Our beautiful fall days…I hate to say are numbered. I took this picture just this past weekend leaving my apartment. Who says the Bronx isn’t pretty!? Get your fill Leaf peepers because soon the last of the green leaves will have turned yellow, and soon be gone.
So what an easy way to get fall in your kitchen then Caramel dipped apples. Now you can buy the pack of dip that you just microwave, or you could try one of the easier recipes that calls for melting caramel candies. I appreciate short cuts but sometimes I prefer the recipe with a few extra steps– it always teaches you something you didn’t know. In this case you will make your own homemade caramel. If you have left overs from dipping you can easily store and reheat and use on ice cream, or as a garnish for just about anything. Don’t want the mess of dipping apples? Slice up your apples and just use the caramel like fondue.
This recipe comes from FoodNetwork.com
8 macintosh apples (or your favorite variety)
8 lollipop sticks or chop sticks
2 cups light brown sugar
1c pure maple syrup
1/3 c light corn syrup
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (4 tbsp)
Wash the apples well and dry. They should be at room temperature when you go to dip so make sure to not to store in the refrigerator. Twist the stem to remove. Sometimes it’s not possible to totally pull them out. Insert candy sticks or chop sticks deep into the center of the apples where the stems were, or just to the side of the stems if you are not able to remove. Make sure to use sticks that are heavy-duty. My lollipop sticks worked but could have been a little thicker in relation to how big the apples were.
Allow mixture to boil. The recipe states that you should not stir, but swirl. I found myself stirring with the candy thermometer here and there. Once the combination begins to bubble it rises significantly in the pan, making swirling relatively hard to do. Be careful not to scrape the sides on the bowl. Your aim is to boil until the caramel registers at 250 degrees– the hard ball stage on a candy thermometer. Many times when you are making candy– and in this case caramel counts, you want to make sure that the sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan don’t get mixed back into the sugar mixture you are boiling. I’m not totally certain that this isn’t why you shouldn’t stir but I have a feeling its part of the chemistry of achieving the right consistency of caramel so try your best to withstand the urge to stir.
Once the caramel has hit 250 degrees remove from heat and add the unsalted butter and mix. I let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes before dipping, though it was still very hot when I dunked the apples.
I was expecting a slightly milkier color, as opposed to a thin gloss, but as the caramel dries it looks more hardy. You can also dunk your apples a second time after they have completely set. Most likely you’ll have to warm the caramel again.
After dunking let the excess drain over the pan. Place on either a cooky sheet covered in wax paper or I recommend a cooling wrack over a cookie sheet. If you want to add a topping to the apples roll immediately in cookie crumbs — Nilla waffers, graham crackers, or ginger snaps are good. Sprinkles, chopped chocolate, or chopped nuts are all favorites too.