Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 26, 2006 10:55 PM

caramel apples without Kraft cubes

I recently have begun making my own caramel sauce for topping and as a layer for turtle brownies. Thought I'd venture deeper and try to coat apples since 'tis the season. The caramel was delicious but immediately rolled off the apples onto the parchment. The poor kids were trying to eat faster than the dripage (is that a word?)

Obviously, I need a thicker caramel. The recipe I used consisted of water, sugar, butter and cream. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. THE Best caramel apples...

    Note: My instructions are very detailed--really easy recipe.

    Caramel Apples with Butterfinger & Drizzled Chocolate

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 cup whole milk
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 cup sweetened condensed milk
    1 cup light corn syrup
    2 cups sugar
    3 teaspoons vanilla extract
    8 Granny Smith apples
    3 cups Butterfingers candy bar -- chopped
    (or M&Ms, Nuts, etc., or any topping)
    1 cup chocolate chips (semi, milk, white, or colored chocolate)
    1 - 2 teaspoons shortening, as necessary -- to thin chocolate for drizzling
    1 small cup ice water -- for testing caramel

    Remove stems and labels from apples; wash and dry well. Place sticks into top of apples and place onto foil-lined baking sheets. Pour topping(s) into wide bowls for to facilitate coating. {Note: Place foil into a 8" square baking dish then spray with a non-stick coating. Pour any extra caramel into the pan and spread to 1/2-inch thickness; let cool, then cut in small pieces and wrap in waxed paper--makes delicious caramels!}

    {Note: Make sure your thermometer is accurate by testing it in boiling water. It should read 212 degrees.}

    In a very large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the butter, whole milk, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, light corn syrup, and sugar. (It will boil up and expand so you need a very large pot!) Stir regularly until mixture thickens, then stir constantly until caramel reaches 238-240 degrees. When mixture reaches 238 degrees, test for "doneness" by placing a blob of the caramel into the ice water; you want it firm, but pliable.

    Meanwhile, heat a wide saucepan (wide enough to fit the pan with the caramel) with 2-3 inches of water to create a bain marie. This will keep the caramel hot while coating the apples.

    When the caramel reaches the proper firmness (238-240 degrees), stir in the vanilla. Place pan filled with caramel into the bain marie to keep caramel workable while dipping the apples. Dip each apple into the caramel, letting excess drip off, then coat with Butterfingers, or other topping(s). Place apples onto baking sheet to cool.

    If desired, melt chocolate with a teaspoon of shortening, in the microwave. Heat in 1 minute increments, stirring after each minute, until chocolate is melted and thin enough to drizzle. (Add another teaspoon of shortening if the chocolate mixture is too thick.) Over a large piece of foil on the counter, use a fork to whisp chocolate decoratively over each apple. Allow several hours for chocolate to harden.

    (Note to me: If doubling this recipe, you can heat the caramel over medium-high heat UNTIL is begins to thicken. Then turn temperature to medium or caramel with burn.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Funwithfood

      The corn syrup is what makes for a firmer caramel that "sets up" without the sugar granulating & the caramel getting hard & turning into toffee...

    2. Thanks for the recipe and advice, Funwithfood. I've also been making fudge which I've always done without a candy thermometer. Since the results have been tasty, but inconsistent in terms of firmness, I recently bought a thermometer and the 2 batches I made with its "help" were too soft and one too firm (I feel a bit like Goldilocks!)

      What does all of this have to do with you, you ask? Well, I tested the thermometer upon your advice and found it was way off!! It's a Pyrex and and brand new, though inexpensive. I broke my vow to never make goodies that require thermometers and now I'm remembering why I made it!

      So, do I begin a hunt for a better thermometer or just give up on fudge?! Things that make you go hummmmm. I do want to give your caramel a try so I think I off to Linens N Things..

      1. Thermopen is the way to go.

        1. Epicurious has a good recipe:

          As for thermometers, I've gone through a lot of them. I just bought a digital one that can be used for candy-making, too. It's the Taylor Professional model, and it worked very well for the turtles I made today.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

            I just made this recipe over the weekend - excellent.

          2. So, with my 20% off coupon in hand I headed off to Linens and purchased a Taylor digital thermometer although I did hesitate and waver over whether or not to stick with the long, flat clip on original. Tested it at home (thanks again Funwithfood) found it accurate and began a batch of caramel with your recipe. Oh my goodness........forget the apples. I wanted to simply eat it off the spatula! Made caramels with the extra, sprinkled with toffey pieces and a bit of shaved bittersweet chocolate and I'm in heaven.

            Thanks to all of you for the help. I think we have a winner. I will probably sick with this recipe to make the caramel layer for my turtle brownies.

            By the way, Chocolatechipkt, you are my hero! Homemade turtles! I'm so impressed. This is my all time favorite chocolate candy! I'd never even dare to make them, especially after finding perfection in Gloucester MA, Turtle Alley.

            3 Replies
            1. re: tweetie

              Thanks Tweetie! They're not really hard -- the biggest pain was arranging all the nuts, lol. There's a pic on my blog. Glutton for punishment that I am, I made more caramel yesterday to top some cupcakes. The caramel turned out fine, though my fingers are a little pinker today. :)

              Are you from Gloucester? I've got lots of family up that way.

              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                Hi Chocolatechipkt
                What's the name of your blog? I did a quick google and found lots of you on other sites but not your own. We live northwest of Boston so Gloucester is an easy 30 minutes or so away...much too close to those killer turtles for my own good! I'll bet yours are fabulous too. What do you do for chocolate and which caramel recipe do you use? Now you've got me thinking......

                1. re: tweetie


                  I usually use Scharffenberger or Ghirardelli chocolate. Towards the holidays I tend to buy the big hunks of Callebaut or Valrhona, but it also depends on what I'm making, yk?