Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Caramel Apples

Autumn is our favorite time of year and nothing says fall like caramel apples...

Salted Caramel Apples
Stick twigs into small apples, dip in caramel, and roll in sea salt.

Inside Out Caramel Apples  
3 large Granny Smith apples
1 large lemon
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs butter
2 tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Chocolate sauce (optional)

Cut your apples in half and use a melon baller to scoop out the insides, leaving the walls intact at about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thickness.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon onto the apples and allow to set. This will keep them from turning brown right away.
In a sauce pan over high heat, add the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and corn syrup. Stir until the brown sugar has dissolved. Then leave it to boil, untouched (don’t stir), until it reaches 230 degrees, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla, stir until it stops bubbling. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
Using a paper towel, wipe your apples down, removing the lemon juice as much as possible. If the inside of your apple is too wet, the caramel wont stick.
Pour the caramel into the hollowed out apples until just below the top.
Sprinkle with pecans.
Chill in the refrigerator until the caramel has set, about 20 minutes.
Cut into slices and drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired.

Mini Caramel Apples
2-3 Apples (I like Granny Smith and Red Delicious)
Wooden Skewers or lollipop sticks
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 tsp butter
1 tbsp Karo Syrup
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
10 oz bag of Soft Caramels
1.5 tbsp Heavy Cream
Toppings of your choice (optional)

Using a melon baller, scoop out bits of the apples.  Go ahead and put your sticks though the apple balls and then place in the refrigerator to keep from turning brown
Next add your water and granulated sugar to a decently heavy pan and place on low heat. Mix well.
Add butter, Karo Syrup, and vanilla to the mixture and bring to a boil. Swirl the pan to mix the ingredients, do not use a spoon until the mixture is all formed together.
Remove the pan from the heat and dip your apples into the mixture, swirling the tips as you remove them. Stand them up on a tray and place back in the refrigerator for about 30-45 minutes or until the candy coating is hard.
While waiting for the apples to harden you can prepare your caramel. Place the unwrapped caramels and cream into a bowl and microwave until melted (use 30 second intervals so that the bottom portion of the caramels don't burn). Stir and and let cool until the mixture is no longer hot to the touch.
Next grab a few apples out of the fridge and dip into the caramel, and then into a topping of your choice (nuts, coconut, sprinkles, etc). You'll have to work in batches because once the caramel cools you won't be able to dip the apples into it, so it may need an additional few seconds in the microwave in between batches to soften it up. Be careful not to make it too hot though or else it will end up melting the candy coating off.
Stick in mini cupcake liners to contain any sticky messes and place back in the refrigerator to allow the caramel to set up.

Caramel Bacon Apples
12 medium, tart apples
    12 wooden sticks
    Crisco® Butter Flavor No-Stick Cooking Spray
    3/4 cup butter
    1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
    1 cup dark corn syrup
    2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3/4 cup finely minced cooked bacon (about 12 slices)
    Or 3/4 cup toffee baking bits

    WASH and dry apples. Remove stems. Insert wooden sticks into stem end of each apple. Line cookie sheet with wax paper. Coat with no-stick cooking spray.
    MELT butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and brown sugar. Stir until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low.* Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly, or until candy thermometer reaches 225°F. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
    DIP each apple into hot caramel, spooning caramel over apple to coat evenly. Allow excess caramel to drip off. Scrape bottom of apple on edge of pan. Place on wax paper. Sprinkle immediately with bacon pieces. Chill 30 minutes. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
    *Adjust heat as necessary to keep mixture at slow rolling boil. Stir constantly so that mixture does not stick to bottom of pan.

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