Super-Duper Deluxe Caramel Apples
Happy Halloween, all you ghosts and ghouls!
Do you guys have anything fun planned for this evening? Trick-or-treating? Or maybe you’re waiting for the weekend to don your costumes and party hard? I’ve got sad news to share… there will be no major halloween-ing for me this year. No cool costumes… no roaming house to house in search of tasty treats… no crazy parties. There was, however, a bit of magic happening in the kitchen. I pulled out my cauldron, got a special brew a-boilin’, and threw together some of the most scarily scrumptious caramel apples ever!
All you’ll need to recreate this magic potion are several super simple ingredients. In fact, I bet most of you witches and warlocks already have them sitting around your pantry: apples, cream, brown sugar, honey, and butter. Tada! This recipe substitutes honey for the standard high-fructose corn syrup. I chose to do this because A) we don’t have corn syrup here (that I know of) and B) I just don’t like using it. The caramel coating does end up tasting a bit like honey… so if this is a problem for you, go ahead and stick with the corn syrup.
Ingredients for super-duper deluxe caramel apples (makes more than enough to feed 8 hungry monsters):
- 4 apples (I used Jonagold just ’cause they’re my favorite)
- 1 cup of cream
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of honey (or corn syrup)
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- Chocolate (optional)
- Walnuts (optional)
As always, please feel free to add any other bits and pieces… everything from chocolate chips to peanuts, reeses pieces to shredded coconut.
First things first, dip your apples in very hot water for about 15 seconds before scrubbing them thoroughly with a sponge. This will get rid on any waxy residue that comes with nearly all store-bought produce. Since caramel sticks best to cold apples, allow them to sit in the fridge for at least an hour.
In a thick-bottomed pan, warm the cream over a medium heat. Add the brown sugar and honey, stirring regularly until the sugar has completely dissolved. Now it’s time to add the four tablespoons of butter. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly to avoid any crystallization and/or burning.
Your caramel will be pretty frothy at first, but after about 10 minutes of boiling and stirring, you should start to see a bubbling rich brown liquid that closely resembles the color and texture of caramel sauce. Once you reach this stage of the cooking process, you can start doing a nifty “cold water testing” method that I read about online.
The cold water testing basically eliminates any need you might have for a candy thermometer. Rather than rely on a thermometer for readings, you simply spoon a tiny amount of your caramel into a bowl of cold water, let it cool for several seconds, and then see if you can roll the caramel into a decently firm ball. If you cook your caramel too little, it will roll right off of your apple… too long and you’ll get something along the likes of peanut brittle. Once your caramel doesn’t just smoosh around in your hands and you can roll it into a nice ball, it’s ready for coating!
Butter a small square of aluminum foil before skewering your apples with anything you’d like… sharpened twig, chopstick, bbq skewer, magic wand. Once the caramel has stopped bubbling, place the apple over the pot of caramel. Spoon the warm caramel onto the apple until it is evenly coated.
If you want to add any extra goodies to your apples, now is the time to do it! While the caramel is still soft, roll the apples in your desired mixture (I used dark chocolate chips and chopped walnuts) before placing them on top of the aluminum foil to harden.
This next step is optional, but boy is it tasty! It makes me dream of the small caramel apple shop near my college campus in San Diego… *drool*. Once your caramel is completely hardened, melt about 1/3 of a bar of chocolate in a pan before drizzling it over the apples. I used milk chocolate… and white chocolate. But that’s because I’m a chocoholic.
Leave your super-duper deluxe caramel apples in the fridge for a few hours to harden before digging in! I find that these taste best (and are a whole lot less messy) when cut into slices before eating. So yummy!!!
So, instead of going door to door begging for candy, I’m comfy cozy at home enjoying a slice or two… or three of these creepily crunchy concoctions!
Stay safe, everyone, and have a wonderful time… whatever mischief you might be getting into :)