Caramel And Candied Apples: A Slice Of Sweetness

N. went apple picking last week and brought back enough fruit to make apple quesadillas for a work potluck. Inspired by her adventurous recipe and the bounteous selections of organic apples at the farmer’s market, I bought a few different varieties and made dessert for two.

The small organic apples are a great snack, but their diminutive shape also makes them more manageable to dip in melted caramel or sugar syrup. Playing around with a classic recipe meant that the candied apples didn’t have to the neon-red color that kids adore. Instead, a hint of red highlights their natural appearance. When these caramel or syrup-covered apples are sliced, each piece is covered with just enough sweetness to satisfy sugar cravings!

Caramel Apples

Caramel squares – 5-6 oz. (available in candy aisles in packets containing individually wrapped pieces)

Whole Cream – 1-2 tbsp

Apples – 4

Wooden skewers – 4

Lightly buttered waxed paper (or a few vases) to hold the sticky apples

  • Halve the wooden skewers.
  • Wash the apples and dry them thoroughly. Remove the stalk, and pierce with the skewer. Refrigerate the apple lollipops while you are working with the caramel. (Warm caramel sticks easily to the cold apples)
  • Add the caramel squares to a small pan. On medium heat, melt the caramel. Using the back of a wooden spoon, bring together the separate caramel squares.
  • Add the cream a little at a time, until the melted caramel becomes a thick, gooey mass.
  • Remove the skewered apples from the refrigerator and dip them one at a time into the warm caramel. Tilt the pan as you swirl the apple, to coat it completely and evenly in caramel.
  • Place the coated apple on waxed paper or keep it upright in the vase to catch the drips. Repeat for all the apples.
  • Refrigerate the fruit until the caramel hardens.
  • Remove the apples from the refrigerator about 5 minutes before serving, so that they can be cut easily into slices.

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Candied Apples

Sugar – ½ cup

Light corn syrup – ¼ cup

Water – ¼ cup

Red food coloring – 2-3 drops

Cinnamon stick – 1

Apples – 4

Wooden skewers – 4

Lightly-buttered waxed paper or a vase to hold the sticky apples

  • Halve the wooden skewers.
  • Wash the apples and dry them thoroughly. Remove the stalk with a corer, and pierce with the skewer. Refrigerate the apple lollipops, while working with sugar syrup.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a small pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer for about 20 -25 minutes. The syrup should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick.
  • Remove the skewered apples from the refrigerator and dip them one at a time into the warm sugary mixture. Tilt the pan as you swirl the apple to coat it completely and evenly.
  • Place the syrup-coated apple on waxed paper or keep them upright in the vase to catch the drips. Repeat for all the apples.
  • Refrigerate the fruit until the syrup hardens.
  • Remove them from the refrigerator about 5 minutes before serving, so that they can be cut easily into slices.

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Notes:

  • Apples should be small since this makes them easier to coat. Pick apples that do not have the shiny waxy surface or else they will not coat easily.
  • Look for firm and slightly tart apples as they pair well with caramel.
  • Dip sugar-coated apples into a mix of granola and nuts or crushed pecans for more texture. Flavor with a dash of chili for a combination of spicy and sweet tastes.
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