Friday, December 2, 2011

DIY Caramel Apples

This is my last apple project for a long time, I promise!  I have wanted to make my own caramel apples for a long time, and I was thrilled to discover that it was incredibly simple.  Homemade caramel apples would be the perfect wedding favor for a fall or apple-themed wedding.  You can make them well in advance, and the simple ingredients make it an affordable project, too.

DIY Caramel Apples

A simple way to make caramel apples is to dip them into melted caramel squares that you buy from the store.  However, making your own caramel is actually quite simple and can save you a lot of money if you are making a lot of caramel apples.

  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes)
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 -10 wooden sticks
  • 8 -10 medium tart apples
  1. Insert 1 wooden stick into each apple.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and milk; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees (firm ball stage) about 30-40 minutes and for a softer caramel cook just to a few less degrees.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
  5. Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture; turn to coat
  6. Holding by the stick, sprinkle with nuts or whatever you desire while the caramel is still warm (work quickly the caramel sets up fast).
  7. Set on generously buttered wax paper to cool (make certain to generously butter the paper).
Note: if making a double recipe make two recipes in two separate pots.

I used Wilson's cookie sticks because I liked the look of a white stick instead of a wooden one.  You can also warp the sticks with ribbon or decorate it to make it look more elegant.  I wanted a softer caramel, so I heated my caramel to 245 degrees, and was very happy with the texture.  I rolled the leftover caramel into balls and Al and I nibbled on them for days afterwards!  I also placed the dipped apples on parchment paper and had no issues with sticking.

To decorate the apples, I melted semi-sweet and white chocolate chips in the microwave and scooped the melted chocolate into plastic ziplock bags.  I cut one corner off the plastic bag and used it to pipe chocolate onto the caramel apple.  (Of course, if you have a pastry bag, you could just use that).  I hate doing dishes and cleaning up, though, so it was nice just to toss the bags once I was done!

DIY caramel apple wedding favors

Lastly, since I was giving these apples away, I wrapped them in plastic treat bags from the Daiso store in Mountain View.  The small apples were the perfect size for these bags.  I placed a piece of parchment paper at the bottom of the bag just to prevent sticking, but I don't think it was actually necessary.

Also, this is what happens when I leave apples lying around an unattended husband: =P  He also hid them under plates and bowls and it took me a while to get them all back!

Have fun!

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