Monday, October 26, 2009
When I went apple-picking last week, I bought a wonderful, vibrantly red candy apple. I knew, right then and there, that I would have to use some of my freshly picked apples to make my own. I ended up deciding to make caramel apples... and what a disaster it was. One of my friends was celebrating his birthday and my plan was to bring him a few caramel apples as a gift. I had never really made caramel apples, but how hard could it be? Well, as it turns out, it's not always that easy! I used a pretty standard recipe at first but for some reason, the caramel would just not stick to the apples. The lovely amber-colored deliciousness dripped down the side of the apples, leaving a pool of soft caramel at their base.
This morning, after a little research, I picked myself up and tried to tackle the monster again. What a difference experience it was this time around! The temperature of the caramel is definitely key to successful caramel-coated apples. You want the coating to be soft enough to be able to coat the apples, but not so soft that it drips and doesn't adhere to the fruit. I added a little molasses to the caramel this time around, which added great richness to the color and the caramel flavor. My tip is to dip the apple in the caramel while it's still hot enough, coat the apples, and place in the fridge immediately to harden for 15 minutes.
The moral of the story might be not to make things for the first time when the plan is to give them away... !
Makes about 10 caramel apples
10 apples (I used Spartan)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 lightly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of light corn syrup
2 teaspoons of molasses
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 cup of heavy cream
Wash the apples and thoroughly dry them. If they are still wet, the caramel will not stick to the skin. Remove the stems, and insert a wooden stick at the top of each apple, about half-way through. The apples should securely cling to the stick.Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a saucepan on medium heat, add the sugars, butter, corn syrup, molasses, salt and half of the cream. Swirl the pan to make sure all the ingredients come together. Once they have, add the remaining cream. Cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until the temperature of the mixture reaches 240F.
Remove the caramel from the heat and wait for the liquid to slightly cool (2 minutes). Using a swirling motion and carefully tilting the pan, coat the apples with caramel, leaving an untouched apple circle where the wooden stick is inserted. Let the excess caramel drip off, and place the apples on the parchment paper. Immediately place the apples in the fridge to harden. You may have to do this in batches so that the first coated apples don't stay at room temperature for too long: the quicker they get in the fridge, the better! If the caramel starts to harden and is not thin enough to coat the apples, simply place the saucepan on the heat for a couple minutes before coating more apples.
Leave the apples in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden. Once they have hardened, leave at room temperature. Package as you please. Enjoy!