Last week for a youth activity at church we made caramel apples. That was the first time I had made caramel apples in 12 years.
You see the last time I made caramel apples – this is what happened….
Yes - my sweet, then 7 year old daughter bit into one of the caramel apples and it ripped a tooth right out of her mouth. The tooth was not even loose! Yikes!
I am not sure what recipe I used but I think I threw it away right then and there. Since that day I have only purchased caramel apples at my favorite candy store – Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. My favorite caramel apple they make is the apple pie one – dipped in caramel, covered in white chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar!
Well, after a somewhat positive experience last week with the church kids – at least no one lost a tooth, I decided I needed to conquer caramel apple making!
We had made caramel from scratch and it tasted great – we just had a hard time getting it to stick to the apples.
During a Facebook conversation (yes, I am one of those cool moms that has their own Facebook page) with my blogging friend Rhonda I discovered the secret to successful caramel apple making.
You see, Rhonda is experienced – she made dozens of caramel apples for her daughter’s wedding reception last year.
The top tip for making caramel apples according to Rhonda, who got the tip from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, is to sand the apples before dipping. Yes – use sandpaper to rough up the apple.
Guess what – it works!! I used a fine grade of sandpaper and then washed them and the caramel stuck great!!
If you are not up for caramel apple making be sure and try my recipe for Apple Dip!
So here are my Top Tips for Making Caramel Apples:
Step One: Rough up the apples with a fine grade of sandpaper, wash and insert stick (I used Popsicle sticks). Place on a cookie sheet. I lined mine with wax paper but did have a bit of a problem with the wax paper sticking – wax paper is edible, right?! Next time I would just place them directly on the cookie sheet.
Step Two: Make caramel. (recipe below) This time I tried a recipe for caramel shared by another blogging friend, Rachel. It was great! It uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. It made a nice smooth caramel. You must have a candy thermometer to make caramel from scratch and stir the pot constantly to prevent it from burning on the bottom. I also use a nice heavy pan – an older pressure cooker of my mothers works great!
We call caramel “patience candy” because you have to have patience stirring it and waiting for it to hit exactly the right temperature. But it’s worth it!
Step Three: Dip apples into caramel and allow to cool. (I placed mine in the refrigerator) I noticed as I was dipping and the caramel cooled that it stuck better to the apple so you may want to let the pot sit for a few minutes before you start dipping. Any left over caramel can be poured into a buttered pan and eaten as candy!
Step Four: Melt chocolate and/or almond bark and dip or drizzle on apples. I used milk chocolate and white chocolate. Quickly, after applying chocolate, sprinkle on the desired toppings. I used mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, rainbow sprinkles, crushed Oreo and chopped up Snickers. Nuts would also be great!
Step Five: Return to the refrigerator to set up
Step Six: Eat and enjoy!
I was able to dip 10 medium size granny smith apples and had enough caramel left over to fill an 8 x 8 greased pan.
2 C brown sugar
1 C corn syrup
1/2 C butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Combine the first 3 ingredients. After butter is melted stir in the milk.
Cook to soft ball (230degrees). Stir constantly.
Stir in 1 tsp vanilla.
Remove from heat. Dip apples into the caramel, then roll in nuts if desired.
Let set up on a cookie sheet. Place in refrigerator if needed. After completely cooled you can drizzle with chocolate and cover with toppings.
Suggested toppings: sprinkles, crushed Oreos, mini M & M’s, mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, crushed candy bars.