Saturday, July 12, 2014

Caramel Apples. Eat 'em or weep.

Making caramel takes commitment. That statement may (sadly) stop some of you from making it but I know there's someone out there with the determination and chutzpah to make this goodness happen – if that's you, you will be handsomely rewarded! 

Caramel apples are time machines in disguise. Just one bite and you'll understand. The holding of the stick, the awkward angling of the head (and apple) so you can take that first bite, the tang of the apple, the stickiness of the caramel and the juice running down your's what kids do. Not what adults do. No kid would ever expect to come home and find that their parents had made them a batch of caramel apples just for fun. If you make these your parent cred will go up exponentially (in the eyes of your child...possibly not in the eyes of other parents but who cares what they think, besides there are apples involved so you're totally providing a balanced meal).

The two toughest things about making caramel are the constant stirring and the heat. You can’t leave caramel to its own devices or you’ll end up with a lumpy, pebbly, potentially burnt mess. You also can’t be careless with it as caramel can give a nasty burn. No matter how tempted you are to dip in a finger or lick the spoon, don’t. Just don't. Making caramel involves heating sugar to a very high temperature and sugar burns are pure evil. 

So now that I’ve scared you all away (I hope there are still a few of you left!) below is the caramel apple recipe that I promised a few weeks back. Contrary to the above it’s actually quite easy and it results in a delicious, slightly chewy, creamy caramel that is the perfect partner to a crisp, tart apple. Do it for the kids.

Special thanks to Little Miss Rose for the photos. 

Caramel Apples 
225g butter 
2 cups brown sugar 
1 cup golden syrup 
1 can (395g) condensed milk 
1-2 tsps vanilla extract 
8-10 apples, Granny Smith are best
Chopsticks or clean twigs 
Candy thermometer 

Grease a large sheet of baking paper with butter. Wash apples and push a chopstick into the top of each. Dip apples in boiling water for 5 seconds and dry to remove any wax. 

Place the first four ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Stir constantly from start to finish otherwise it may crystallise or burn. Once the caramel starts to bubble insert a candy thermometer and continue stirring until it reaches 118-120°C (around 15 minutes). Remove caramel from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool for a few minutes then dip each apple in, rotating to cover the apple and shaking a little to remove excess. Stand on the greased baking paper to set. 

*Weekly Tip: For extra good times, dip the caramel apples in crushed nuts, cookie pieces, mini marshmallows or chocolate chips. 

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