Recipe: Old-Fashioned Caramel Apples
Caramel apples have become a hallmark of the fall season. Many stores offer caramel apple kits that are convenient, but have the "store-bought" taste. Making caramel apples from scratch is much more rewarding. Not only is home-made caramel richer tasting, but the process is also great for getting into the mood of the season.
Granny Smith apples, Fuji apples, or Pink Ladies are great choices for this recipe because their slight tanginess balances out the caramel’s sweetness. Due to its richness, eating the entire dipped apple can be quite a challenge, especially for kids. Therefore, it is a smart idea to use lunchbox-sized apples to eliminate waste.
-1½ cups sugar
-1/2 cup light corn syrup
-1/2 cup heavy cream (Products with the label “heavy whipping cream” work fine. However, do not use regular “whipping cream,” as this will curdle, making your caramel a mess.)
Step 1: Wash and dry apples thoroughly. Then insert a wooden dowel or craft stick deep into each apple to create a strong handle.
Step 2: In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar into the corn syrup on medium-high heat. Once melted, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon regularly. After a few minutes, the mixture will start to darken into a light gold color. Continue cooking, stirring regularly until it is a rich copper color. Then slowly add the heavy cream, and stir constantly. The cream will sputter in the pan, so take caution. Turn off the heat and stir briefly before transferring the caramel into a heat-proof bowl. (Note: the caramel will continue to darken past the copper color if cooked a few moments too long. If it reaches a true brown color, it is burned and will taste bitter.)
Step 3: After letting the caramel sit for a few minutes, begin dipping the apples, twirling as necessary to get an even coat. Set the dipped apples on a Silpat, or use good parchment paper on a baking sheet if a Silpat is unavailable. Allow the apples to sit at least 20 minutes before serving. This recipe is sufficient for about 8 lunchbox-sized apples. (Note: In Step 3, replacing the heat-proof bowl for a double-boiler is a smart idea to keep the caramel workable when doing a large amount of apples.)