Sunday, October 27, 2013

Homemade Caramel & Caramel Apples

I shared this post a while back about caramel apples.  It calls for the use of store caramel (you know the little squares that are individually wrapped).  Well, I have always hated how easily the caramel runs off the apples!!!  And, I love caramel but have never really enjoyed the caramel squares you buy in the store...  So, I found a few recipes on how to make homemade caramel.  This is by far my favorite!!  I will NEVER buy store caramel again!!!  Well, unless it is for school which will not allow homemade food items...

This is easy to make and so YUMMY!!!


12 whole apples (if making caramel apples - I prefer Granny Smith for these)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup Karo light corn syrup
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (set aside until end)
Optional toppings:  chopped nuts, melted chocolate, mini candies like M&M's, gummy bears, ...

Assemble all ingredients: wash and dry apples, insert sticks, and butter a cookie sheet.   Buttering the cookie sheet will make your life so much easier when it comes to working with caramel!!!
Heat all ingredients except vanilla in a heavy 2-quart saucepan (I used a coated pan to prevent sticking and it worked perfectly) over medium/low heat. Stir constantly to prevent burning! 
It looks pretty light for a while.  The color changed after adding the vanilla (last step).
When caramel reaches soft ball stage (235°F–240°F) remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir well.  Let cool a few minutes.
Now that looks like caramel!
Using the stick inserted in the apples, dunk apples in the hot caramel and twirl slowly away from the heat for a couple of minutes.

I continued to spin my apples for a while to let the caramel cover the apple.
If I would have sat it on the pan right away the caramel would have mostly slid off the apple. 
Place caramel-covered apples on a buttered cookie sheet. If you want to dress-it up with toppings now would be the time.

Please excuse my well used pan ;-)
Extra caramel (or all the caramel if you are not making apples):

1. Can be scraped out with a spatula into a buttered plate or dish to be cut into individual pieces when cool.  You can wrap the pieces in wax paper (Caramel on wax side).  I still have to perfect the "packaging" but so far I have found that storing the caramel in a cool area (refrigerator) makes it easy to peel it apart from the wrapper.

2. Can be thinned in the pan with half-and-half and eaten warm, as a dip for apple wedges.

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