How To Make Caramel Apples

This is the ultimate step-by-step guide to making Caramel Apples.  This is the most amazing Caramel Apple recipe complete with tips and tricks on how to make incredible caramel apples.

gourmet caramel apples

 

 

What apples to use when making caramel apples:

Granny Smith Apples are the gold standard when making caramel apples.  They are firm, crisp and really tart.  It’s the perfect balance to the silky, smooth, and sweet homemade caramel.

There are a few other kinds of apples you can use to make caramel apples.  My next favorite is honey crisp apples.  They are a little sweeter than the granny smith but they are firm and crispy too.  The shelf life on honey crisp apples isn’t as good as granny smith apples so they don’t stay as firm with being handled and then being warm from the caramel.  As long as your apple is a crisp variety, it will work great. 

 

How to Prepare Apples when making Caramel Apples:

If you can find organic apples, use those, for a couple reasons. Not only are they better for you but apples purchased in the grocery store have a thin layer of wax on them. It’s part of the processing process.  The apples are polished and have wax on them so they are shiny and beautiful on supermarket shelves. Follow the next step if you need to remove wax from your apples. 

Be sure to remove the stem from the apple core.  You can do this by simultaneously twisting and pulling on the stem. If there is a small piece of stem remaining, no worries.

 

granny smith apples ready for caramel

 

How to get the wax off apples:

If you can’t get organic apples when you need them, there’s an easy solution.  Fill a large bowl with about a half gallon of water.  Add 1 cup white vinegar to the warm water.  Let the apples soak in the vinegar water for about 10  minutes and then rub the apples with your hands to help remove the wax.  The acidity in the white vinegar will help break down the wax.  You can tell if it’s working if your water is a little murky after letting your apples soak for about 10 minutes.

Be sure to rinse your apples well after letting them soak in the vinegar. Lay them on a clean hand towel and let them dry and then before dipping the apples, dry them thouroughly with a paper towel. 

 

What kind of stick to use on your caramel apples:

There are 3 kinds I love to use depending on how I plan to decorate the caramel apples.

  • Popsicle stick:  This works great and is preferred. It is sturdy and can bear the weight of a large caramel apple.
  • Sucker stick: These work great but if you have a heavy caramel apple, the sucker stick can bend.
  • A tree branch:  I love using tree branches for caramel apples.  It’s a little bit of a hassle but they’re so so cute!  For this pic I cut the branches of a maple tree that had lost a limb during a big storm.  Just sanitize your pruning sheers with vinegar before you cut the branches.  You may also want to rinse the branches in the vinegar water after you’ve washed the apples in it. Be sure to rinse the sticks too to remove any vinegar smell.

 

sticks for caramel apples

 

How to make the caramel: 

You’ll need-

  • large, non-stick pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Candy Thermometer

This is an adapted recipe I have been using for years.  It comes from my good friend Chelsea over at www.paintednonsense.com

It’s quick (relatively,  when talking about caramel recipes), it’s smooth and creamy and it perfectly sweet!

In a large non-stick Dutch oven pot, on medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the sugar, brown sugar, Karo syrup, and sweetened condensed milk.  Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  It works best to use a square wooden spoon so you can scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring.  Be sure to constantly scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure the sugar/butter mixture doesn’t scorch. 

Stir constantly and bring to a rapid boil.  Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature rising to 240 degrees.  240 degrees is soft ball stage. To test for soft ball stage without a candy thermometer, drop a teaspoon of caramel into a bowl of cold water.  The caramel should be a soft ball.  Watch closely and do not heat more than 240 degrees or the caramel will be too thick for the caramel apples.

Take the caramel off the heat and stir in the salt and the vanilla.  Stir until it cools enough to stop boiling.  Let the caramel cool for about 5 min. 

 

how to make caramel apples

 

How to melt white chocolate in the microwave:

You’ll need

  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Heat safe rubber spatula

Microwave your white chocolate wafers on high for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir.  (Be sure you stir the chocolate.  The candy melts will retain their shape until stirred so don’t rely on the looks fo the chocolate.) Repeat melting for the candy wafers for 30 seconds and stirring for until the white chocolate is almost melted. When there small chunks of the wafer remaining. Don’t microwave again. Just keep stirring the chocolate until all the small pieces have melted too.  The heat from the melted chocolate and from the bowl will melt the rest of the white chocolate. 

 

how to melt white chocolate in the microwave

Looking for some other fun sweet recipes?

Gingersnap Cookies

White Chocolate Dipped Oreos

Mint Chocolate Dipped Oreos

 

Tips for Making Amazing Caramel Apples:

  • Use really crisp apples, granny smith work great
  • If your apples have wax on them, remove it by soaking and washing in water with vinegar
  • You can use popsicle sticks, tree branches, or sucker sticks for your caramel apples
  • Be sure to use a non-stick pot to make your caramel.  
  • Stir the caramel constantly while making it.  This will ensure you don’t scorch your caramel.
  • Heat the caramel only to 240 degrees, softball stage
  • Let the caramel cool for 3-5 minutes before dipping.  This will give the caramel a chance to cool down and will give your apples a thicker layer of caramel.
  • Place caramel apples on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  It’s easier to remove the caramels from a baking sheet than it is from parchment paper.
  • Let the caramel cool before adding a chocolate layer.
  • Let the chocolate layer almost set before adding any decorations

 

snowman caramel Apples

Caramel Apples

This is the ultimate step-by-step guide to making Caramel Apples.  This is the most amazing Caramel Apple recipe complete with tips and tricks on how to make incredible caramel apples.

Caramel

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup Karo Syrup
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

How to melt Chocolate In The Microwave

  • 2 Cups White or Milk Chocolate Wafers
  1. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. 

How to Prepare the Apples

  1. To remove the stem of the apple, twist the apple and gently pull on the stem.

  2. Use wooden dowels, or popsicle sticks for the caramel apple handle.  Insert into the core of the apple. 

  3. If the apples have wax on them, soak the apples in a half gallon of water with 1 cup white vinegar to remove the wax from the apples.  Dry with a dish towel or paper towel. 

How To Make Homemade Caramel for Caramel Apples

  1. In a large non-stick Dutch oven pot, on medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the sugar, brown sugar, Karo syrup, and sweetened condensed milk.  Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  It works best to use a square wooden spoon so you can scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring.  Be sure to constantly scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure the sugar/butter mixture doesn’t scorch. 

  2. Stir constantly and bring to a rapid boil.  Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature rising to 240 degrees.  240 degrees is soft ball stage. To test for soft ball stage without a candy thermometer, drop a teaspoon of caramel into a bowl of cold water.  The caramel should be a softbal.  Watch closely and do not heat more than 240 degrees or the caramel will be too thick for the caramel apples.

  3. Take the caramel off the heat and stir in the salt and the vanilla.  Stir until it cools enough to stop boiling.  Let the caramel cool for about 5 min. 

How to Dip Caramel Apples

  1. Dip the apples into the hot caramel and set on the baking sheet that you sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Let the apples cool until room temperature.  If desired, dip into white chocolate or milk chocolate. Let that sit for a few minutes or until the chocolate is almost set.   Roll in sprinkles or crushed candy bars if desired. Set the caramel apples on the greased baking sheet again to let the toppings cool.  Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or enjoy immediately. 

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