This post is dedicated to my sister. I made these caramel apples – or toffee apples if you prefer, for her. She requested them at least a month ago. Probably longer. In fact, almost definitely longer.
I am a rubbish sibling.
On the plus side, at least I made them before Christmas.
I am not a huge fan of caramel apples. I am even less of a fan of those horrendous red candy covered things that lurk around the supermarket shelves at this time of year. It is most likely the thought of those and the potential they have to break teeth that has put me off sugary coated apples full stop.
Which is odd because I like apples and I like caramel. But the two together . . . not so much.
Although . . .
This caramel is wonderfully buttery and rich, just like toffee should be. It doesn’t set completely hard, there is some chew in it and a little bit of sqidgy-ness.
Maybe I should give one of these caramel apples a go. I might be pleasantly surprised. After all I have been stealing little bits of the left over toffee ever since and my dad and I gleefully prised it off the spoons once it had cooled down enough not to remove the skin from the roof of our mouths.
Speaking of the left over caramel – I used a bag of small mixed apples – nine in total. I thought I was going to have masses of caramel left over, but I didn’t. I probably could have dunked another three or so. If you use larger apples, you won’t need as many. I poured the remaining caramel into a prepared 8 inch x 8 inch tin (greased and lined with non-stick paper) and left it to cool. After half an hour or so I removed it from the tin and scored some lines in it with the tip of a sharp knife (the knife may have slipped and left a divot in the dining room table, but shush, don’t tell anyone). Then when it is completely cold, whack it with a toffee hammer to break it into bits. It will still be a little sticky but that makes it all the more enjoyable. If you are feeling very adventurous, you could pour it into silicone moulds to make lollipops. Unfortunately the only vaguely appropriate silicone mould I had to hand was shaped like little pigs. I thought maybe not . . .
I kept these plain and simple, but if you want to dunk the ends in some nuts, or garishly coloured sprinkles, then feel free.
And remember, caramel apples are not just for Halloween, they would also be perfect for Bonfire Night.
- 8 large apples or 12 smaller ones of your choice.
- 400g granulated sugar
- 240ml liquid glucose (or corn syrup)
- 3g sea salt
- 120ml double cream
- 1tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 170g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- Cover a large baking sheet with non-stick paper. Make sure it is big enough to place all the apples on after they have been dunked in the caramel with space in-between them as the caramel will spread a little.
- Remove the stalks from the apples, turn them upside down and carefully shove a lolly stick where the sun doesn’t shine. As moisture and caramel don’t get on very well, tidy up any splatters of juice that may have occurred when the stick was inserted.
- Place the sugar, liquid glucose and salt in a large pan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved, swirling occasionally. Raise the heat to medium-high, clip on a sugar thermometer and heat until the mixture reaches 154 Celsius / 310 Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile place the cream and vanilla paste in a small pan and gently heat over a low heat until it starts to simmer. Turn off the heat and keep warm until needed.
- When the sugar syrup reaches temperature turn off the heat and add the warm cream and vanilla mixture. Stir it in until combined, but be careful as the cream will cause the sugar syrup to bubble up vigorously – stir quickly then stand back until the storm has passed. Check the temperature of the mixture. If it has dropped below 135 Celsius / 275 Fahrenheit then warm until it reaches this temperature.
- Remove the pan from the heat (if you have had to put it back on) and add the butter, stirring continuously until it has completely melted and is incorporated. It will take a minute or two and during those minutes there will be a buttery oil slick on top of the caramel that will make you wonder if you should have used less butter. Trust me, it will mix in, give it time.
- While the caramel is still hot, dip in each apple, one at a time, and swirl to cover it as completely as possible. Hold it over the pan to allow as much excess to drip off as possible, then place on the prepared baking sheet and leave to cool.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014