When apples are at their peak and it’s time for tricks and treats, caramel apples are where it’s at. Making them yourself is easier than you might think, even the caramel part — there’s no need to melt pre-made caramels, although that does streamline the process. Start with apples on the small side, to make them easier to work with (and eat). You’ll also need some wooden Popsicle sticks, chopsticks or clean, trimmed, sturdy twigs — not only are they free, they make for great presentation.
The creamy caramel for these apples is easy to stir together, but if you don’t want to start from scratch, simply melt a bag of unwrapped Kraft caramels over low heat with a splash of cream.
Maple Caramel Apples
10-12 small apples, washed and dried
2 cups packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup maple syrup, corn syrup or honey
Press the sticks into the stem end of the apples and set them on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with waxed paper, parchment or foil.
In a medium pot, combine the sugar, butter, sweetened condensed milk, maple syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and cook without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture reaches 236°F on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and carefully dip the apples, rolling them around in the caramel and twirling a bit as you pull them out to prevent the caramel from pooling on the bottom, and set on the prepared pan. If you like, dip the apples into sprinkles, nuts or candies, or sprinkle them over top while the caramel is still warm. Repeat with the remaining apples, reheating the caramel if it gets too thick to dip.
Makes 10-12 caramel apples.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/JusselPhoto
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