Ahh caramel apples. A fall favorite. A special chance to tell yourself you're increasing your fruit count for the day even though it's smothered in caramel. Caramel apples are one of my favorite, if not my favorite, fall treat. As a young child (with something like 13 cavities and now we know why), I always used to snatch one up at Idylwilde Farms whenever we went to pick up groceries.
Last week, with fall in full force, I decided to whip some up. They are super easy to make and you can pretty much cover them with anything which is always a plus. They'd make the perfect dessert for a dinner party because you can let everyone make their own. Not wanting to have tons of caramel covered apples at my disposal, I also wrapped some up with plastic wrap and a cute ribbon to give as gifts to friends.
Although you can use normal caramel squares, it requires a whole lot of leg work (finger work) to get all of them unwrapped. These caramel melts are really easy to work with and they're becoming easier and easier to find in the grocery store. I used about three 7 ounce packages of these. You can find the wood skewers at the store as well or if you're in a pinch you can use chop sticks!
Like I said, you can pretty much put anything you want on these. I used coconut, m&ms, almonds, pretzels, heath bar and salt. With things like the pretzels and heath bar, I just threw them in a plastic bag and crushed them up finely with a rolling pin.
To melt the caramel you can use a double boiler like I did, or a microwave safe bowl. Once the caramel is pretty much melted, I added a splash of vanilla and about three tablespoons of light cream (you can use your judgement on this....more the better in my opinion).
Once the caramel is all melted down, it's dipping time. I had to tip the bowl to make sure to cover the whole apple. Hold the dipped apple over the bowl to let as much caramel as possible drip off. Then you only have a few seconds to cover it with whatever toppings you choose before the caramel starts to set.
My favorites were the salted and the pretzel but everyone in my family had a personal fav. Once they are all decorated, it helps to throw them in the refrigerator for about ten minutes to make sure they set completely. And like I said-- they make the perfect gift to cheer up someone's day!
Note to self for the future: use mini m&ms to prevent your caramel apple from looking like a weird football helmet (hence why the one below didn't make the cut for photographs).