Caramel apple recipe?
- Carb Lover
Caramel apples don't seem to be as easy to improvise as I thought. A couple of years ago, I tried to whip up caramel apples late at night when my sweet tooth called. I remember making the caramel w/ sugar and water and then adding some cream or half and half at the end. I think I added butter once. One time the caramel set really hard and became brittle; another time it was a bit too runny.
I don't think this is anything complicated, but I want a good basic recipe for caramel that will be ideal for coating pippin apples. Something that will set nicely and have a little sheen, but be soft enough to sink your teeth into. Kind of like the caramel apples you buy at Disneyland.
Any tips for dipping and coating w/ other toppings are appreciated. I would use a chopstick to skewer if just for me, but where do I buy the right wooden dowels to give away as gifts? Thanks!
The best caramel recipe I have uses sweetened condensed milk along with the sugar, water and I think corn syrup. The recipe may be on the label of the condensed milk can. The butter is added at the last minute to help produce that sheen.
You can always just melt the caramel candies and dip the apples. I love to dip into caramel (a few coats to make it really thick- allow to dry between coats) then dip into the best dark chocolate you can find (a few coats) then roll into roasted pecans... heavenly!
the martha stewart recipe is on her website. a friend and i tried it a couple halloweens ago, and it was very good but not necessarily worth the extra effort vs. melting kraft caramels. you definitely need to watch it closely and use a candy thermometer to keep it from being too hard or too soft.
p.s. we also tried using twigs as stems, like the in the photo with martha's recipe. unfortunately we live in southern california and none of our trees produce twigs strong enough to hold up the apples.
I've seen fairly cheap dowels at Pearl Arts. This leads me to believe that your local Michael's or Joann's might have them.
Or, go to Home Depot and get really long dowels of the right thickness. Cut, and sharpen in a pencil sharpener (but not too sharp! You might have to whittle them down a little with a nail file for safety's sake).
Besides taking the shortcut ( prewrapped caramels) we usually toast coconut and chopped macadamia nuts (or any nut we have on hand) to roll the dipped apples in. You could go and have mini choco chip morsels too, but I find the choco distracts me a little too much from the caramel. An added benefit to rolling apples in coconut and nuts, you can package them in individual cellophane bags and they don't get stuck.
Another helpful thing about a bag of caramels from the store, they usually have sticks in the bag too.
tip 1- use smallish apples(I like small Fujis myself, they stay crunchy, are sweet but also slightly tart.), a regular sized caramel apple always seems a little too much at one sitting. I think most people just gnaw off the outer layer of candy and leave most of the inner apple to turn brown anyhow. It would be pretty cute to make crab apple caramel apples. I can see it now....
tip 2 - Have pre-cut 3"x 3" pieces of parchment paper ready for each apple to stand on and set.
tip 3 - If you are wacky anal about having perfectly matched apples on a table with all of their sticks pointing straight up, place the undipped apple on a flat surface first, let it tilt or what have you and then stab the popsicle stick straight down through the middle. (yes, this was an issue for someone I was "dipping" with at one time)
tip 4 - If you have plenty of apples but are short on caramel. Try not to thickly cover the bottom of the apple, you know, the part that no one eats but is just FILLED with caramel goodness. Once you stand it on its piece of parchment you can't tell it's not thickly covered anyhow.
And last but not least, I think all caramel apples should be given with a "wet nap" packet attached.