Caramel Apples

Yields 10

10 small Granny Smith Apples
1 recipe Homemade Caramel, recipes follows
12 oz. milk chocolate or white chocolate chips*
Assorted toppings for coating, see list below
10 craft sticks or twigs

Insert 1 craft stick vertically through the center of each apple, set apples aside. Butter two 13×9 pans, and make enough space in the refrigerator for them to sit evenly. 
Prepare Homemade Caramel as directed and allow to cool about 10 – 13 minutes then immediately dip apples in caramel (note: from my experience this caramel doesn’t reheat well, so with that said you basically get one chance to dip so don’t let the caramel cool too long and work quickly when dipping, you may even want to have a friend help to be able work quicker). If you want to make yours to look like the ones pictured (with the apple showing through the center on top) then tilt apple when dipping and don’t fully immerse apple in the caramel, then carefully swirl the apple to coat all edges. Lift apple and let some of the excess caramel drip off and run the bottom of the apple along the inside edge of the pan. Tilt apple upside down and swirl just until the caramel is about to run off, then immediately turn upright and transfer to buttered baking dish in refrigerator. Repeat process with remaining apples, be sure to space them a bit apart on baking dish so they don’t stick together. Allow caramel coated apples to set in refrigerator.
Heat chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power, in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Using an icing spatula or butter knife, coat edges with melted chocolate and immediately sprinkle with desired toppings. Return to refrigerator to allow chocolate to set. Serve at room temperature and store in the refrigerator in airtight containers or Ziploc bags.

*Blocks of chocolate can also be used, just chop into small, uniform pieces to ensure even melting. Also, I highly recommend using quality chocolate (chips or blocks) such as Guittard, Ghirardelli or Godiva (any of the G’s =). The lower quality chips don’t melt as well and tend leave that dull residue when they set.

Homemade Caramel

1 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large enameled cast iron pot, combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and 1 cup heavy cream. Heat mixture to a boil just over medium heat (the 6 of an electric stove), stirring frequently. Once mixture has reached a boil, stir in remaining one cup heavy cream. Then without stirring,(again just slightly over medium heat) bring mixture to exactly 239 degrees then immediately remove from heat (this should take around 20 – 25 minutes). Carefully pour caramel into a medium nonstick saucepan and stir in vanilla (transferring caramel to another pan helps it cool faster and will leave behind some of the little brown specs at the bottom of the cast iron pan. You don’t have to transfer it but if you don’t just allow the caramel to cool a little longer than the 10 minutes). Allow to cool 10 minutes before dipping apples.

Coating Ideas

To crush, place ingredients in a ziploc bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin. I probably make these too much because I’ve started naming them =). When I listed the white or milk chocolate chips I’m referring the which type of melted chocolate to coat them with.

  • Crushed Oreos with white chocolate chips – Cookies and Cream 
  • Crushed Oreos with milk chocolate chips – Cookie Fudge 
  • Crushed Butterfingers – Candy Bar Apple
  • Chopped nuts, such as pecans, almonds or peanuts – Nutty
  • Sliced or chopped almonds and poppy seeds with white chocolate – Almond Poppyseed 
  • Chopped dried cranberries & chopped walnuts or pecans with white chocolate chips – Christmas Apple
  • Sprinkles – Every Kids Favorite
  • Crushed graham crackers or graham cracker pie crust & a little cinnamon & nutmeg with white chocolate chips – Apple Pie
  • Crushed sugar cones or waffle cones with white chocolate chips – Ice Cream Apple
  • Chopped mini marshmallows & optional chopped nuts with milk chocolate chips – Rocky Road
  • Crushed pretzels – Salted Caramel
  • Crushed shortbread with milk chocolate chips – The Twix 
  • Crushed lavender & vanilla bean with white chocolate chips – The Gourmet

…or whatever else you can come up with.

Recipe Source: Caramel Apples – Cooking Classy, Homemade Caramel – adapted

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