Obviously, I’ve been on a cooking kick this weekend. First the cauliflower soup, then homemade dog biscuits, and I just finished making some delicious (if I do say so myself) caramel-dipped apples. These are a fall favorite. I put a tray of them in the refrigerator (they’ll keep about a week – if you can keep your hands off them that long) and then slice one up for dessert, or eat an entire one if I’m feeling piggish.
One tip: this recipe calls for using a clip-on candy thermometer. If you don’t have one, it’s worth the trip to the store to pick one up. My thermometer broke last fall and I neglected to replace it, so I thought I’d “wing it” today. Everything tastes great, but I think the caramel boiled too long, so it hardened up really quickly and was a little difficult to work with.
Let me know if you make these – maybe we can swap a taste-test?
(from a 1999 issue of Bon Appetit, courtesy of Epicurious.com)
1 lb. box of dark brown sugar
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dark molasses
¼ teaspoon salt
12 apples (I always use Granny Smith – love the crisp crunch and tartness)
12 sticks or chopsticks
Melted chocolate, dark and/or white (optional)
Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, etc. (optional)
- Combine first eight ingredients in heavy 2 ½ quart saucepan. Stir with wooden spoon or spatula over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth, occasionally brushing down the inside of the pan with a wet pastry brush. This will take about 15 minutes.
- Attach clip-on candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. Cook caramel at a rolling boil until thermometer registers 236 degrees, stirring constantly but slowly with a clean wooden spatula. Occasionally brush down the inside of the pan with a wet pastry brush. This should take about 12 minutes. Pour caramel into a metal bowl. Submerge thermometer into caramel; cool without stirring, about 20 minutes.
- While caramel cools, line 2 baking sheets with foil. Lightly butter the foil. Push one stick into stem end of each apple. Dip apple into cooled caramel, submerging all but very top of apple. Lift apple out, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Turn caramel, allowing caramel to cover and set around entire apple. Place coated apple on foil. If caramel gets too thick to dip into, add 1-2 tablespoons of half-and-half or whipping cream and briefly whisk caramel over low heat.
- Chill apples on cookie sheet until caramel is partially set, 5-10 minutes. Lift each apple and using your hands, press caramel that has pooled around bottom of apple up over the entire apple. If using nuts, push them firmly into caramel. If using melted chocolate, drizzle it over the apples. Chill again until caramel and chocolate is set.
- Keep in the refrigerator. I usually wrap each one in plastic wrap.