|Sea Salted Caramel Apples|
I love caramel apples. Who doesn't? They make the perfect Fall treat and gift. I had my eye on some hand dipped gourmet caramel apples in a favorite chocolate store in historic Frederick, Maryland the other day. But the 10 dollar price tag for one apple is pretty steep, especially when you need several. Plus it's a lot more fun to "DIY"! I made these for a 'Harvest Dinner Party' we had with friends the other day. These are really simple and taste and look fantastic. No store bought caramels to unwrap! I made a simple homemade caramel with staples you should have on hand. Yes, you will need a candy thermometer. If you don't have one, GET one! You can get them almost any good grocery store, but at any great kitchen store as well. You'll use it for all kinds of yummy things, I promise! These apples make adorable place tag holders, not to mention great gifts and party favors.
10 small Granny Smith apples
10 wooden caramel apple dowels (I buy these in bulk)
2 pounds milk chocolate
coarse sea salt
Stick wooden caramel apples dowels into tops of 10 small tart crisp apples. In a smaller crock pot, heat milk chocolate on the "warm" setting. If chocolate needs to be thinned a little for dipping, stir 2-4 tablespoons vegetable shortening into the chocolate. Stir occasionally while you make the caramel.
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
11 ounces quality milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Prepare a flat baking sheet or platter with parchment paper and set aside. In small but heavy pot, combine sugars, corn syrup, water, vinegar and salt. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cook to 235 degrees. Whisk in butter and bring to a boil again. Boil gently until caramel reaches 245 degrees. Remove from heat. Let stand a minute. Take hold of the apples by the stick and roll apples on their sides through the caramel. Or use a spoon to pour caramel over the top of the apples. You may need to use both dipping methods to cover apples. You don't have to completely cover the top of the apples with the caramel. It's fun to see some green apple showing through too. Scrape off excess caramel from bottom of apple with a spoon. Place caramel apple on parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until caramel is set.
In small sauce pan on lowest heat possible, melt chocolate chips and shortening while stirring constantly. This will just take a few minutes. Have a small bowl of coarse sea salt ready. Dip caramel apples in melted chocolate by rolling the sides of the apples through the chocolate. Scrape excess chocolate off the bottom of apples with a spoon. Set on a tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle fresh chocolate dipped apples immediately with a little coarse sea salt. Allow to set in a very cool location until set and ready to wrap or eat.