Last Thursday I was in charge of a caramel apple demonstration at church for Relief Society. I have never made a caramel apple before in my life! Shocking, right? I’m sure a bazillion of you have made caramel apples before, but I have not. I have eaten plenty, but never made any. This wasn’t just about teaching the women how to dip apples in caramel, it was a gourmet caramel class. When I was asked to take this assignment, I made sure they all knew that I had never done this before. They told me it was easy. OK.
So now I am here to tell you (those of you that were like me and had never done this before) that it is EASY and so fun! For years during the fall I have thought about doing caramel apples, but never have for lots of reasons.
I didn’t know how.
I thought it was hard.
I thought I had to have a perfect caramel recipe.
It seemed way too messy.
It is not hard at all! It may be a little bit messy, but nothing bad at all. That should say a lot coming from someone who seriously hates messes. After doing some research about the process of gourmet caramel apples I was ready to go. I had a practice day at home first.
I learned a lot from this site. My pictures are hit and miss, but I will show you what I learned and how I did it.
1. You first start with 8-10 small to medium sized apples. Granny Smith or Fuji are the best. I prefer Granny Smith. Smaller apples are better. They are easier to work with and it makes the caramel go further.
2. You have to wash them very well to get the wax off store bought apples. This helps the caramel stick better to the apple. There are a couple of ways you can do this. Dip them for a second in boiling water. Lightly sand them, or give them a baking soda bath, which is what I did. I filled up my sink with HOT water and poured some baking soda in. Then I scrubbed them with the rough side of my kitchen sponge and rinsed them in hot water.
3. I dried them with paper towels and then set them out to finish drying. They have to be completely dry. Which is why this should be your first step. They can dry while you prepare everything else.
4. Next, I got all of my supplies out and toppings prepared.
Supplies: apples, caramel (not pictured) sticks, toppings and wax paper. You can buy the sticks at any craft store, possibly any grocery store. I purchased mine at Walmart while I was there getting everything else. They were in the cake decorating isle. There are short, medium and long sticks to choose from. I bought the medium ones. I will get to the caramel in a minute.
As for the toppings…I went with chopped peanuts, M & M’s, Heath Bar bits (these were all ready in a bag by the chocolate chips) crushed Oreo’s, chopped pecans and miniature marshmallows. View the same site I mentioned earlier for other topping ideas.
5. Then it is time to put the sticks in the apples. You want to remove the apple stem first. Putting the stick in was a little bit tricky. Sometimes they were really difficult to push in and the stick would bend, but you can bend it back easily. The palm of my hand was starting to hurt from pushing the stick so hard. I got about half way through with the sticks when I realized that it didn’t have to hurt me like that. Sometimes it takes awhile for things to click! I used the rubber thingy that I use to open glass jars with to cushion my palm.
This helped a lot.
I’m sure a kitchen towel would work too.
Here they are.
The apples are ready, the toppings are prepared so now it is time to do the caramel.
6. You can melt the caramel in the microwave or on the stove. There are several different caramel recipes. Once again, I used this site to figure out which recipe I wanted. I opted not to go for homemade, but to go for easy. I bought the packages of Kraft Caramels.
Using the Kraft Caramels, you need to individually unwrap 2 24 oz. packages of caramels. Melt them on the stove at a medium heat with 4 Tbsp of milk. It says whole milk, but I used 2%. Just like it says to use a double broiler, but I didn’t. They worked fine. If you melt them in the microwave, follow the same instructions only stopping to stir every 30 seconds until melted.
7. Then it is time to dip the apples in the caramel. Dip them straight in to get as much apple covered as you can and then turn sideways to get the top edges better.
I put the caramel in this bowl to dip, but it would actually be much easier to dip them in the pot you use to melt the caramel on the stove with. The pot has a handle so you can rotate the caramel better and get better coverage plus you can put it back on the stove to keep warm in between apples. If you melt in the microwave use a big measuring glass or bowl that has a handle and you will be able to rotate the caramel better also. When you are done dipping the apple, pull it straight up and let the extra caramel drip off.
8. As soon as you are done dipping one apple, roll it in your topping right away. The caramel sets quickly.
I learned to have my wax paper on a plate ready to go in the fridge. You want to allow to set up in the fridge as soon as you are done topping it. If you top your apple with something heavy or big, like M & M’s or marshmallows and leave it on the counter to set up it will drip to the bottom and not stick. That was my experience. So they all went straight into the fridge.
9. After each apple was rolled in a topping and chilled in the fridge I drizzled them with milk chocolate or white chocolate. I melted the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave and then scooped them into their own zip lock bag and snipped a tiny corner off to drizzle with. This was the finishing touch.
Aren’t these so fun?
I was really happy with how they turned out.
They were so yummy and delicious too.
My kids were so excited when they got home from school that day and saw such an unexpected treat. I had all of my practice apples cut up on a plate ready to go.
They thought I was pretty awesome that day.
Some other things I learned was to chop up my M & M’s. I chopped them with my Pamper Chef Chopper. The M & M’s whole were too heavy. Also, read the tip on that site for dipping in chocolate after dipping in caramel. It sounds yummy! If you are going to do any of this with kids, I would DEFINITELY have it all prepared before you invite the kids to help. I am talking caramel done and everything. I don’t think it would be as enjoyable to have the kids in the kitchen for the whole thing. It actually sounds like a big fat headache to me!
I think this would be such a fun thing to do with or with out kids. I loved my day in the kitchen playing and learning something new. Having said that, I am going to give this a try with the kiddos this weekend. It’s time for us to start celebrating the holidays and I think this is a great start. Hopefully it doesn’t turn into a disaster. It will be interesting!
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