Friday, November 21, 2008

Caramel Apples

First, you want to get your apples ready for dipping. Rinse a bunch of granny smith apples. These work best because they are tart and crisp. Make sure the apples are fully dry after rinsing. Remove the stems from the apples (just twist them off). Then, insert the stick where the stem was! You can use little craft sticks, popsicle sticks, or I've even used chopsticks before!

Get a tray or cookie sheet of some sort out and butter it or non-stick spray it well! You don't want the apples to stick.

Now, to make the caramel.


*1 lb. brown sugar--

light or dark brown (I've used both, but now I usually use dark just because the caramel turns out... darker and looks pretty)

*1 cup light corn syrup

*1 cup butter

*14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

Cook the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a large pot until it boils. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir constantly and cook until reaches between soft and firm ball stage (between 235 and 250 degrees F on candy thermometer). The longer you cook it, the harder/chewier it will be, so it depends what you want. *DISCLAIMER! NOT ALL CANDY THERMOMETERS ARE ACCURATE....... unfortunately the past two times I've relied soley on a candy thermometer...I have realized that the thermometer isn't working and the caramel is so hard you can't even eat it!

So, my suggestion is.......

Do the cold water test!

Drop a small spoonful of the hot liquid into a cup of cold water. Reach into the cold water and grab out the caramel mixture. If you can't pick it up because it is too runny, you know you aren't there yet. Let it cook longer and try again in a bit. Here is what you are looking for.... Something between Soft and Firm-Ball Stage.

(Here is what the stages should feel like, just so you know when you're getting close)
Soft-Ball Stage 235° F–240° F
"At this temperature, sugar syrup dropped into cold water will form a soft, flexible ball. If you remove the ball from water, it will flatten like a pancake after a few moments in your hand.
Fudge, pralines, and fondant are made by cooking ingredients to the soft-ball stage."

Firm-Ball Stage245° F–250°

"Drop a little of this syrup in cold water and it will form a firm ball, one that won’t flatten when you take it out of the water, but remains malleable and will flatten when squeezed. Caramels are cooked to the firm-ball stage."

Alright, once your caramel is the desired consistency, quickly pour it into a deep glass bowl. Now, you are ready to dip!
The sooner you dip the apples, the thinner your layer of caramel is going to be, because it will be more hot and will run off. If you let it set for like... a minute then start dipping, you'll get more caramel on there. It's really up to you. Of course, once it cools off too much, it gets so thick in the bowl that it is hard to dip the apples very well. If this happens, you can stick the bowl into the microwave for a few seconds to thin it out a little bit, then continue dipping.
For the best dipping coverage and smoothness, grab the stick, put the apple into the caramel at an angle, and turn it to cover it with caramel! Once it is fully covered to your liking, hold the stick strait up over the bowl so any excess caramel can drip into the bowl. Then, place the apple on the prepared tray to set.
Once all your apples are covered in caramel, you can coat them in whatever you want! If you want something like nuts directly on the caramel, put the nuts on before the caramel sets. Otherwise, you'll want the caramel to cool before dipping in chocolate.

Here are other options:
Chocolate! I just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, then either drizzle it on the apple, or dip it. Make sure when you are melting your chocolate that you don't do it too fast.... heat it at about 30 second intervals, stirring between each heating. If you just leave it in there long enough to melt it, it will burn.
White Chocolate! I use vanilla flavored Almond Bark. This is located in the baking section of the grocery store, by the other chocolate and stuff. I use this instead of actual white chocolate because it melts well and has a great consistency for dipping.
Nuts - almonds, pecans, peanuts....
Chopped up candy bars such as Snickers,
Cinnamon and sugar (put that on top of the white chocolate while it is still wet..... very good....).
Your options are endless really. Just have fun with it! Like I said, you can either completely dip the caramel apple in chocolate, or just drizzle it on with a spoon.
Cut slices off to serve and


Marianne said...

Those looks delicious! I've always wanted to make caramel apples but have been a little intimidated by the whole candy thermometer thing. I even bought apples and all the fixings this year to make them but never did it. I'll have to give it whirl.

Karen said...

Oh man, now I wish it was just melt caramels and call it good. Hmmm...I must admit, the whole candy thermometer is quite intimidating. Maybe if I get brave, I'll try it. Thanks for posting the recipe!

Bean said...

holy freaking crap those are beautiful!!!!!!!!

Outlandish McCandlish said...

Hay make sure you make some of these for the dessert auction at the boy scout spaggetti dinner. I will deffinetly bid on them

Karen said...

Hey, did I tell you I made this finally for my Christmas treat for friends this year. Turned out awesome! Thanks so much!