real life test kitchen: caramel apples

carmelapples.jpg

Fall was in the air this past weekend in New York, and my husband and I felt like doing something seasonal. It’s too early to carve a pumpkin if we still want the Jack O’Lantern to look good on 10/31, so we decided to make caramel apples.

Josh is the chef in our household, and he found a recipe on Epicurious. Then, grocery list in hand, he bought Honeycrisp apples, a long-time favorite, at the local farmer’s market. A quick grocery store stop netted the rest of the ingredients: corn syrup, Ghiardelli bittersweet chcolate chips, and spooky sprinkles sure to please our toddler. Oh, we also had to buy a metal bowl for mixing and a candy thermometer — the temperature must be keenly watched and you can’t fudge it (pun intended).

The making was a little hard — it had to stirred the whole time and the temperature constantly monitored. The caramel went onto the apples quite smoothly, and we also added chocolate dipping sauce to some of them along with the seasonal sprinkles. The set pretty well, but definitely make for messy eating. But since it’s a once-a-year treat, who cares? And, yum! — Beth J.

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Those look pretty.

I think I must have had a deprived childhood, because to me, “caramel apples” are a distinct beast from “chocolate-covered apples” or “caramel-chocolate-apples” and are made with, like, little caramel squares that have to be unwrapped one by one and then heated on the stove. I remember making them once in 7th grade and it being so messy that it was a banned dish in my house for years!

If you order the “gourmet” sort, they tend to be encrusted with so much chocolate that they’re difficult to eat. If you buy plain caramel or caramel/nut apples at the supermarket, the apples are often rotting in the center. So making them yourself is probably the best way.

I definitely like the little ghost sprinkles!