Monday, August 27, 2012

Party Caramel Apples: Recipe and How to

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First, A Story of Failure (Learn from My Mistakes)

For my son's 3rd birthday party I had it in my head that I had to make caramel apples.  Had to be homemade, had to have chocolate, and I had to make them for the party.  No negotiating, I just had to make them.  In preparation for making them, I tried a few caramel recipes.  The first recipe I tried  smelled good, went on the apples well enough, but when it hardened, it turned into a grainy disaster, that crumbled when you bit, pulled, or chewed it, instead of being that wonderful chewy caramelly goodness.

They look ok, the ones that the caramel actually stayed on, but they had an awful texture.
 I wasn't sure what I had done wrong.  I didn't have corn syrup when I made this batch (one of the main ingredients), so in my infinite wisdom I looked it up on the internet how to substitute it, and the site I looked at said just add x amount of sugar and y amount of water in place of the corn syrup called for, and it will be all good.  Upon further reflection, and research, after this bombed batch, I found out that the site left out something important about subbing that for corn syrup:  the very important part about boiling those to things to a softball stage and THEN adding it to the other ingredients in place of corn syrup.  Anyways, two lessons learned: 1) don't believe every substitution you see on the internet. 2)  Just go out and by an ingredient if it is going to be that crucial to success.  When making candy, I have decided that there are some substitutions that can't be made, it is too much chemistry dependent.

On to the Party Caramel Apple Success and Recipe

Ok, enough blabbering about my first epic caramel fail.  I went back to the drawing board the next morning (literally got up uber early and set out to try again, I don't like to fail), and tried for redemption.  Correct ingredients in hand this time, I made another batch, and it came out beautiful!  Best caramel ever!  I made half a batch so I wouldn't waste ingredients if it was a failure, and I made them into little caramels that I wrapped up (didn't have any more apples, as I had wasted them all the night before).  Delicious!  This is the recipe I ended up using to make the caramel apples.

If you are going to wrap them up and give them as party favors like I did, I have included the items to do that.  They were the cutest party favors ever, everyone loved them, and I would do it again in a heart beat!  These would also be wonderful for halloween parties, just melt some orange candy melts instead of the white chocolate. If you end up having extra caramel left after you dip them all, line an 8x8" baking pan with parchment paper and just pour it right in and stick it in the fridge to firm up.


Party Caramel Apples


(Adapted from Chewy Caramel from All Recipes)
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 pound light brown sugar
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 medium-large tart-sweet apples like grannysmith
  • 12 bamboo caramel apple sticks (Michael's craft store)
Chocolate Drizzle:
  • 8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz white chocolate chips
  • Parchment paper
  • Candy thermometer
  • Clear plastic goody bags (Michael's craft store)
  • Cookie sheet tray

  1. Prep the apples first thing.  Wash all apples well with dish soap or veggie cleaner, rubbing and rinsing well to get off the wax coating.  Dry the apples very very well.
  2. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet tray and push a bamboo stick into each apple, parallel to the stem and right next to it as well.
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Heat to between 242 and 245 degrees F.  Cook for 2 minutes at that temperature. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. 
  2. Let the caramel cool until it thickens slightly.  If you dip the apples in it while it is nuclear hot, it will just run right off onto the pan.  When it has thickened, take an apple and while tilting the pan with the caramel a bit,  spin the apple in the caramel until all the sides and most of the way up has been coated.
  3. Remove the apple from the caramel and give it a few spins and twist to allow any excess caramel to drip off.  Place back on the parchment paper lined tray and repeat with remaining apples.  If the caramel starts to get to stiff, but back on the stove on low, stirring, until it loosens up again.
  4. There will probably be bubbles that start to form on the apples, don't panic, the apples give off gasses that cause them, nothing is wrong.  Since it is being covered with chocolate, no one will even see.  If it really bugs, then use a toothpick and pop the bubbles if you would like.
  5. Let the apples harden at room temperature or in the fridge if you have room.
Chocolate and Decorating:
  1. When the caramel is almost done setting up on the apples, place the semi sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until melted.  Repeat in a separate bowl for white chocolate.
  2. In a sandwich size ziploc bag, pour the semi sweet chocolate in, twist the top closed, invert, and cut an 1/8 inch off the corner of the bag.  Drizzle the chocolate over the tops of the caramel apples, I used a swooping kind of motion, like making a cursive W all around the top.
  3. Repeat this same ziploc and drizzle procedure with the white chocolate.
  4. Once all the apples have been decorated, place in fridge and allow the chocolate to set up completely, usually an hour or two.
  5. Once it is set up, the apples can be  placed into the clear goodie bags, secured with the accompanying twist tie.
  6. I had printable stickers for my son's birthday theme (Curious George), so I stuck ones on that said "Thank you" so they would know it was a party favor for coming.  Worked great!
Finished party caramel apples.  Loved them!


