Monday, December 19, 2011

Caramel Apples From Scratch

Sometimes I buy things I truly regret.  One time, I bought an inflatable raft while I lived in Boston.  One time, I bought a pair of Dolce and Gabbana boots that were so hot I was too scared to ever wear them.  One time, I bought a car and crashed it into a tree, twice.  One time, I bought miniature apples that were too cute to eat.

Unfortunately, apples are perishable, and with the clock ticking down, I made the decision to make caramel apples.  It was a gloriously delicious decision.  I know most of you are like EFF the apples, let's go back to the car in a friggin' tree.  TWO TIMES?!  REALLY?!  What kind of psycho is behind this blog?!  Come on, y'all...I mean...we all go through stages...

Caramel Apples
(makes enough caramel for 6 regular caramel apples)

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sweetened condensed milk (about half a 14 ounce can)
1/3 cup dark corn syrup
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 sturdy lollipop sticks or chopsticks
6 medium apples
Sprinkles or nuts (optional)

Almost all store-bought apples are waxed.  They have a thin film of wax on them to make them look better and keep out bugs.  It's not harmful to eat it, but as a habit, I do what my mom always did - I scrape the wax off.  Use a knife and just scrape at the surface of the apple to remove the wax so that caramel coating adheres better to the apple.  Even when eating apples plain, you'll find this improves the taste of the apple because, really, when does wax ever taste good?  

Pierce all the apples with the skewers or sticks.  Don't try to follow the trajectory of the core of the apple.  Rather, pierce the apple so that the stick is perpendicular to the ceiling (they'll stick straight up).  If you try to pierce the apple by just going through the core, the stick may be pointing weird directions, especially for wonky apples.

Prepare a surface of foil or parchment to put the apples on after they're dipped.  

Stir everything but the apples and chopsticks in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Make sure all the sugar is dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.  Continue heating until it reaches 236°F (113°C).  Use a pastry brush to wipe the sides of the saucepan if any crystals form while it's heating up.

Once it's reached 236°F or 113°C, let it cool down to 200°F (93°C).  Once it has reached that temperature, you can start dipping the apples.

Dip the apple.  Let the excess drip off. 

If you're doing sprinkles, sprinkle them on now.  Then place the apples on the prepared foil or parchment surface.  Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or so.  

I ate some right away with EXTRA caramel slapped on.  Yum.

Now for the montage.

I was left with a lot of extra caramel that I ate with a spoon.



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