Caramel Apple recipe sweetened condensed milk
It’s okay, you can say it. I’m a liar. I really did have an actual meal for you today. But then I went grocery shopping. And I bought apples. I love it when I find the bags of little tiny apples; do you know what I’m talking about? They’re smaller than normal apples, and I love them because they’re the perfect size for my little kids because they’re easy to hold and they can eat the entire thing (as opposed to eating half the apple and then leaving it somewhere super convenient, like under the couch, in the toy box, or behind the tv for me to find later.) They’re also perfect for caramel apples because they’re just a little more manageable to eat and you can make more. So I bought my little apples and everything else I needed to dip them for a fun family activity. And then, I saw it.
I am not joking when I say these are the biggest apples I’ve ever seen in my LIFE. Here’s a comparison to a normal sized apple. Applezilla is well over a foot in circumference and it weighs a pound and a half!
How could I not get them?? With caramel apples on my mind already, I knew these were destined to be the biggest, baddest apples of all time.
We’ve got a couple of posts on caramel apples already. Kate did a good, basic how-to on quick and easy apples, and last fall I shared a yummy recipe for homemade honey caramel apples. We get a lot of requests for homemade caramel for apples and I stumbled across this recipe and was dying to try it. Folks, this stuff knocks the socks off of those little plastic-wrapped caramels. If you want amazing, impressive, gourmet style apples- the kind you can bust your wallet buying in a fancy little boutique store, this is it.
Making dipped apples isn’t complicated, but I can tell you it is so, so much easier with a few tricks, so I’m going to give you all of the ones I’ve got! First of all, you’ll want to wash your apples well (I usually use a tiny bit of soap to remove any waxy film) and then dry them completely.
Go ahead and place the sticks in the apples, placing them right where the stem comes out. I’ve found it helps to chill the apples because when they’re cold, the caramel sticks and sets quicker. So after the sticks are all in, place them in the fridge to chill while you do everything else.
It also helps to get all of your toppings ready before you even start. When working with candy, you want to be ready to go as soon as it reaches a certain temperature, so start with a clean kitchen, open sink space, and get your toppings and work space prepared first.
For the caramel, you’ll need all of this yummy stuff.
One of the reasons I was attracted to this recipe was because all of the flavor in there. I love a good sugar+butter+cream caramel, but this one has sweetened condensed milk, dark corn syrup, molasses, dark brown sugar and pure maple syrup (seriously, no Aunt Jamima here- use the good stuff. I know it’s expensive, but YES it’s worth it. Keep it hidden in your pantry for recipes so your kids don’t pour it on their pancakes and pull it out for special occasions, like this caramel.) The flavor and the texture are seriously amazing. And don’t be intimidated by the fact that it requires a thermometer; it’s seriously easy caramel and really simple to work with. All you have to do is dump all of the ingredients in a big pot
And stir it until everything is melted and dissolved. Then turn up the heat and boil it until it reaches temperature. If you have a non-stick pot I suggest using it; caramel and sweetened condensed milk can burn fairly easily in stainless steel.
When you’re choosing a bowl to put your cooked caramel in, choose the smallest bowl possible that will fit all of the caramel; that will make dipping easier. And a tall, narrower bowl is better than a wide, shallow one. One of the tricks is to not dip your apples when the caramel is right off the stove; it will be so hot, it will fall right off the apples. 200 degrees is a good temp that makes the caramel easy to work with and it will stay on the apples. Just plunge them in and let the excess run off.
Flip the apples upside-down for a few seconds and then twirl them around. Before I place them on my baking sheet, I use a spoon to just gently scrape excess off the bottom so you don’t end up with a huge pool of caramel.
Now, if you dip your apples in toppings right after the caramel, the toppings will slide right off and you’ll be stuck with a big gloppy ugly mess. So just be patient and keep dipping the apples in caramel and let them set before you dip in toppings. The caramel will never harden so much that you can’t add anything to it so don’t stress.
By the time you finish dipping all the apples, the first ones should be ready for toppings. Pull them off your sheet (a silicone baking mat will be your best friend here. If you don’t have any, try a piece of buttered foil.) and don’t worry if some of the caramel sticks to the sheet, or pulls off the bottom of the apple. Use your hands to gently press the pooled caramel around the bottom of the apple. This caramel is great; it’s soft enough to mold and handle, but not so soft that it’s sticky and messy.
Then you can go crazy with the decorations. Depending on what you’re using, you can either roll your apple in the topping, or use your hands to gently press them into the caramel. If you want, have some melted chocolate ready and you can dip over the caramel. Chocolate tends to be a little thicker, so dip it less than you want the final apple to be dipped, and use a knife to scrape off excess chocolate on the bottom.
When you then dip in something else, like chopped peanuts like I have here, the nuts will sort of push the chocolate further up the apple.
Once they’re all dipped, you can decorate with more chocolate. Place some melted chocolate in a heavy duty ziplock bag and cut the end off. (You can actually melt chocolate chips right in the bag in the microwave and just smash them around until melted and smooth) and then drizzle away.
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