Eating a gooey caramel apple is one of those childish pleasures that everyone can enjoy once in a while, particularly in the fall, when apple season is in full swing. The coating on this one is made with sugar as well as maple syrup, which gives it a more complex and nuanced flavor than your typical fair grounds version. I suggest using small apples, which are easier to eat than the big ones and give you a higher ratio of caramel to apple. These confections also lend themselves well to embellishment – drizzle them with dark and/or white chocolate for a more festive look. A word of caution: use a candy thermometer – preferably a digital one – to judge when the caramel is ready – overcooking it by even a few degrees will make the coating hard as a rock and impossible to eat without sacrificing a molar or two.
Makes 8 apples
Special equipment: 8 wooden caramel apple or popsicle sticks
- 8 small apples, preferably organic
- 1 cup (242 grams) heavy cream
- 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 grams) apple juice
- ½ cup (150 grams) Grade A maple syrup
- ¼ cup (80 grams) light corn syrup
- If your apples are not organic, scrub them well under warm water to remove the wax and dry them thoroughly (this will help to make the caramel stick). Stick a wooden stick through the stem end of each apple and place the apples on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment paper.
- Place the cream, butter and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Stir to combine and remove the pan from the heat.
- Combine the sugar, apple juice, maple syrup and corn syrup in a 3-quart saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and continue to boil the mixture until it turns a dark amber color, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the hot cream mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the syrup until it reaches 248°F on a candy thermometer (this will take a while – anywhere from 12-20 minutes, depending on your stove). Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool for 1 minute. Working quickly, dip an apple in the caramel, tilting the pan so that the caramel pools at one end and swirling the apple to cover it completely. Let the excess caramel drip off the apple and then place it, stem end up, on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining apples and caramel. Let the apples stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to set.