Chocolate Caramel Apples — A Gourmet DIY Treat
Photos by Karynn Jorgensen
Apples by Rebekah Hughes
We love our apples in Southern Utah. After all, we have a whole festival dedicated to them this month in New Harmony on October 13. So, in honor of all the variety of apples we grow in this region we decided to dress up our apples in their party clothes. Is there anything that says fall and holidays more than caramel apples? Perhaps, chocolate covered gourmet caramel apples.
We asked Alive! Utah Taste and recipe developer Rebekah Hughes to share some of her tricks for creating the perfect chocolate covered caramel apple along with some decadent, shimmering gorgeous DIY ideas for making the apples the eye candy they are destined to be this time of year. She came up with some dazzling ideas. And yes, with a little sticky messy effort you too can create apples with the “Wow” factor.
What you need:
4 Large Apples (use your favorite – I love the kick of the granny smiths with the chocolate)
2 blocks of high quality chocolate of your choice (milk, dark, or white). We found that the Ghiradelli brand works the best.
Drizzle chocolate or chips of your choice. We used butterscotch, milk chocolate and white chocolate 2 bags of Caramels.
2 TB of shortening (more for your drizzling topping)
2 TSP Whole Milk (full cream milk)
Popsicle Sticks (paddle pop sticks). Try to get good quality ones as the cheaper ones will not be able to handle the weight of the apples when you are dipping.
Decorations: Sugar paper,, Wilton Gold Pearl Dust, Sugar edible pearls, silk maple leaves.
This preparation is important. So many times I am asked the same question – “How do you get the caramel not to just slide off the apple?” Here are some prep tips that will almost guarantee you success.
1. Scrub you apples with as hot water as possible and rub dry vigorously. This will remove as much of the wax as possible.
2. Chill your apples overnight. – Simply chilling them until they are cool to touch is not enough. You want the coolness to keep radiating from inside the apple so keep them chilling all night long. This will ensure your coatings set faster.
3. Chill your cookie sheets.
4. Work in a cool environment. If you are in the middle of summer try to do this in an area with air conditioning. When I do this in the winter I usually prop a window open. The chilled air can be your best buddy when setting caramel on apples.
Directions For The Caramel Apple:
Remove only one apple at a time from the refrigerator. This helps the other apples remain as chilled as possible.
1. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet or tray. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Unwrap all your caramels and place in a large microwavable bowl. Add milk and microwave 1 1/2 minutes, stir and place back in the microwave removing every minute to stir and make sure it is not burning. When caramel is a smooth runny consistency it is ready to be used.
3. Place your stick firmly into top of the apple.
4. Tilting the bowl of caramel slightly dip your apple in and rotate it around until it is completely coated. By not letting your apple rub along the sides of the bowl as you turn it you will have prettier more evenly coated apples.
5. Pull it out and rotate your apple over the bowl to let excess drip off.
6. Gradually as you see the caramel stiffening on the apple start rotating it slowly so it will continue to cool with as much of the caramel on as possible. Sometimes holding your apple by your freezer vent or by a cool breeze while turning slowly will help. Taking your time with the apples this way makes it so that you don’t have puddles of caramel form on your tray. I like to think of it as lava. Cool it down and eventually it will stop moving.
7. Place carefully on your tray . Don’t squish it down just let the apple and caramel set it’s own standing position.
Repeat with all apples, making more caramel sauce as needed if you run out.
8. Refrigerate over-night for completely set apples.
Directions For the Chocolate Covering:
As before, your caramel apples need to be completely chilled before embarking on the next step. Thankfully the chocolate cools a lot faster and quicker than the caramel.
1. Prepare your chocolate by heating it over a double boiler. Boil water in a pot and place a bowl with your chocolate on top of it making sure it does not touch the water. This will ensure even heating. Add your shortening. Stir the chocolate when needed, keep a close eye on it. When completely smooth and runny remove from heat.
2. Remove one apple at a time from the fridge. Dip the apple in melted chocolate until it is completely coated (without touching the sides of the bowl), letting remaining chocolate drip off.
3. As chocolate drip slows, start to rotate it slowly to help with the even spread and setting. If you want to add toppings such as crushed Oreos, toffee bits, nuts (Whatever candy bar takes your fancy really. you just need to chop them pretty small) then now is the time to apply them. It is best if you scoop it in one hand and holding the apple in your other press it into the chocolate. If you do this too early it will all just slide off.
4. When chocolate looks stable place it on the tray to cool until it is set.
5. Continue with remaining apples.
Once you have coated your apples in caramel and chocolate it is time to get creative. Here are a few ideas to give as a gifts or serve at parties. View our slideshow below for a how to on each of our apples. Photos in slideshow by Karynn Jorgensen. Directions for each apple found below.
The Shimmered Drizzle
Once the chocolate coating is firm you can put on the drizzle.
1. Mix another batch of different colored chocolate or melts using the chocolate melting method above. Mix and heat it with shortening like you did the chocolate. (The shortening allows it to set fast and hard and also gets it runny.)
2. Using a spoon or fork—PREPARE TO GET MESSY!——- Coat your utensil and then start flicking it over the apple. The more you flick the thinner your drizzle marks will be so don’t be shy or afraid of the mess, just go for it. I like to flick in one diagonal direction, and then go the opposite direction over the top to make a fun crisscross pattern.
Feel free to experiment with different flavor combinations of your choice.
Our favorite: Milk chocolate covered apple with butterscotch and white chocolate drizzles.
Edible Gold Dust is a great inexpensive way to jazz up any apple, caramel, chocolate, drizzled. It doesn’t take skill or a whole lot of patience. To apply, simply dip a small craft paint brush into the tube and brush in the desired direction on the apple. It’s that simple!
These white chocolate leaves would be great in the butterscotch chips as well,
1. Take fabric/plastic maple leaves or really any desired plastic leaves and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Melt chocolate or melts and then to the BACK side of the leaf (because the imprint is a mirror image) coat a decent layer of chocolate all the way to the edges of the leaf. This is pretty quick so you might as well do a bunch of them as they are so pretty and easy.
3. Chill on either parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet on a tray in the refrigerator,
4. When the leaf is chilled remove from the refrigerator and using a brush paint on the chocolate or melts to support areas of the leaf that might need more support during the removal of the leaf from the chocolate.
5. Return to fridge and set completely.
6. Starting from one corner gently peel off the plastic leaf. If desired you can then dust with edible colors such as the Wilton gold dust used here.
Sugar paper is more stunning as a decoration and doesn’t bring much in the way of flavor to the apple, it doesn’t taste terrible, just like sugar flour. But it does have a certain “wow” factor if you have a special occasion!
1. Measure out the size of shapes on your apple before cutting. We did diamonds here and we used the Wilton Black and White Damask printed sugar paper.
2. Super simple and easy to use – it looks complicated and may be intimidating but all you do is simply peel off plastic backing and cut out your shape.
3. Attach sugar paper shapes to your apple with melted chocolate. Brush the chocolate onto the back of the paper and smooth onto the apple. The chocolate sets fast once your brush so be ready to put it on the apple quickly.
4. Add edible pearls to diamond corners for a final touch.
Rebekah Hughes loves to cook Thai food and come up with creative delicacies. She lives in Enoch with her three children and husband. You can find more of Rebekah’s tasty recipes at her foodblog From Our Tummies To Yours