Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Caramel Apples

With Halloween approaching, it seemed appropriate to post some caramel apples. Yes, you can just buy a tub of caramel from the store. But this caramel is naturally delicious (and by natural, I mean no corn syrup, no preservatives, no sugar. It's just cream, honey and salt. Simple), and if you have about 40 minutes to spare, you might decide not to go back to the pre-packaged stuff.

If you happen to have a candy thermometer, this will be a lot easier. If you don't, fill a glass with cold water, and periodically drop a small amount of caramel in the glass (you'll need to change the water each time you do). If the caramel turns into a ball when it hits the water, it's ready. If it swirls around in the cup, it's not ready. If it turns into a rock solid mass, you've probably cooked it too long...hurry and eat it before it solidifies!

And finally, I've always loved the combination of caramel and apples, but hated eating them on a stick. There's just no getting around the messiness factor. But slicing the apples and then dunking them in one at a time is not nearly as visually appealing. So my very wise friend Kate suggested dipping the entire apple in the caramel, letting it set a few minutes, and then, once you're ready to eat them, cut one large slice from each side of the apple, leaving the core behind, and you with a perfect coat of caramel. Yum.

Caramel Apples
Recipe from
Pictures by Caroline

6 small apples, unwaxed*
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup honey

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I actually used aluminum foil). If serving on a stick, push a lollipop or popsicle stick deep into each apple - in through the stem. Fill a large bowl 1/2 full with ice water and set aside.
  2. In a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan heat the cream and salt until tiny bubbles start forming where the milk touches the pan - just before a simmer. Stir in the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil. Now reduce the heat to an active simmer and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15-20 minutes minutes or until the mixture reaches about 255-260F degrees (just barely in the hard ball stage).
  3. To stop the caramel from cooking, very, very carefully set the bottom of the saucepan in the bowl of cold water you prepared earlier. Stir until caramel begins to thicken up - you want the caramel to be thin enough that it will easily coat your apples, but not so thin that it will run right off. If the caramel thickens too much simply put the pot back over the burner for 10 seconds or so to heat it up a bit.
  4. Tilt your sauce pan so all the caramel forms a pool on one side, and use your other hand to dunk and twirl each apple until it is thoroughly coated with caramel.
  5. Place each apple on the parchment lined baking sheets and allow the caramel to cool and set.
*If you buy your apples at the grocery store, they will inevitably be waxed, which means the caramel will slip right off when you dip the apples in. If you buy your apples from a farmer's market or pick your own, you can avoid this.


Jessie said...

I look forward to trying this. What type of honey did you use? Do you think creamy honey would work?

two little chefs said...

We used a mild clover honey. I'm not sure, but I feel like using creamy honey might mess with the carmelization process. But if you do try it, let us know how it goes!

Brad said...

Oh man, these are dangerous. They are so tasty that pretty soon you find you are just eating the carmel straight out of the pan.

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