Remember in Good Will Hunting when Matt Damon asks “Do you like apples? How do you like them apples?” Well Matt, I'm glad you asked; I like my apples all dipped in caramel and chocolate please!
It was Tammy’s Birthday, so my friend Laura and I took her for lunch at a delicious Greek restaurant; where we sat outside for the first time in months! We finally have the South Florida weather that we all move here for; it’s 85 degrees and low humidity! After lunch we went to Tammy’s and made these Gourmet Caramel Apples! This is how my friends and I cut loose now a days, we get together and cook; we’re crazy I know (I’m the girl who likes to be in my jammies by 8 o’clock)!
We each had ideas of the perfect caramel apple. Laura likes just caramel with M&Ms, her girls like their caramel apples dipped in brown sugar and drizzled with white chocolate. Tammy and I have the same tastes; for the guys we dipped the caramel apples in milk chocolate and sprinkled with Heath Bits; for us we dipped the caramel apples in dark chocolate and sprinkled Fleur de Sel (sea salt).
We had used Granny Smith apples, because of their tartness they are the perfect partner to all that sweet caramel and chocolate. The caramel is creamy and soft, and with the chocolate and sprinkles these Gourmet Caramel Apples rival any that you can buy at the gourmet chocolate store (Do you know how much gourmet apples cost at those stores?)
Here's what your need for the caramel; I used Betty Crocker’s recipe. I only changed the cooking temperature because Betty said to cook it on low heat the whole time, and that was just to dang slow.
Wash and dry 12 Granny Smith apples.
Remove the stems and insert a wooden skewer or Popsicle stick.
We had lollipop sticks, which are not strong enough for an apple; don’t do as we did.
Put the apples in the refrigerator.
(Laura thought my pic should be in the blog, but I was wearing a sleeveless shirt. It's wasn't pretty, so hers and Tammy's picture made the blog instead...much prettier!)
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and coat the parchment liberally with cooking spray.
Mix the sugar, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a 4 quart sauce pan.
Give the mixture a stir with a wooden spoon.
Clip on a candy thermometer.
Cook over medium heat stirring slowly and constantly, until the thermometer reads 180 degrees.
Turn the heat to medium low and continue to stir slowly and constantly, until the thermometer reads 230 degrees.
Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Remove the apples from the refrigerator.
You need to work quickly so the caramel won’t set up before the apples are all covered. That’s why it’s great to make these with a friend or two.
Dip the apples one at a time into the caramel, swirling to completely cover the apple.
This is the Birthday Girl!
...unless you want your sprinkles set into the caramel; then you will go from the caramel directly into the sprinkles, and then place the apple on the prepared sheet pan. (Don’t do this if you are dipping the apples in chocolate.)
Once the caramel has set on the apples for a few minutes you can dip and swirl the apples in the chocolate and place the apples back on the sheet pan.
I found that by tipping the bowl of chocolate and swirling the apple, I got the best coverage.
Allow the chocolate to set about 10 minutes, and then sprinkle your sprinkles onto the chocolate.
Laura also drizzled chocolate on her apples!
Put into the refrigerator to set for at least 30 minutes before packing the apples into cellophane bags.
Keep the apples stored in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, leave the apples out on the counter for 15 minutes or so, to allow the caramel to get soft.
I like to slice my apples into wedges when I eat them so that every bite has some yummy caramel.
Makes 12 medium apples
12 Medium apples, Granny Smith works well
12 Wooden skewers or Popsicle sticks
2 cups Granulated sugar
1 cup Light corn syrup
2 cans Sweetened condensed milk, a can is 14 oz.
¼ tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
12 oz. Chocolate, *optional
Assorted sprinkles; such as heath bits, chopped nuts, M&Ms, marshmallows, sea salt *optional
1. Wash and thoroughly dry the apples.
2. Remove the stems and insert the skewer or Popsicle stick into the stem end.
3. Place the apples in the refrigerator.
4. Cover two sheet pans with parchment paper; coat the paper liberally with cooking spray.
5. In a 4 quart sauce pan, mix the sugar, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk and salt. Attach the candy thermometer and cook over medium heat while stirring with a wooden spoon, until the candy thermometer reads 180 degrees.
6. Turn the heat down to medium low; keep slowly stirring until the candy thermometer reaches 230 degrees.
7. Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
8. Remove the apples from the refrigerator.
9. Working quickly, dip the apples into the caramel, swirling to completely cover the apple.
10. Place the caramel covered apple on the prepared sheet pan.
11. *If you’re dipping the apples into chocolate, first allow the caramel to set on the apples for a few minutes.
12. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, in the microwave.
13. Dip the caramel apple into the bowl of melted chocolate, swirling to cover the about the bottom half of the apple.
14. Allow the chocolate to set for about 10 minutes; then sprinkle your favorite sprinkles over the chocolate.
15. Put the apples in the refrigerator to set for at least 30 minutes, before packing into cellophane bags.
16. Keep the apples stored in the refrigerator, but leave them out on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This allows the caramel to soften again.
**Note: If you want you can skip the chocolate,and just use the sprinkles; to do this dip the apple directly from the caramel into the sprinkles, then place on the sheet pan to set.
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