Caramel apples are a seasonal treat I like to make every year. If I am not planning on making them for Fall Fest, then I might make them for a Girl Scout meeting or just because. We have jarred caramel in the house most of the year for sliced apples to go in school lunches, but nothing compares to a whole, crisp juicy apple on a stick dipped in the highest quality caramel (and maybe a little chocolate and peanuts too).
I've made them in years past by melting down pre-wrapped caramels in a saucepan with a little water. That certainly works and is quite easy and delicious. But have you ever made your own caramel before? Let me tell you. To - DIE - for.
I like to consider myself a sort of connoisseur of caramel and the recipe I use is simply amazing. Sweet, salty, sticky, chewy. . . everything caramel should be. I'll share with you my recipe, but I'm warning you- this is not for the health conscious. It is pure fat which my Daddy would say is why it is soooo good!
Homemade Cream Caramels
2 cups sugar
2 cups dark corn syrup
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Place all of your ingredients (minus 1 cup of heavy cream) in a large saucepan on low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Stop stirring and continue to boil until the mixture reaches 245 degrees F (about 25 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and very carefully stir in the other cup of heavy cream. Return to the heat and cook until it reaches 245 degrees F again.
At this point you can pour the caramel into an 8x8 inch pan lined with greased wax paper or foil and let it set up at room temperature from 3 hours to over night. Then you can cut it with a sharp, greased knife and individually wrap them if desired.
If you are making caramel apples, leave the hot caramel in the sauce pan and begin to dip your apples on a stick in the caramel to coat, one at a time. As you remove them from the caramel, swirl the apple to coat it further, then scrape the bottom of the apple on the side of the pan to remove the excess caramel before you place it on a greased cookie sheet to set. This will help to avoid a puddle of caramel on around the bottom of the apple.
If you like crushed peanuts on your caramel apples, dip the caramel covered apples in the peanuts before you place them on the cookie sheet to set. If you want to drizzle them or dip them in chocolate, do so after the caramel has set up, about a half-an-hour.