One of the best fall traditions is the caramel apple, and nothing beats the homemade variety. I decided the safest time to make a batch was when I could take most of it to my daughter and her roommates. This way I could keep just one to fulfil my craving. They do have apples, and don’t they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away?—I reason then that they must be a health food.
Gather the Ingredients
It is best to gather all the necessary ingredients and tools together before you begin. The recipe calls for constant stirring and quick action when it comes to temperature.
Caramel Apple Ingredients
Wash and Prepare the Apples
Begin by washing and drying about 12-14 small apples. I like a tart apple for caramel apples, Granny Smith or Cortland work nicely. Place the stick through the center of the core. I used kabob skewers that I cut a little shorter. They are not ideal because they are a little flimsy, but most grocery stores will carry them. Okay, you are probably wondering why I bought a bag of apples to make these–what happened to all the apples I have grown? Well, I have 100% organic apples. That means that occasionally there are worms in my apples. That is not a problem when they are cut open to bake, eat, or make cider but not appreciated as a surprise when biting into a caramel apple!
Apples Ready to Be Dipped in Caramel
Next, I cut squares of wax paper. You can place the apples on a buttered cookie sheet, but I like to put them on individual squares of wax paper that I can wrap them in once they are set.
Now it is time to take a look at what we need for the caramel apples:
12-14 small apples
½ cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-quart heavy bottom pan
Step by Step
Melt the butter in the pan. Add sugar, corn syrup, and a dash of salt—mix. Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
Making the Caramel
Add sweetened condensed milk and bring back up to boil, stir constantly.
Watch the Temperature and Stir, Stir, Stir
Continue to cook and stir mixture until it reaches 245 degrees on the candy thermometer.
Dip the apples into the caramel sauce to coat. If you want to add chopped peanuts or other coating do it immediately after dipping. This is not a good time to stop and take photos of your creations. As you can see from my photos the caramel started to get a little more set up than it should have been, and my apple are not as beautiful as usual. They have some bubbles and ridges from me pouring the thickening caramel over them.
Wait, Just a Little Longer!
After dipping each apple, place it on its wax paper square and wait. Was it Tom Petty that said the “Waiting is the Hardest Part…”?
Extra Caramel? — No Problem
I did not have enough apples, so I knew I would have extra caramel. Using spray oil, I sprayed a 9×9 pan and then poured the remainder of the caramel in to it. After this cooled I dumped it out onto a cutting board and cut it into bite sized squares. I wrapped each of these into small pieces of wax paper and twisted the ends. Beware, these are habit-forming and do not carry the same health benefits as the caramel coated apple😊
Finished, All That is Left is the Taste Test
Once the caramel on the apples has cooled, pull the four corners of the wax paper together around the stick and put a small piece of tape or if you want to be fancy use raffia or ribbon to hold them in place. At this point it would be advisable to eat one, just to be sure they are good and worth giving as gifts! Enjoy, this is what fall tastes like—when it doesn’t taste like pumpkin pie spice that is.