Caramel Apples! (Three ways)

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Remove the stems from 6 apples and stick wooden craft sticks into the tops. Then, choose your variation and go to town!

1. The “Cheater” Way (just kidding!): Butter a baking sheet. Unwrap 14-ounces (1 package) individually wrapped caramels. Place unwrapped caramels in a bowl with 2 tablespoons milk. Microwave 2 minutes, stirring once. Roll each apple in caramel sauce. Place on buttered baking sheet until set. (from www.Allrecipes.com)

2. The Martha Stewart, “From Scratch” Way: Bring 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to pan, and continue to cook until mixture reaches 245 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes. Place pan in ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Dip bottom of each apple in caramel. Using a spoon, coat apple halfway to three-quarters of the way up sides. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes (or overnight). (from www.marthastewart.com)

3. The No-Processed Sugar, Less Guilty and Still Yummy Way: Soak 2 cups pitted dates in 1 cup water. Pulse-chop 2 cups nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or other nuts of your choice) in the food processor and transfer to a bowl. In the food processor, blend the soaked dates, 2 tablespoons almond or cashew butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 tiny pinch of sea salt. Using a butter knife, spread “caramel” on the apples. Roll the apples in the chopped nuts. Chill in the refrigerator before serving. (recipe adapted from Brigitte Mars).