I can honestly say that I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t love caramel apples, and most will even tolerate a sticky nose and cheeks to fully enjoy one. They are the treat of choice for children of all ages at fairs, festivals, and parks. Every memory associated with the delicious indulgence is pleasurable. But caramel apples are also getting “all dressed up” and making an appearance in gourmet candy shops, gift shops, and bakeries. I even received one wrapped in cellophane, tied with terra cotta and green ribbons and raffia with a little leaf-shaped printed tag, as a favor at my nephew’s fall wedding reception.
Making caramel apples is so easy that it is a fun activity for a children’s party, and the creative process and results will also delight teens and college students. I can see tiny caramel apples dressed in bridal-white and groom-dark chocolates on sticks with ribbons being passed on silver trays at wedding receptions or announcement parties, or maybe served with cheese and crackers sliced into perfect little wedges. A variety of decorated apples would certainly make an extravagant display for a special dessert buffet, and just think how much fun everyone will have choosing their favorite. So give caramel apples a second thought for your next get-together, and delight your guests with delicious memories!
To create perfect caramel apples, you will need:
5 medium Granny Smith apples, washed and dried (Granny Smith apples provide the perfect combination of tartness with the sweet, buttery caramel)
5 wooden sticks (round sticks are available at candy supply stores or flat sticks are provided in the bag of caramel bits)
1 (11-ounce) bag Kraft caramel bits
1½ tablespoon water
Insert one wooden stick into the stem-end of each apple, and set aside. Place a sheet of wax paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray on a cookie sheet. Place caramel bits and water in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup or a small, deep 4-cup plastic bowl. (Having a deep bowl makes dipping the apples easier.) Microwave on defrost setting in one-minute intervals, stirring between intervals, until melted; about 2-3 minutes. Stir mixture until creamy and cool about 30 seconds before dipping first apple. Holding by the stick, dip apples one at a time into caramel mixture and spoon caramel over top of apple to cover completely. Hold apple over bowl to allow excess to drip off. Press nuts, cookies, or sprinkles onto the caramel layer at this point and place apple on prepared wax paper. Apples may be dipped into or drizzled with melted white, milk, or dark chocolate, almond bark, or chocolate candy melts when hardened. Refrigerate, after dipping or drizzling with chocolate. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Store apples in refrigerator.
Yield: 5 servings.
For chocolate coverings or drizzles:
White, milk, or dark chocolate
Vanilla or chocolate Almond Bark
White, yellow, red, pink chocolate Candy Melts
Solid vegetable shortening
To melt chocolate: place in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on defrost setting at one-minute intervals, stirring between each interval until melted; about 2 minutes. Do not heat chocolate at a very high temperature or for very long. Remember that light chocolate seizes easily. To thin chocolate, add a tiny bit of solid vegetable shortening; not water. To drizzle chocolate, use Wilton’s plastic bottle with a writing tip, a pastry bag with the end cut off, or a freezer bag with the corner cut off.
Bride & Groom
Bride: Dip caramel apple in melted vanilla almond bark and drizzle with melted white chocolate. Stick a small flower (made of gum paste or royal icing) in place for a bouquet. Refrigerate.
Groom: Dip caramel apple in melted dark chocolate. Pipe a white chocolate initial in the center. Refrigerate.
Roll caramel apple, before refrigerating, in crushed Oreo cookies and drizzle with white chocolate. Refrigerate.
Refrigerate caramel apple. Dip caramel apple into melted yellow and red candy melts. Refrigerate. When hardened, draw on face with melted dark chocolate and place green leaves (made from gum-paste or royal icing; may be purchased at candy supply store) on the top. You may want to use yellow M & Ms for eyes. Refrigerate.
Refrigerate caramel apple. Cut a large marshmallow in half and press cut-side on apple for pig’s snout. Cut another large marshmallow in half, and using kitchen shears, cut each half into a triangle for ears. Stick ears in place, and dip apple into melted pink candy melts. Refrigerate. When chocolate is hardened, place two chocolate dots on snout for nose, outline eyes with dark chocolate, and place a miniature blue M & M for each eye in the soft chocolate eye outlines. Refrigerate.
Drizzle caramel apple with light chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate vertical streams until completely covered. Refrigerate.
Roll caramel apple, before refrigerating, in toasted, chopped walnuts; then sprinkle with cinnamon. Refrigerate.
Roll caramel apple, before refrigerating, in crushed Heath candy bars. Use 1 large candy bar per apple. Refrigerate.
Dip caramel apple in melted dark chocolate and place chocolate-covered coffee beans on the top near the stick. Refrigerate.
Refrigerate caramel apple. Dip caramel apple into melted vanilla almond bark and sprinkle with tiny, gold dragées. Refrigerate.
Roll caramel apple, before refrigerating, in shredded coconut and almond slivers. Drizzle with dark chocolate. Refrigerate.
Cover caramel apple, before refrigerating, with toasted pecan halves and then dip in melted, chocolate almond bark. Add a few pecan halves to the top edge of the apple. Refrigerate.
Roll caramel apple, before refrigerating, in toasted, chopped pecans. Refrigerate.
M & M
Roll caramel apple, before refrigerating, in miniature M & Ms until covered. Refrigerate.
Place the cut-side of mini marshmallow halves and tiny graham, cereal squares on caramel apple, before refrigerating. Refrigerate. Drizzle with milk chocolate. Refrigerate.
Dip caramel apple in melted vanilla almond bark. Refrigerate. Write monogram on hardened apple covering with melted, dark chocolate with the Wilton writing-tipped bottle. Refrigerate.