all in bowls close by. (You will want to make sure they are close for the ones you want to dip right from the caramel.
Step 3: When the caramel is close to being done, wash the apples, make sure that any waxy residue is removed (or the caramel will slide down the apple) you can use vinegar, or a veggie wash to get them squeaky clean. Then put the skewers in the top of the apples. (To be honest, we use a hammer for this part.)
Step 4: Line a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper and stick it in the fridge for a few minutes. Pull out and start dipping the apples. (Make sure to cover as much of the apple as you can.) Put the dipped apples in the fridge as soon as you can to help prevent “feet” forming on the apples. (Putting the cookies sheet in the fridge beforehand helps with this as well.) Cool them for about 10 minutes in the fridge. (If the apples do get “feet” trim off the excess and roll the apple at the bottom to round out the edges)
Step 5: Melt the chocolate and prepare the rest of the toppings for dipping. Decorate to your heart’s content.
Step 6: Enjoy your creation.