  1. I love caramel apples! Thanks for the tips!

  2. These look soooo delicious! I would just LOVE to have you share these at my link party going on!

  3. I love caramel apples that are all dressed up with kind of goodies! :)

  4. These look so good! They make me so ready for Fall! Thanks for sharing this week!

    Take care,


  5. I have always wanted to try caramel apples, but it seemed too much work. After seeing this, I realize I should get over it! The results are amazing!

  6. I'm hosting a baby shower next weekend and I was stuck on what to give as a little take away favor -- these will be perfect!

  7. I'm so glad you posted the failed batch. I tried caramel apples last weekend and the caramel slid right off. This is soo helpful!


  8. These look fantastic, I love carammel, but it never works for me. This makes me want to try again :)

  9. These apples look beautiful! Fall is coming soon and I bet these would be a great fall/Halloween treat! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday!

  10. This is such a great post. Love the pictures, but I especially love the "what not to do" because I have been there so many times. I would love for you to share this at my fall-themed link-up. It just started and will stay open for the month of September. Happy to be a new follower. Thank you so much!


  11. Your Caramel Apples made such precious and delicious party treats, what lucky guests! Hope you are having a fabulous holiday week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  12. These look amazing. My family loves caramel apples. What a perfect fall treat. This recipe is being featured on my Facebook page today!! Thanks, Nichi

  13. These caramel-apples look AMAZING
    Appreciate your sharing your mistakes with us :)

  14. They look wonderful. It is great that you added what not to do! I substitute a lot so it is good to know that when making candy it is probably not a good idea. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

  15. Love these! So pretty too! Sometimes it's good to fail - you always learn something in the process ;) I'd love for you to share these at my party!

  16. Thanks again for linking up to Tasty Thursdays on The Mandatory Mooch. I hope you will link up this week. The party will be live tomorrow night.

    Thanks, Nichi

  17. Hi Lindsay,
    These are great. I am also mentioning your Carmel Apple Pie Cheesecake in tomorrows post. So check back. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
    from Wednesday until Sunday.
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above

  18. Gorgeous. Now that my family is eating some dairy again, you just gave me an idea for my son's birthday in October!

    Thanks for all the tips!

    I'm sharing this at Creative Juice tonight, and sharing at Pinterest. Thanks for linking last week.

    My sweet tooth is crying now,

  19. I can't wait to try them! My pampered chef friend posted this about washing fruits/veggies on her FB page:

    Tip for Cleaning Fruit:

    Fill sink or large bowl with water, add 1 cup vinegar, then mix with your hand. Add all fruit and soak for 10 minutes.
    The water will be dirty, but the fruit will sparkle with no wax or dirty film! Great for berries too - keeps them from molding. Do this with strawberries and they last for weeks!


  20. I have been wanting to make caramel apples. Love these!
    Thanks for linking up to Friday Fascinations! You have been featured, come over and get a button!

  21. They look awesome! Can't wait to try them! Thanks so much for entering this last week in the Iron Chef Mom link-up/contest for Apples on Cheerios and Lattes! We look forward to your chocolate recipes this week! :)
    Mackenzie from the Iron Chef Mom Team :)

  22. I know you put a lot of work into these apples, but look how spectacular they look!! Who wouldn't want this goody bag??? Thanks so much for linking these to Iron Chef Mom!


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