Without fail, we all usually return from our fall apple-picking outings with a little too much of a good thing. That translates into lots of special apple recipes, from baked apples to apple pie, and my kids' favorite way to use up our supply: the classic gooey caramel apple extravaganza. The recipe makes a glossy caramel coating that sticks to the apples without pulling out your fillings.
What You'll Need
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
6 tbsp. water
8 to 10 apples (McIntoshes work well, or, see below for more apple recommendations)
**You can also make it easy and melt a bunch of kraft caramels to save some time.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar and water. Stir until it has a smooth consistency. Gently bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 3 minutes, until the pan's sides get steamy and the mixture is thin but somewhat sticky. Remove from heat. Pierce the center of each apple with a Popsicle stick, then swirl in the caramel syrup until coated. Place apples on a greased cookie sheet to harden. Refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours. Serves 8 to 10.
Choosing Your Apples
Making a caramel apple is about pairing the sweetness of caramel with the right apple. It's particularly delicious to pair a tart apple with a sweet exterior. Of course, if you can't stand tart apples, then pick a sweeter one - you have plenty of choices! However, you want to avoid certain apples like Red Delicious, which lacks the firmness required for caramel apples.
Braeburn: Golden-green to red skin, firm, sweetly tart
Macoun: Reddish-green skin, firm, crunchy and sweetly tart
Fuji: Yellow-green skin, firm, sweet
Golden Delicious: golden skin, firm, sweet
Granny Smith: green skin, very firm, tart
Jonathan: Yellow-red skin, firm, sweetly tart
Jonagold: A hybrid of Jonathan and Golden Delicious, firm skin, tangily sweet
Lady: Red to yellow skin, firm, sweetly tart
McIntosh: Reddish-green skin, firm, sweetly tart
Choose smaller apples - they'll be easier to make, easier to eat, and will give you a better caramel to apple ratio!
If possible, buy apples at a farmer's market. Store-bought apples are usually coated with wax, which makes it more difficult to coat them. Or you can go apple picking and get your own fresh off the tree! If you have no choice but to use wax-coated apples, quickly dip them in boiling water and then wipe away the wax coating.
Chill the apples in the refrigerator until you're ready to start cooking.
If you have a different favorite recipe for caramel apples be sure to let me know!