When we went pumpkin picking on Tuesday evening my boys really wanted caramel apples but since I didn't want to spend $3.50 an apple, I promised them we would make some when we got home.
They really are so easy. They are fresh and crisp and you get to choose the apples and fixings yourself so you know exactly what you are getting. No hidden bruises or worm holes in these babies.
I even let my boys help and the whole thing took around 10 minutes from start to finish.
The younger boys helped with washing the apples, unwrapping the caramels and buttering the waxed paper for them to set on. My 14 year old, Joel, helped with sticking the sticks in the apples and the actual dipping. I honestly didn't even have to do much.
I'm a caramel apple purist, so I just ate mine plain but all my boys added sprinkles to theirs. Really the topping choices are only limited by your imagination, but my youngest Danny really loves sprinkles so we went with that.
Here's how we made enough apples for everyone in our family of six to have one:
1 13 oz. bag Kraft caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons water
6 gala apples
six Popsicle sticks
Wash the apples, dry them and set them aside (I read somewhere that refrigerating the apples helps the caramel not to run off as much but we didn't want to wait for that so ours were at room temperature). Push a Popsicle stick into the stem end of each apple. Set aside. Put a piece of waxed paper, either buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray onto a large plate or cookie sheet. This is where you will put your dipped apples.
In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, put all your unwrapped caramels and 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes (times vary according to microwaves) stirring after ever 30 seconds until the caramels are completely melted. Watch it so your caramel doesn't burn.
When the caramels are melted, dip the apples. You can kind of roll them around in the bowl using the Popsicle stick handle and then use a spoon to spoon caramel over the spots that didn't get covered. If you are patient enough you can put them on the waxed paper and refrigerate for an hour to help the caramel set or if you are like us you can eat them right away (which I think is better anyway).
That's it. This would be a fun and easy (although slightly messy) activity to add to your list of fun fall family traditions, if it's not already on there.
Caramel Apple topping ideas we thought of are:
- Sprinkles (obviously), any variety you like
- Chopped nuts--pecans and walnuts were our preference but really any chopped nut would do.
- Mini Chocolate Chips
- Chopped Heath Bars (or get the baking pieces that are already chopped)
- Graham Cracker crumbs
- Ritz Cracker crumbs (if you like the salty-sweet thing)
- Toasted coconut
- Gummy Worms
- Mini m&ms
- Mini marshmallows (or the freeze dried marshmallow bits)
- Butterscotch or Peanut Butter baking chips (chopped would probably stick better)
- Crushed cookies--Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butters, etc.
- Chopped candy bars such as Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfinger, etc.
- Chopped dried fruit, like cherries or craisins