foodHolidays

Caramel Apples: The Perfect Fall Treat

By September 26, 2016 No Comments

Autumn has officially begun, but Texas is sloooow to get the message (as I type this it’s overcast and 68 degrees so YAY…but we all know it could be 100 degrees tomorrow.)

Temperatures may not be cooperating but that didn’t stop the Curtis Family from our annual tradition of making caramel apples! This is a HUGE deal in our house…the kids literally race to the kitchen. There is a job for everyone. The 3 year old unwraps caramels (eating as he goes) while the 16 year old melts chocolate on the stove. Everyone gets in on the action. If you are looking to create a fall tradition that the whole family will enjoy look no further. Light the pumpkin spice candle, gather your tribe and make memories that will last a lifetime.

There are caramel apples and then there are caramel apples. I’m sure you’ve seen those amazingly beautiful gourmet caramel apples at places like Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. But who wants to shell out $8 for a piece of fruit (who knows how long that apple has been sitting on the shelf) when you can make some fresh ones of your own? Here is the recipe we follow along with some tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years (you’re welcome).

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Gourmet Caramel Apples

Making dipped apples isn’t complicated, but I can tell you it’s soo much easier with a few tricks. Don’t skip this prep…your apples will thank me.

Tip #1: Wash your apples and dry them completely. If they’ve been in the refrigerator let them come to room temperature. Go ahead and place the sticks in the apples (see note about stick options and how to insert them below)

Tip #2: Have your toppings ready to go before you even start. Crushed, chopped and in separate shallow bowls.

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Ingredients

–1 bag Kraft caramels or Kraft Caramel Bits (we didn’t have any on hand but they are a game changer because you don’t have to unwrap them. Highly recommend!)

–About 4-5 large, tart apples (I use Granny Smith…the tartness cuts through all the sweet on the outside of the apple)

–Desired toppings; could use crushed candy bars and cookies (I’ve used Twix, Snickers, Butterfinger, Heathbar, Oreos and Shortbread {yum}), chopped nuts like peanuts, cashews, or macadamias, toasted coconut, course sea salt, melted white and semisweet chocolate; the sky’s the limit here!

–Popsicle sticks (or you can get fancy-schmancy like we did and go on a “stick hunt” for real sticks. Be sure to boil, scrub and let the sticks dry completely before using. When using real sticks it helps to make an initial “pilot” hole with a dowel before pushing the real stick in. Make sure the stick goes about halfway down into the apple. **You can get a big bag of popsicle sticks in the craft section of the grocery store or any store that sells candy-making supplies.

Directions

1. Wash, dry and insert a stick in the top of each apple; apples must be completely dry before you dip them in caramel.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt caramel according to package directions.

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3. Line a baking sheet pan with a generous piece of wax or parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

4. When caramel is melted, quickly dip each apple and place on wax paper. The easiest way to ensure even caramel distribution is to dip the apple and then tilt it at an angle so it starts to get close to the top of the apple. Just be careful to not get any on your hand {ouch}. If it does get on your hand, DO NOT LICK IT! Burnt tongues cannot taste delicious apples. Not that we speak from experience or anything… 🙂

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5. Place the sheet pan of dipped apples in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP! Cold apples will handle a second dip in hot melted chocolate much better. While the apples chill melt various chocolates (we used white chocolate and semisweet) in a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave (follow package directions).

6. Grab the apples out of the freezer and give them a second dip in melted dark or white chocolate. Working in the order that you dipped the apples, quickly roll apples in desired toppings. If the chocolate is really starting to cool, you may need to press the toppings into the chocolate to get them to stick.

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7. If desired, dip a fork in melted chocolate or white chocolate and fling it over the apples (just don’t fling it all over your kitchen)

8. When cool, store apples in refrigerator until chocolate is hardened. They will be fine in the fridge for about 2 days, but after that, some moisture will creep underneath the caramel and start to slip away from the apple.

These gourmet apples make awesome gifts! Just spray the inside of a cellophane treat bag (link) with non-stick cooking spray and place a hardened apple inside. Tie with some twine and viola…you will make someone’s day for sure! This one put a smile on Tracy’s (our Creative Director) face at work.

whitechocolatecaramelapple

You can also cut them in slices and display them on a tray to serve at your next fall gathering. Sure to be a hit!

So while we all wait patiently for fall to arrive in TX enjoy the cool days, your family and CARAMEL APPLES!

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