I think I have mentioned this before…I love to bake. There is something so nourishing, so taking- care- of- my- people- and- making- them- happy about baking. Making caramel has this feel for me especially. You can’t just put ingredients in a pot and come back in twenty minutes when you are making caramel. You need to be present, stirring gently, watching the pale gold syrup turn slowly to golden brown. You have to watch calmly while the concoction bubbles up the sides of the pot as it approaches the correct temperature. And finally, like a scientist and her experiment, you need to add the last ingredients to the boiling hot and thick caramel. But still, you are not finished. If you are coating something with the hot caramel, you need to move fast while the caramel is still soft and melted. I promise your efforts will be rewarded one bite in.
I like to use Granny Smith apples for this recipe. They are tart and crisp and hold up so well to the sweet sticky caramel. You could just cover them in the plain caramel, but if you have dried fruit, nuts and/or chocolate chips… why not?
This recipe makes 8 medium sized caramel apples. You’ll need a candy thermometer, a heavy bottomed sauce pan and a greased baking sheet.
8 medium sized apples, cleaned and completely dried
8 popsicle sticks
1 cup heavy cream, divided*
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
toppings (optional): 1 cup chopped nuts, dried fruit, white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chips, kosher salt
Wash and completely dry the apples. Insert the popsicle sticks in each one. Grease a baking sheet with butter. Get your toppings ready- you won’t have time once the caramel is melted. I did one small bowl of sliced almonds, one of semi sweet mini chocolate chips and kosher salt, one of sliced almonds, white chocolate chips and dried cranberries, and one more with just white chocolate chips.
Over high heat in a heavy bottomed sauce pot combine 3/4 cup of the heavy cream*, the corn syrup, butter and sugar. Stir until melted. Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Stir occasionally. The caramel starts out pale and syrupy but thickens and darkens in color as it approaches firm ball stage, or 246 degrees F.
At firm ball stage (takes about 20 minutes), remove the caramel from the heat and carefully add the remaining 1/4 cup heavy cream*, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine.
Dip each apple in the hot caramel, turning to coat completely. Hold the covered apple over the pot and let the excess caramel drip off. Next, dip the bottom of the apple in your topping. Place on the greased baking sheet. Continue until all the apples are coated. Let cool.