Nothing says Halloween to me more than Carmel Apples! I began this tradition with my sister about 11 years ago before I had kids, and eleven years later here I am loving it more than ever! The process has evolved over the years…after I moved to Arizona I combined forces with my neighbor to make apples and use them to “BOO” friends. Now we set a day each year before Halloween to make apples, package them, and load the kids in the car to deliver them to the families we’ve chosen to “BOO” that year. I have to say my favorite part of the process (besides making the apples) is taking the kids to deliver them. We wait until it gets dark, plan our route, and enjoy a good laugh watching as the kiddos run up to each house in their masks to deposit the packages on the front porch. The process of watching them ring the doorbell before running back to the car as fast as they can so we can drive away is comical to say the least. But we must be doing something right, because we haven’t been caught yet.
Since we make the apples and boo the week of the 31st, it’s also become a tradition to have some leftover to share the day of Halloween!
Here’s a few tips for making apples I’ve learned along the way…
- The NUMBER ONE way to get the carmel to stick is to heat the caramel to 190 degrees Fahrenheit!!
- Use a candy thermometer to determine the temp of the caramel. Again, we’re shooting for 190, any hotter or any cooler and the caramel won’t stick.
- FYI…I’ve tried the hot water method to remove the wax from the apples and in my experience it’s an unnecessary extra step to get the caramel to stick.
- I’ve always used the Kraft brand of caramels and followed the instructions on the back of the package. However, this year we were only able to find the Brach’s brand. The wrappers were incredibly difficult to remove which ended up being rather time consuming. I recommend using the Kraft brand if you can find it.
- Candy Thermometer
- Caramel Apple Sticks
- 12 small/medium Granny Smith Apples
- 2 11 oz. bags of caramels I prefer the kraft brand of caramels
- 1/4 c. water
- 2 c. chopped salted peanuts
- Halloween sprinkles
For the Chocolate
- 1 c bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
- Wash and dry apples
- Remove stems and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Insert sticks into apples. Set aside
- Remove caramels from wrappers and place in a saucepan with high sides
- Slowly heat over medium low heat
- Attach candy thermometer to the side of the pan
- Stir the carmels occasionally until the temp reaches 190°F
- One at a time dip the apples in the caramel pushing down until the caramel reaches the top. Move the apple around the caramel until the surface is covered with caramel
- Lift from the pan and allow the access caramel to drip back into the pan
- Place the apple back on the parchment lined sheet pan and repeat with the remaining apples.
- Add topings as desired.
For the chocolate
- Place 3/4 of the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Reserve the remaining 1/4 c. and set aside.
- Place the chocolate in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds.
- Remove from microwave and stir
- Return the chocolate to the microwave and repeat the process until the chocolate is almost completely melted (it should take 90 seconds total).
- Add the remaining 1/4 c of chocolate to the melted chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is completely melted.
- Dip a fork into the chocolate. Lift it out and quickly drizzle over the apples in a back and forth motion.
- Repeat until apples are drizzled with chocolate to your liking.
- If using sprinkles, add to to apples immediately after drizzling with chocolate so it they will stick.
For the Peanuts
- Add peanuts to the bowl of a food processor
- Pulse until all nuts have been chopped into small chunks
- Place in a bowl with high sides
- Add freshly dipped apple to the bowl of nuts and press until all sides are covered