Friday, May 27, 2011

Carmel Apples

The boys have been pestering me for years about carmel apples. They see carmel and candy apples in the shops and they really want me to cave in and buy them.

My response is always the same, "Nope." They seldom ask why, because my answer is usually the same then too. I decided last weekend to make some carmel apples. I was debating using my typical carmel recipe or trying a new one, and in the end curiosity won out and I went with a new recipe.

The new recipe is as reasonably simple as the old recipe and only involves three ingredients: Cream, Honey, salt. Super simple. The original recipe I use called for the use of a candy thermometer but I don't own one.

The thermometer for cooking I have only reached half-way to the temperature I was suppose to reach. I decided to go the old fashioned route and use the "drop in a glass of cold water" trick.

They aren't too tricky to make either, especially if you do a little prep work first. Wash up some apples and dry them off. You can stick them in the fridge overnight if you want which will help the carmel set more quickly, but it's not necessary.  Either way you need to put sticks in them. I recommend craft sticks and not skewers, but skewers will work in a pinch.  If you don't have a candy thermometer place two cups of cold water next to the stove. Fill your kitchen sink 1/4 - 1/2 full of cold water. Make sure your apples have sticks in them and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat near your sink.

The original recipe said to place 1 cup of cream in a pan and bring all most to a boil. If you live in Australia and go pick up a small box of Pura cream you'll find you have 1.5 cups which is just enough for 1 1/2 recipes. That's what I went with and had enough for roughly 14 small apples. Either way, place your cream in bottom of a large pan and bring all most to a boil. Then pour in 1 cup of honey {if you're using that whole box of Pura cream then you'll need 1 1/2 c of honey} and 1/8 t of salt. Stir constantly until you get to softball stage.

When it reaches that stage I find it goes a really nice ambery color. If you have a candy thermometer you're good to use it and heave it reach 250 on the thing. I'm presuming that's Fahrenheit otherwise your kitchen just might be on fire, but the original recipe didn't specify. If you're doing the water test I just let a drop fall in the water and find that it sits there. Sometimes it falls to the bottom of the cup but holds it's form reasonably well.

Carefully put your pan in the sink. The idea is to let the pan cool so it stops cooking, but not to get the water in your pan. As long as you don't drop the pan in the water it shouldn't be too difficult. I also find that once the pan has been in the water for a minute or two that you can drain the water out of the sink. This helps keep the pan from tipping all over while you try to dip your apples. Once your carmel is slightly cooled start dipping your apples and spooning the carmel over them. If the carmel doesn't stick you need to let it cool a minute longer.

I dip the apples into the pan and spoon it in order to get an even coating. Lift the apples out and spin them a bit for a nice even coating. Place them back on the baking tray and continue until all your apples are coated. You'll need to move reasonably quickly here because as your carmel cools it will thicken and be harder to spread evenly. I like to use what's leftover in the pant to dip a few apple slices in. Yummy!

Once all your apples are coated, place the pan in the fridge until they are fully set. You'll know they are fully set because they are easy to pull of the baking paper. Otherwise they might stick a little bit. I hear tell you could put them outside if it's chilly enough, which it is here, but I wouldn't trust the birds or the neighbors cat not to come along and help themselves.

Once they are set, enjoy! This is actually the second batch we made, the first batch wasn't as pretty as I'd cooked the carmel a wee bit longer then I should have. Still tasted great but was more ate candy stage, meaning it hardened/thickened much more quickly. Best part? My kids decided after all those years of begging, they don't really like them! Oh yeah, and Mr S is not a fan of apples. I've only got about a dozen more to get through, anyone want to join me for a carmel apple? Very worth it!


Kayla said...

They look FANTASTIC!!! The kids must of been on cloud 9!!! We do this every October, my kids love it.

Diana said...

I'll have one! I LOVE caramel apples! We'll have to give this a try some time. I didn't realize caramel was so easy to make!

Angela said...

Kendra, these look really amazing! and a perfect treat for the fall. Thanks for sharing.

Tracey said...

I almost fainted when I saw this! I love those apples. Please send me one immediately.

Kendra said...

hehe, there's still some in the fridge! :D