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Published October 30, 2010, 12:00 AM

Unwaxed, smaller apples best for caramel treats

The following tips will help you make the perfect caramel apple.

  • Try not to use massive apples. Keep in mind that this treat-on-a-stick will grow larger with each coating of candy and nuts. You don’t want to sprain your arm picking one up. Besides, smaller apples provide a tastier apple-to-caramel ratio.
  • Use unwaxed apples (either from a farmers market or pick-your-own place), or the caramel won’t stick. If you only have waxed varieties on hand, run the apple under hot water and vigorously scrub the apple to remove the wax. Or dip the apple for 3 seconds in boiling water and then scrub it. Dry thoroughly. Remove apple stems and stick Popsicle sticks or wooden skewers into the stem side.
  • Make sure the apple you’re using is free of cuts or bruises. Nothing ruins this decadent treat faster than a bad apple beneath all that buttery caramel.
  • As the caramel will become scalding hot, use caution when preparing this treat and never let children prepare it without adult supervision.
  • Let the caramel cool slightly so it will have a thicker dipping consistency. If the mixture becomes too stiff, pour in a tablespoon of cream and stir constantly over low heat until it softens up again.
  • To drizzle caramel apples with chocolate or candy: Chill caramel apples in refrigerator. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Warm in the microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Drizzle over apples and return to refrigerator to harden.
  • All the following can be used as yummy toppings: nuts or salted sunflower kernels, candy sprinkles, coconut, hot cinnamon candies, toffee bits, chocolate chips, candy corn, mini-marshmallows, caramel corn, crushed cookies (Oreos, Nutter Butter), dried cranberries, mini M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, chopped-up candy bars, jelly beans, gummi bears, trail mix, granola, crushed-up pretzels, crumbled crackers, salted popcorn and kosher salt.

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