Perhaps you are still overwhelmed and completely passed the cloying post-Halloween saccharine sweets. I, for one, am not. Almost, but not quite yet. I suppose not partaking (nor having little munchkins to participate) in the trick-or-treat ritual contributes to this yet-to-be satisfied sweet tooth of mine. And, c’mon, it’s not that bad. Surely, the notion of a caramel apple is not only nostalgic of those childhood worry-free carnivals and festive Autumn holidays, but also convincing (to lure you into complying with the requests of your ever-present sweet tooth). After all, it is still a fruit for goodness sake.
And what’s that pervasive saying, again? Oh yes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
I should probably be following these universal prescriptions myself as I have been feeling rather under the weather lately. Yes, everyone, people in Hawaii are still capable of feeling “under the weather” or, more appropriately, sick. Regardless, this treat or the fondly reminiscent images of it still brightened up my mood, to say the very least. The only difficulty I encountered, being that it was my very first time using a candy thermometer, was that I didn’t allow the caramel to cook as long as instructed (in terms of temperature), which thus resulted in a slightly more translucent and viscous sauce. Hence, the ostensible redness of the apple versus the ideal sheen of rich, thick, sticky golden brown caramel. *drool*
If anything, I suggest being more patient with this newly-purchased toy (unless, you’re a pro or a more-than-likely experienced cook or candy-maker, all very much unlike myself). I couldn’t help it. I was in a bit of a rush and wanted desperately to hurry this delicate caramel-making process. Again, to my dismay, it could have been so much better. Oh well, lesson learned. For future reference, if you come across a similar situation and even patience does not seem to salvage your runny caramel, a couple tips I’ve fortunately come across are the following: swap packed brown sugar for white, as it is unrefined and contains molasses, which elicits a deeper flavor with more caramel and perhaps consider using a little less water or butter to reduce the liquid content. Otherwise, out of frustration and anxiety from a lack of time, putting it in the fridge seemed to thicken the concoction up noticeably. However, believe me when I say regardless of the appearance outcome (or lack thereof), the glorious smell and heavenly taste of this simple treat definitely takes you down memory lane to a time of child-like innocence and excitement for the tricks or treats of Halloween, Fall, the Holidays and consequently, everything around and inbetween.
Adapted from the Food Network
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbspns unsalted butter
1 tspn vanilla extract
pinch of salt
5-6 apples, of your preference
5-6 candy sticks (or economically, in my case, wooden chopsticks)
parchment paper, coated with some cooking spray to prevent sticking
Rinse and wipe the apples and insert the sticks in the stem-end of the apples then set aside.
Mix the sugar, corn syrup and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just until the sugar completely dissolves.
Cook for a while. swirling the pan (do not stir), until the mixture is light amber and a candy thermometer registers at 320 degrees, 10-13 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Slowly whisk in the heavy cream, butter, vanilla and salt.
Return to low heat and whisk until smooth.
Let cool (remember, patience) until the caramel is thick enough to coat a spoon.
Prepare parchment-lined baking pan and coat it with cooking spray.
Dip the apples into the caramel, allowing the excess drip off. Roll in desired toppings (crushed nuts, coconut flakes, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, you name it) or enjoy it au naturale (hehe, kind of).
Then, let cool on the baking sheet until ready to eat (as in, you can’t resist any longer!)