Homemade Caramel Apples are one of our favorite fall treats – covered with soft, chewy and sweet buttery caramel. Made fresh at home with buttery caramels, heavy cream, and all of your favorite toppings, these tasty caramel apples are easy to make and decorate, and great for holidays, parties and gifting. Perfect recipe to try after your autumn trip to the apple orchard!
This family-favorite recipe is one that we've been enjoying for years now. We just love fall, and trips to the apple orchard, and all of the delicious things to make with the many bags of assorted apple varieties we bring home each year.
Homemade Caramel Apples are the things dreams and memories are made of! Fresh apples, with a generous coat of rich, buttery and sweet caramel. The little ones all race to open up the caramels, and it truly is a family event!
If you've ever purchased a pre-made caramel apple, you know that it is always a challenge to pick up one that has some quality and freshness, and ALWAYS unbelievably expensive! If you care about using fresh apples, want just the perfect amount of thick, gooey caramel - just know that double dipping is allowed!
And if you're partial to sprinkles or drizzles, or anything else that can make your homemade caramel apple even more delicious, starting with your own homemade caramel apple gives you a great place to show your creativity.
I'll bet Snow White couldn't resist one of these - and neither can we! Hope you enjoy as well!
6 small granny smith apples (about 2 pounds total)
15 oz. caramels (Werther's Chewy*)
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: mini M&M’s, sprinkles, chopped candy corn, shredded coconut, crushed pretzels, marshmallow bits (these are found with sundae toppings and are smaller than mini-marshmallows), crushed cookies (Halloween Oreos, Nutter Butter), chopped candy bars (Snickers or Butterfingers), toffee bits, chopped nuts (peanuts or pecans) or sprinkle with sea salt.
OPTIONAL DRIZZLE: You can also dip or drizzle caramel apples with melted chocolate and top with sprinkles - just make sure that your caramel is cool and set before doing this!
HOW I MAKE THESE:
1. Dip apples in boiling water for 10 seconds, then rinse and thoroughly dry apples with a soft towel, buffing each apple to remove any remaining wax residue. Line a baking pan with a soft kitchen towel, place the clean and dry apples in the pan, and refrigerate overnight. The soft towel will capture any condensation on the apples, which makes it easier for the caramel to adhere the next day.
2. The next day, remove apples from refrigerator right before preparing. Twist out the apple stem and insert a caramel apple stick, popsicle stick or lollipop stick.
3. Having toppings ready if you'll be adding to the apples after dipping.
4. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking sheet or baking dish with a sheet of parchment paper; spray parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray, set in the fridge.
5. Place caramels and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl (about 5 cup size bowl).
6. Heat in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well between intervals, until melted and smooth. This will take about 2 - 3 minutes. Let it cool just briefly so it doesn't run right off the apples.
7. Dip apples one at a time into caramel on an angle so it covers nearly to the top center. Rotate and turn to coat apple. Lift apple and let excess run off, then run bottom of apple along inside edge of bowl to remove excess caramel. Lift apple and turn apple upside down to let caramel run up the apple a little, hold this way for about 30 seconds.
8. If you are using toppings or sprinkles, immediately roll the center of the apple in toppings before the caramel sets, or sprinkle toppings on by hand while twirling the apple. Don’t worry about dipping the bottom third of the apple – the weight of the toppings will cause the caramel to slide down slightly on the apples, giving you a perfectly covered apple.
9. Turn apples upright and place on prepared baking sheet in fridge, repeat process with remaining apples. As needed reheat caramel in microwave in 15 second increments for a dip-able consistency.
10. Allow caramel to set completely, at least 1 hour in the fridge (you can eat them before this but if you want caramel to firm back up the wait at least 1 hour).
11. If desired, cut apples into slices just when ready to enjoy so they don't brown.
YIELD: 6 caramel apples
· The math is easy for this recipe – allow one 5 oz. bag of Werther Chewy Caramels and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream for every 2 small apples. If you are dipping LARGE apples, you may need double the amount of caramel.
· Let’s talk apples. You can use any variety of apple (Granny Smith, Fuji or Honeycrisp), but Granny Smith are our favorite for caramel apples because they’re tart, which pairs perfectly with sweet buttery caramel. Look for apples that are small to medium size, as perfectly round as you can find, and firm with no soft spots.
· I prefer Werther’s Chewy Caramels – traditional Kraft Caramels work too, but we much prefer the taste of Werther’s. I don't recommend using Werther's "Soft" caramels - I've tried and the caramel melts off of the apples even if you refrigerate right away.
· The caramel mixture can also be melted on the stove top in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (if you'd prefer not to use the microwave or don't have one available).
· COLD apples with no trace of wax or residue hold the caramel best!
Once the caramel is set, you can wrap the caramel apples in cellophane for travel or gifting. Sweetest homemade gift around!
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