Ok, so I didn’t really make homemade apples. Guess the title is a little misleading on that part. But I have made LOTS of homemade caramels. When I say LOTS…I mean LOTS.
I made tons of homemade caramels for Erin’s wedding. They were such a big hit that I have had people calling me since asking if I would make them a batch. Sooo, over the past few weeks, I have made about 10-12 batches of caramels. I had my niece Kristin for several days during that time and she decided that we needed to make caramel apples instead of just rolling small pieces of caramel into bite-size pieces. I think she got tired of rolling the caramels in their wrappers. It is all a tedious process but OhSo worth it!
I originally found the recipe on SouthernPlate.com last year and knew right off I had to make them. Then we tried them…and had to make more. And more. And more. Then Erin requested them for the Candy Bar at her wedding. Then this one and that one has requested them. We have had many trials and errors while making homemade caramels but here at The Post-It Place, we just can’t stay away from them and I am going to tell you how to avoid some of the errors that we have made along the way, as well as how to use that homemade caramel to make some of the best caramel apples ever!
First, we have to make the caramel itself. Here is Christy from SouthernPlate’s recipe with a few note on things we have learned:
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup Butter or Margarine (I only use real butter. I found that when I used margarine it didn’t turn out quite right but that may also have something to do with the humidity or something here.)
1 teaspoon vanilla (I used a little more just for the flavor. Like a teaspoon and a half.)
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Line an eight inch square pan with heavy aluminum foil. Butter foil and set aside. I personally used a 9 X11 aluminum pan and buttered the pan, didn’t use foil. The reason being is that it cooled faster and I could get them rolled out quicker. In large sauce pot, place sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil slowly for four minutes without stirring and then remove from heat. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Return to medium heat and place candy thermometer in pot. Cook, stirring constantly, until thermometer reads Soft Ball Stage (238 degrees). It takes about 30 minutes of stirring, and you have to continuously stir, stir, stir! You are gonna want a break, but keep stirring! Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour into prepared pan. Allow to cool until able to handle. I test by placing my hand on the top of the caramel, you want it to be a little warm so that it is still able to be worked, but cool enough to handle. Cut into one inch squares and place each square (which will look like a blob at this point) in the center of a wax paper square, roll up and twist ends. I personally don’t cut mine. I pinch off a bit and roll it into a ball and place on the wax paper. You will then want it to sit and cool/dry completely before you roll it in the wax paper. This helps prevent the caramel from sticking to the paper when you unwrap to eat.
Now, if you want to make caramel apples you will want to make the caramel as stated above, but instead of pouring it into a prepared pan I simply place mine (in the pan I cooked it in) on top of another pan with water…essentially making it a double boiler. Keeping the caramel warm and pliable I simply dipped my apples in and placed them on waxed paper to cool. That is it. EASY. I didn’t have any sticks for my apples. I hunted all over town with no luck. So, we just improvised…
BUT, quite by accident due to being in a hurry we found a MUCH tastier way we like caramel apples. I had cut an apples into pieces for another project and had some left over so I poured some of the caramel over the cut apples. OHHHhhMyStinkinHeck!!!!
They were FABULOUS. Here is why: The warm caramel poured over the apple slices released the apples natural juices which then combined with the caramel making like a caramel apple juice sauce. Ok, and you got more caramel with each bite.