Homemade caramel apples are a delicious way to ring in autumn, and making them at home is easier than you might think. Melt caramel in a double boiler over low heat on the stovetop, or in a bowl in the microwave. Insert a wooden stick into the stem end of each apple, dip the fruit into the caramel, and roll in chopped candies and nuts.
For a variety of tastes and colors, try a combination of sweet red and tart green apples—the more unusual the variety, the more one-of-a-kind your treats will be. Keep reading for more caramel apple-making tips.
Making Great Caramel Apples
After covering the apples with caramel, instead of stopping right there, try dipping the apples with your favorite flavors. A few ideas:
- Roasted nuts, such as crushed peanuts
- Toffee bits
- Black and orange Halloween sprinkles
- Rainbow nonpareils
- Peanut butter pieces
- Crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
Alternatively, make a chocolate-dipped variation: put 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl and place over but not touching barely simmering water in a saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Dip each apple into the caramel as directed below, letting the excess drip off, and then into the chocolate, coating only the bottom half. Or, drizzle the chocolate over the apple, letting it drip down the sides.
Homemade caramel sauce will take these sweets to the next level. Try our recipe and skip the candy aisle; just note that the texture of homemade sauce may be slightly different. (As always with caramel apples, prepare for sticky fingers.)
2 bags (each 14 oz.) caramels
1/4 cup water
8 small apples
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the caramels and water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep warm over low heat.
Insert a Popsicle stick or lollipop stick into the stem end of each apple. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Dip an apple into the caramel, coating it completely and letting the excess drip back into the pan, and place on the waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining apples, using a spoon to scoop caramel onto the sides of the apples. Let stand on the prepared baking sheet until the caramel has set, about 10 minutes.
Eat the caramel apples immediately, or wrap individually in waxed paper and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 8 caramel apples.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kids Parties, by Lisa Atwood (Oxmoor House, 2008).