*WARNING: THIS POST IS PICTURE HEAVY*
A couple of weeks ago, my sister asked me to babysit my niece and nephew for a sleepover night. I love having them over because it gives me a reason to try and come up with fun things to do with them.
I had this grand plan to make caramel apples....gourmet caramel apples. As per my usual non-parental self, I didn't plan things quite as I should have considering they are 6 & 7 years old.
However, I did document it, so hopefully it will encourage you to try something fun and different on a weekend day with your kids...or kids you are babysitting. It really is easy and fun to do with kids...just plan on having lots of time and lots of mess.
For starters...don't start at 7pm at night....make it a day plan.
Make sure you enlist their help unwrapping about a billion little caramels (and plan for this to take way too long...
...and bribe them with a taste for every 20 they unwrap...
In a heat safe bowl, over boiling water, melt caramels and cream or milk...whatever you want. I didn't really measure, I just dumped some in.
Plan for this to take waaaay too long.
Keep stirring and watching it until it is a smooth consistency...
In my normal unorganized fashion, I didn't take a picture of the apples before. We used ones from my mom and dad's trees so we didn't need to dip them in boiling water first because they didn't have that wax on them that store bought ones have. If you are using store bought, just quickly dip them in boiling water for a few seconds and put in fridge to cool immediately. Apples that are pretty tart work best because they hold up to the sweetness of the caramel.
You can buy longer thicker skewers for stabbing in the apples. Don't use those flimsy thin ones. You can also use popsicle sticks, but they don't look as nice.
I found it works best when you have enough caramel to fully submerge the apples into it. Use a spoon to make sure the apple is completely covered in caramel.
Try to let as much caramel run off it as possible...you only need a thin coat on it, otherwise all your candies you stick to it will run to the bottom (you'll see in later pictures).
Are you wondering what Ben and Kaeden are doing while Livi and I work in the kitchen?
Don't worry, though, they came in to do some of this...
After you've dipped your apples in the caramel, roll them in whatever toppings you want. I was helping Livi at this point so I didn't get any pictures of the dipping and rolling in candies. We had a variety of chocolate chips, skor chips, reese chips, peanuts, almonds, smarties, marshmallows, cinnamon sugar, white chocolate and milk chocolate. We took everyone's "order" and made each one custom. Next time I think I would dip it in the caramel, just leave it, then do a chocolate layer and attach the candies to that. The chocolate doesn't run as much as the caramel and as you can see, the treats were all sitting at the bottom.
This is very important....make sure your wax paper is sprayed or use parchment paper. The caramel STICKS to everything! We put on on a plate with no spray...it was not easy to get off!
At this point, put them in the fridge to set for 1/2 hour or so. Or in our case, overnight because now it's way past the kids bedtime (due to our 7pm start) and plan to finish them in the morning.
In the morning melt your next layer...in our case it was milk chocolate for Don's rocky road caramel apples.
Please ignore the Christmas decorations hanging up. No, I did not start to decorate already...they haven't come down from last year. I wrecked the wall trying to hang them and haven't found a "replacement" piece to put up instead of those, so I've left them up to cover my mistakes....and by "found" I mean "made" because I plan on making something for that spot...but I am a procrastinator so it hasn't happened yet.
Where were we? Oh yes....the next morning.
When you realize that you have been so busy making caramel apples that you forgot to give the kids some breakfast, let them snack on candies, caramel and chocolate....
Again...I did not take pictures of the milk chocolate layer, because I was helping....it's easy though. You just dip or drizzle or whatever you want on the next layer of the caramel apple and put it back in the fridge.
Then you start to melt your next layer...white chocolate.
It's best at this time to wait until the kids mother (my sister) arrives because then you can get her to help.
And once again....no pictures of the final steps, but it's not really needed. You just dip and drizzle and decorate them to however you want.
Here is our finished product from left to right....
-caramel, skor chips, peanuts, white chocolate drizzled
-caramel and smarties
-rocky road (caramel, peanuts, milk chocolate, marshmallows, white chocolate drizzle and more peanuts)
-apple pie (caramel, white chocolate, brown sugar and cinnamon) and for the record...this one was mine and it was DELICIOUS!!!
-caramel, reese chips, white chocolate, cinnamon sugar
And with the leftovers from each layer....
...we put on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. When frozen, smash it up and makes a delicious little candy treat!
If you have any questions please ask! You don't need a "recipe" to do this. I'll put it in point form to review....
- melt caramels with a little cream or milk
- if using store bought apples, dip in boiling water for a few seconds to remove wax and put in fridge to cool
- use sturdy and thick enough skewers that won't break off when used to hold apple up. take stem off apple and stab skewer through the top of the apple.
- when caramel is melted and smooth, dip apples in. try to get as thin as a coat on the apple as possible
- at this point, you find your creative self and do what you want.
- put apples in fridge to cool for about 1/2 hour
- the move on to dipping or drizzling whatever chocolate you want and however you want.
- let set in fridge
- eat when ready!!
Let me know if you try it!