Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Caramel Apples-Nut Free

If you plan on making caramel apples for an allergic child, you can forget about using the pre-made caramels you simply melt. You probably won't be buying ready-made caramel apples either, as the facilities are full of peanuts. I used the following caramel recipe from my 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, with a few minor changes, I will note. In place of crushed peanuts, we crumbled up Hob Nobs, and jimmies instead. It worked great.

A few notes about making caramel apples:

1). Make sure your apples are completely dry, and warm-room temperature at least. I know some people suggest chilling the apples first-those are the people who have the caramel slide off their apples. I had no problem getting the caramel to stick.

2). Make your own brown sugar. The flavour is deeper, better, and you can save a ton of money making your own. Pour some granulated sugar in a bowl. Pour full flavour molasses over it, mixing with your hand as you add (it will be sticky, but it comes off as the sugar absorbs it). Keep adding until you get the deepness of flavour you want. Store in a tightly closed plastic bag. That's it.

3). You will have extra caramel-have a small buttered pan ready to hold the extra. When it cools, cut it into squares.

4). Coarse salt makes a really great caramel apple coating. Crushed pretzels do as well.

5). If making these for a youngster, be sure to have extra tooth fairy money on hand as these have a way of extracting already loose teeth.

6). Conversely, if you're over 40, your money will be going to the dentist if you try biting into one of these. I suggest cutting the apple in slices.

OK-let's make caramel apples. This recipe is for 8 medium sized apples.

You Will Need:

Butter a sheet of waxed paper and place on a baking sheet.

skewers (I used wooden sticks from the art store used for scratch pads, but popsicle sticks, or even chopsticks will work too)
8 Medium apples, washed and dried and at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white corn syrup (I've never tried golden syrup, but I'll bet it would work fine)
2/3 cup butter (I used unsalted)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine everything except vanilla in a large, heavy pot (it will really foam up as it cooks). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a long handled wooden spoon (to avoid splatters) until it reaches 246 degrees F. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and immediately transfer to a heat proof bowl. Stir to help it cool. As it thickens and cools, keep stirring. When it will coat a spoon pretty well (about five minutes), dip your apples. If coating with anything (cookies, jimmies, etc.) dip it quickly in a bowl of the coating, then transfer to a baking sheet to dry. Depending on the temperature and humidity where you are, they may need to set in the fridge. Mine did not.

When cool, wrap tightly in cling film.

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