Fall in Love with Caramel Apples this AutumnCaramel apples coated in chopped nuts

Fall in Love with Caramel Apples this Autumn

Autumn is the time of year for fall and harvest festivals, pumpkin patch outings, as well as community and school carnivals. The cooler weather makes it easy to enjoy being outdoors for long periods of time without the risk of being bothered by the heat. The leaves changing color make for a gorgeous backdrop for photos. Maybe best of all is the extensive assortment of fall comfort foods and treats that come with the season.
One of the best treats we get to enjoy are apples! There are a huge variety to choose from, ranging from tart to super sweet, slightly soft to extra crunchy, and in hues from a pale, soft yellow to a deep, luscious red. While apples on their own are one of nature’s gifts, they can also be transformed into homey desserts like apple pie, or whimsical treats such as caramel apples.
Caramel apples are a classic carnival and fall festival treat. They’re perfect for bringing to a party or a bake sale, too! Consider bringing some along to your next event!
It takes some patience to perfect the process of making caramel apples but following a recipe carefully and keeping in mind some tips will certainly help.
Some people opt to melt caramel candies and dunk the skewered apples into the melted caramel, but homemade caramel coating is richer and more delicious. Onto the recipe!

Homemade Caramel Apples

  • 6-10 apples (depending on size) - firm varieties like Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Fuji work best
  • 6-10 wooden sticks or skewers
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional toppings: chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, shredded coconut, or melted chocolate for drizzling. (My favorite topping is chopped almonds that have been salted and toasted!)
Instructions Prepare the Apples:
Wash and dry the apples thoroughly; unwaxed apples work best for the caramel to stick to. Remove the apple stems.
Insert a thick wooden or bamboo skewer into the top of each apple, pushing about halfway through.
Prepare the Cooking Area:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and lightly grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray. This is where you will place the dipped apples.
Cook the Caramel:
In a medium to large saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a boil.
Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture reaches a temperature of 240°F (115°C) on a candy thermometer, which is the "soft ball" stage. This process might take around 20-30 minutes.
Once the desired temperature is reached, remove the pot from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Dip the Apples:
Holding an apple by the stick, dip it into the caramel, tilting the pot as needed to coat the apple completely. Allow excess caramel to drip off back into the pot.
Optional: now is the time to roll the caramel-coated apple in the desired toppings or drizzle with melted chocolate.
Place the coated apple on the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining apples.
Let the Apples Set:
Allow the apples to sit at room temperature until the caramel sets, which might take about an hour. For quicker setting, you can place them in the refrigerator.
Caramel apples can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, although they're best when consumed within the first few days. Let them come to room temperature before eating for the ideal texture and flavor. (They are tasty cold, but the caramel is firmer than if they’ve had time out of the fridge.)
  • Use cold apples from the refrigerator. The caramel will stick better to a chilled apple.
  • Make sure to use a thick skewer that can support the weight of the apple and the caramel. (Regular ones used for kebabs tend to be too thin for caramel and candy apples.)
  • Always be cautious when working with hot caramel, as it can cause burns.
  • To ensure an accurate reading, don’t let the thermometer rest on the bottom of the pan.
  • You can use flavored extracts like rum or almond in place of vanilla. (If you’re using almond extract, make sure to not sure any more than a quarter to half a teaspoon; almond extract is much stronger tasting than vanilla and easily overwhelms a recipe.)