Apples taste so much better in the fall. Probably because they’re fresh instead of from a warehouse somewhere where they’ve been stored for a year. Whatever the reason, fall apples have so much more flavor and when I picked up some beautiful granny smith apples this week, I knew they were destined to be covered in caramel. =) I wanted to make homemade caramel, partly because I thought it would have better flavor and partly because I really hate to unwrap all those individual caramels. I wasn’t overly optimistic that it would turn out though. I don’t have the best track record with candy making. That’s why I picked a caramel recipe that called for corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk instead of just sugar and half-and-half, because I knew the recipes with corn syrup and condensed milk would be more forgiving. I can’t say enough good things about this recipe. It was amazing! I only made 6 caramel apples because there were only 3 of us and they’ll only keep about a day. I thinned the remaining caramel down with some milk and used it as a caramel dip a couple days later and to make some yummy caramel cream cheese icing. You could also use it as ice cream topping. Enjoy!

Homemade Caramel Apples
up to 12 apples (I like to use a tart apple, such as granny smith)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup corn syrup
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Assemble all ingredients: wash and dry apples, insert sticks, and line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. Spray wax paper with non-stick spray.
2. Heat all ingredients except vanilla in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium/low heat. Stir constantly! (Unless you really like the look of scorched bits on your apples.) When caramel reaches soft ball stage (235°F–240°F) remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool a few minutes.
3. Using the stick inserted in the apples, dunk apples in the hot caramel and twirl slowly away from the heat for a couple of minutes.
4. Place caramel-covered apples on lined cookie sheet.
*Cold apples work best because it doesn’t take as long for the caramel to set, so you don’t have to twirl as long. Just make sure to wipe any condensation off the apple before you dip it in the caramel, otherwise the caramel won’t stick.

Extra caramel:
1. Can be scraped out with a spatula into a buttered plate or dish to be cut into individual pieces when cool.
2. Can be thinned in the pan with milk or half-and-half and eaten warm, as a dip for apple wedges.

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Categories: Candy, Snacks

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