Caramel apples are a fantastic winter treat (or anytime treat) that are super quick and easy to make! They take maybe half an hour total and require two ingredients, plus apples, that you probably don’t already have in your pantry.
Now, I’ll admit that I’ve never been the biggest caramel apple fan (probably has something to do with many years of being in braces) but my husband absolutely loves them! So one weekend I decided to surprise him with some caramel apples. I actually turned it into sort of a date night and we had a lot of fun making and eating the apples together. Plus, it was better than doing all the work by myself!
I found a recipe online at Tasty Kitchen that sounded delicious. I didn’t follow that recipe exactly, but what we did was adapted from the original recipe which you can find here. Below is our version with notes about the ingredients we used and the steps we took.
- 12 apples (the original recipe calls for braeburn apples, which is what we used, but I think granny smith would work too, anything tart really)
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup light corn syrup (the original recipe says White Syrup, but since I didn’t know what that was I used corn syrup instead)
- 14 oz can of condensed milk
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 t vanilla extract
To prepare, wash the apples and stick caramel apple sticks in them (I found some awesome sturdy and round sticks in the cooking aisle at Michaels, but popsicle sticks or anything will work). Put the apples on a buttered cookie sheet to keep them from sticking later (the butter for buttering the cookie sheet does not come out of the ¼ cup of butter, it’s extra).
Put the ¼ cup butter, corn syrup, condensed milk, and sugar in a heavy saucepan (we used a 2 qt. Le Creuset cast iron pan, it heats slowly and evenly and is awesome for things like caramel and fudge). Heat over medium/low heat and stir continuously; if you don’t keep stirring the sugars will burn and you’ll get weird brown flecks in your mixture.
When the caramel reaches 240° F take it off the heat and add the vanilla extract (the original recipe says when the caramel reaches “soft ball stage” but I had no idea what that meant, so I went with the degree measurements it gave).
|Maybe this is “soft ball stage”?|
After the caramel cools slightly, take the apples and dip them in the caramel; our pan is very wide and flat so I had JonMarke hold the pan at an angle to make a deep spot for dipping the apples. When you pull the apples out of the caramel make sure to twirl them slowly in the air over the pan for about half a minute. The caramel starts to cool very quickly so twisting the apples will help keep the caramel from sliding off the apple and pooling at the bottom. Put the apples back on the buttered cookie sheet to cool.
(We didn’t do this, but you can roll the apples in fun things at this point before the caramel hardens, like sprinkles or chopped nuts.)
|Some have a lot of extra caramel around the bottom because we didn’t twirl them so well…|
If you have any extra caramel the recipe gave two options. The first one is to thin the caramel with half and half and use it as a dip for apple wedges. The second one is what we did with our extra caramel. We buttered a 9×9 pan and poured the caramel into it. Then when the caramel was cool we just cut it up and ate it, like another mini caramel-y dessert. Yum!
The rest of the date night was pretty simple: we found a fun wintery movie on Netflix and watched it, sitting around in our sweatpants while eating the caramel apples. It was November and really cold outside, so it was perfect.
Do you have a great recipe for caramel apples or variations on recipe? Have you had a great idea for a date night? I’d love to hear about it so leave me a comment!
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