Caramel Apples

Vietnamese food

Caramel Apple is not too hard.  Ricky told me just buy caramel sheets and wrap around apples or caramel squares, melt them, and dip apples in.  Done.  Yes, I agreed it is easy but still want to learn to make it from the basic ingredients as sugar and cream.  I was growing up with Kẹo Dừa, a caramel candy made by coconut milk, sugar and flavors.

I am very lucky observed skillful aunties making candies for a living and tasted freshly made candies. However, I never learn how to do it from her and I still can not understand why I did not grab many opportunities thrown in my way.  Hmmm… It was my fate, sigh… is my only and ever excuse. She can make soft candies “Kẹo dẻo or Kẹo kéo” or hard candies with nuts “Kẹo Đậu phọng, Kẹo hạt điều” from sugar and a bowl of water without any fancy ingredients as maltose or corn syrup or candy thermometer.

I am going to make soft caramel  from basic ingredients: sugar and cream  for my caramel apples.  Are you still there?  Let’s do it with precautions because hot sugar burn is not fun.  We need to have everything ready and if you use a pot with long handle-the handle should be turned sideways.  No kids around, they can help to have fun later.  My candy thermometer did not do well with a small amount of sugar mixture while the instant electric thermometer is more accurately. Remember do not let the tip touches the pan bottom which causes a higher false reading.  If you do not have a thermometer, use a water  test  (drop a drop sugar mixture in a small ice cold water bowl)

Simple caramel apples:

6 medium apples with ̉ wooden  sticks
1½ cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbs lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 Tbs butter (optional)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Assorted topping as coconut flakes, crushed peanut, sprinkles, melt chocolate, etc. for decoration

Wash apples, dry thoroughly, Insert  a wooden stick into apple’stem. Chill in the fridge.
Line a rimmed baking tray with silicon mat or wax/parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, heating heavy cream,vanilla and  1/2 butter until butter melt. Turn the heat down to low and keep warm.

In a large saucepan (3-4 quarts), clip the candy thermometer (if use) to the side-do not let the bulb touch the bottom if you use the bare bulb type,bring sugar, water, salt, lemon juice,to a boil over medium high heat. Stir or whisk to make sure all sugar is melted before boiling.  When sugar starts boiling, turn down the heat to keep a gently boiling without stirring, boil  to 320 oF.  Whisk in cream mixture slowly ( a small amount at a time).  Be careful the mixture will bubble willy.  The bubbles will subside and the sugar mixture cont. boiling gently. Stir occasionally to prevent hot spots. The mixture will become darker. Remove from heat when caramel reach to 245-250 oF. At this temperature, if you drop a tiny sugar amount into the ice water:  it will form a soft ball and only flatten when pressed.  Add remaining butter, stir to blend well.  Let it cool down about 220 oF and thicken enough to coat a spoon about 5-10 minutes.   Remove thermometer

Turn the pot a little bit on the side.  Dip apple one at a time into caramel, turn  until completely cover or at least 3/4.  Lift and hold the apple over over the pan to let excess caramel dripping back to the pot about 10 seconds. Then hold it upside down about 15 second allowing caramel begins to set.  Set aside on silicon mat. Repeat with other apples.  Chill apples in the fridge about 15 minutes.  Reshape excessed caramel accumulated at the bottom, then roll into toppings.  If caramel is too thick to coat, reheat it gently but not bring it back to simmer.   Let the apples set about 1 hour before serving or wrapping.  Store caramel apples at room temperature for 1 days and in the fridge 3-4 days.

* Note:

  • Pour  left over caramel  in a parchment line mold to make caramel candy or use for topping ice cream, cake, or in apple pie.
  • If the caramel is too soft, bring it back to a gentle boil over medium/medium low heat and check the temperature again.  If it is too hard, add 1/4 -1/2  cup milk,cream or water, melt it and bring it back to the right temperature slowly.
  • The caramel will set faster and harder at higher caramel mixture temperature.
  • The caramel is easy to manage at moderate heat but it will take longer to cook. 
  • The candy thermometer needs to be cool down before immerse it into cold/cool water.

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