Homemade caramel apples are an easy, fun, and delicious fall treat!
I’ve been a little addicted to caramel lately, if you hadn’t noticed. And I hope you don’t mind the back to back caramel recipes here, because— if I’m being honest— I’m not really sorry at all. ‘Tis the season!
Today I’m going to show you how to make caramel apples with homemade caramel. Sure, you can cheat and melt down caramel candy, but the homemade stuff is so much better. And it’s really not all that difficult. I’ll show you how!
First, start with clean apples. If the apples are from a traditional grocery store, then it’s likely that they have been coated in wax. To remove, soak apples in a sink filled with 4 inches of water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon baking soda, and scrub clean.
Remove the stems and insert wooden skewers or craft sticks.
Combine the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and cook over medium heat. The mixture will caramelize and turn golden as it cooks. When the mixture reaches 248 degrees F, remove it from the heat.
It’s important you stop cooking the caramel when it reaches exactly that temperature in order for the caramel to be just right. If it’s not cooked to a high enough temperature the caramel won’t be firm, and if it’s cooked too much the caramel will turn rock hard and be impossible to eat.
After you’ve taken the caramel off the stove, stir in the remaining cream, salt and vanilla extract. Immediately dip the apples into the caramel, rolling them until they are covered in caramel.
Let the excess caramel drip off of the apples.
Then roll the caramel-coated apple in whatever toppings you’d like (toasted nuts, coconut, chocolate, crushed candy bars, etc) or leave them plain.
Set the apples on a parchment or wax paper-lined sheet pan and chill in the fridge until firm.
And that’s it! Now see if you can resist devouring all of these caramel apples on your own.
(A quick note: I tested this recipe several times and on the version that I photographed the caramel was very bubbly, as you can see. I think this is because I was too enthusiastic in stirring the caramel while it cooked, incorporating air into it. If you stir occasionally as directed and not frequently like I did, you should be fine. Also, toppings are really good at covering all sorts of caramel apple goofs.)
Homemade Caramel Apples
- 1 cup heavy cream (237 ml)
- 1 cup sugar (200 grams)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (28 grams)
- ¼ corn syrup (60 ml)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 small apples , washed thoroughly
- 6 wooden skewers or craft sticks
- Nuts or other desired toppings , optional
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the 1 cup of cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth and mixture begins to boil.
- Insert a candy thermometer and let mixture cook to 248°F or firm-ball stage, while continuing to stir occasionally. Mixture will caramelize and turn golden brown as it cooks. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn.
- As soon as it reaches 248°F, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the 1 tablespoon cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Mixture will bubble violently at first. Stir until smooth.
- Working quickly, immediately begin dipping the apples, letting the excess caramel drip back into the pan. Roll the apples in the nuts or other toppings, if using. Set the dipped apples on a parchment-lined sheet pan and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- The caramel apples will keep stored at room temperature for 2 days, but are best the day they are made.