What better way to have a little fall fun than to learn how to make caramel apples at home?
Sure, there are a lot of autumn food favorites: pumpkin pie, turkey, sweet potatoes...but what about that sweet harvest treat on a stick? That's right, we're talking about learning how to make caramel apples. By following the tips below, you'll be the life of all of your fall parties.
The apples you use should be similar to those you use for baking. You want them to be crisp to stand up to the heat of the caramel when dipping, and provide a nice contrast of texture when you bite into them. The apples should also be fairly tart, as to prevent you from becoming too easily overwhelmed with sweetness. Try Granny Smith or Fuji apples for the best results.
Here's a pro tip: Sticks for your apples should be strong, yet relatively slender. Solution? The chopsticks you get with Chinese take-out. The key is not to separate them, but instead leave the sticks together. If you're not a fan of Chinese food, or don't happen to have any laying around, you can buy them on the Internet for pennies on the dollar.
There are a few different options you have when it comes to the caramel for your apples. The big three are caramel sheets, pre-made caramel candies and making homemade caramel
Caramel sheets, which are available in most grocery stores or online, are a cheap alternative that work well for creating caramel apples quickly and easily. You simply set the apple in the middle of the caramel, wrap the sheet up, and then apply heat over the apple to melt it evenly. However, this method often produces a harder to eat caramel.
You can also buy caramel candies specifically designed to be melted down and then used to dip your apples. The key to this method is medium-low heat in a heavy pan, which will prevent your caramel from scorching. This method produces a consistent, tasty caramel coating with lots of leftover caramel to snack on.
Making your own caramel
is an option as well, but it can be quite time consuming. If done right, this method will produce the best caramel for dipping. If you're going to go this route, find a reliable caramel recipe. Don't forget to make sure you have a candy thermometer on hand, as well as a heavy pan with sloped sides. Ideally, if you can get your hands on it, a copper candy-making pot is best.
Toppings & Decorations
After you've dipped your apple in the caramel, you could be done. Or you could take this time to roll your apples in a topping, or wait for them to cool to decorate. Here are some delicious ideas to get you started.
A cereal topping is always a great option. Using one like Trix, Lucky Charms or Fruity Cheerios are great if you want to add bright, fun colors that kids will love. Other options like Cinnamon Toast Crunch will add flavor to every delicious gooey bite.
Rolling your apple in crushed peanuts, almond slivers or smashed walnuts offers up a delicious salty-savory contrast to the tartness of the apple and the sweetness of the caramel.
For something more decadent, roll your apple in chocolate chips. This is a popular option for both children and chocoholics alike. Of course, waiting for your apple to cool and then dipping it in dark chocolate, white chocolate, or milk chocolate is another great way to add some visual contrast as well as some extra flavor.
What's your favorite way to top your caramel apple?