Friday, October 16, 2009

Caramel Apples - GOURMET!

As a part of my “10 Tasks in 10 Days” challenge, I wanted to make some GOURMET caramel apples! I'm also linking this post up at A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day and at Cheri's Knock Off Knock Out party!

I had initially intended to make my own caramel, but in the interest of saving time and sanity, I opted for good ol’ Kraft caramels. The kids helped me unwrap them all and then we were off to the races.

I started with a pot of boiling water. I dunked each apple into the water for a minute and then used a paper towel to scrub off any wax leftover. Most apples sold in grocery stores are waxed for shine. This can cause issues because your caramel may slide right off. (That is the point of wax, right?) I actually tried just washing the apples first, but they were still shiny, so I’m glad I included this step. Just dunk quickly and then using a dry paper towel, scrub off the shine.

**NOTE…apples do not look their prettiest when they’ve just been dunked in boiling water, but they’ll be FINE! Trust me! You’re covering them anyway…it’s all good! And FYI, I used 6 BIG granny smith apples.

So next I needed to create a double boiler. Since I don’t have an ACTUAL double boiler, I set a vegetable steamer tray on top of the pot of boiling water. I set my glass bowl of caramels onto the veggie tray and then stirred. (And stirred…and stirred…)
I used approximately 1 and a half bags of caramels. (The man got into the first bag and was snagging a couple each day!) After the caramels were just starting to melt, I added about 4 Tbsp. of water. This aided in the melting process and in smoothing the caramel out. Melting the caramel (especially with my “homemade” double boiler) took quite a while, but it worked out great in the end. As I stirred (and stirred), I continued to add water as necessary until the caramel was the consistency I wanted. I wish I could describe this consistency to you, but I can’t…you’ll know it when you see it! Not too thin, not too thick! You got this!

I removed the bowl from the double boiler and sat it next to my apples. I had already put the sticks (included in the bag of caramels) into the apples (on the stem side). I had also prepared a tray for the apples. I used a cookie sheet covered in a few layers of plastic wrap, which I then “greased” with butter flavored shortening. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Don’t use waxed paper, and don’t forget to grease the plastic wrap! It is the easiest way I’ve ever tried as far as getting the apples off without them sticking.

I dunked each apple, one at a time. I allowed quite a bit of caramel to drip off the apple and used a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the apples (no sense in any more caramel pooling at the bottom than necessary). I sat the apples on the tray and transferred the entire tray to the fridge to allow them to set. I let them sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes…they were still slightly soft, which was just what I wanted.
I took the tray out and took each apple off the tray so I could scrape the excess caramel off the bottom and back into the bowl of caramel. Allow that to melt (remember…stir, stir, stir!) I then dipped a couple of the apples in caramel a second time. Some of the apples were getting a chocolate coating, so those were NOT double dipped in caramel. (I just didn’t want the coating to be too heavy.) I then took the apples that WERE NOT being double dipped and rolled them in some nut toppings. (One in finely chopped peanuts, and two in pecans that I ground up (not TOO fine) in my food processor). The whole tray then went back into the fridge.
While things were setting up again, I used my trusty “double boiler” to melt a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Again, I added water until I had the consistency I wanted. After letting the apples sit in the fridge for about 45 minutes, I removed them, got my chocolate smooth and ready, and went back to it. The apples that were rolled in pecans were then dipped in chocolate. I rolled one of the double dipped caramel apples in toffee (finely chopped in the food processor), and then drizzled with melted chocolate. The peanut apple was left as is, and I left one double dipped in caramel “plain”. The last one, I dipped in a thin layer of chocolate (scraping much of the excess off) and then rolled it in toffee.

I then refrigerated overnight and let me tell you…I am SO happy with our results. We have thickly coated, decadent caramel apples that would make an excellent gift. (Have you ever seen what these sell for? I’ve seen $20 apples…seriously!! Insane!) I left the sticks in, but these can NOT be eaten off the stick. You have to slice it off and enjoy it that way! They turned out exactly as I had hoped and I can’t wait to do it again with some different toppings!

ENJOY! And don't forget to stop by Kimba's and Cheri's to check out other great projects!!!


Its So Very Cheri said...

Yummy we'll have to make some of these when we get home. You should post these to the Celebrate the Holidays next Tues night. That way I remember to make them-hee hee
and wait till you see my tutorial --hen I get back home -- on making fake carmel apples--so super cute!!!

It was especially fun in the middle of the night giving miss g4 a bath to bring her temp down and trying to explain to a 2 yr old why we can't get on the plain right now and go home as she cried and begged to go home.


Suz said...

wow, I'm going to tell my daughter about your apples...maybe then I'll get one
Luscious pictures too
Lucky family to have you
making autumn a celebration

Suz said...

Hey! where's my comment!
Anyway, I said great looking apples..wish I had one
I'll tell my daughter how

Dee said...

Great tip on the wax removal! I didn't realize that is why the caramel slid right off! They look delicious! Can't wait to give it another try.

Jenn said...

Dee-Hope it works out better next time!

Its So Very Cheri said...

Thanks for posting to the party--great tutorial.

I can't wait to get home--some day and make them. All 4 kidsdos are very sick and we can't fly till they are all better--I am going stir crazy. No projects makes Cheri a crazy girl.

Annikke said...

Those look yummy... made my mouth water.

emohn said...

those look soooo good!

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