This classic fair staple is fun to make at home, especially for a Halloween treat. Note that Rome apples will make the prettiest candy apples, and you’ll want to store the finished candy apples in a cool, dry place. You don’t want to store these in a refrigerator because the candy coating will become soft.
• ON-DEMAND: Listen to Faith and the gang talk to George about this recipe, as well as other popular favorites from fairs across the country. •
Excerpted from Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State & County Fairs by George Geary. Copyright ©2017 by George Geary. Published by Santa Monica Press LLC. Photo by Kylie Tefft
| Candy Apples
- Press a stick into each apple and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and food coloring. If any sugar granules end up on the inside of the pan, use a wet pastry brush to clean them down. Set the mixture over medium to high heat and bring to a boil. Insert a candy thermometer into the liquid to allow it to boil, without stirring, until it reaches 302°F (hard crack stage), about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add vanilla and stir only slightly to blend. Working with 1 at a time, dip the apples into the mixture, tilting the pan to coat them evenly. Let the excess dip off into the pan, then set the coated apples on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to dry for 30 minutes before eating.
Store covered in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate, or the candy coating will become soft.
What are the best apples to use for caramel apples?
Lets first start with the foundation- the apples! You want to use firm crispy apples. Green Granny Smith apples are very popular because their tart crispiness pair perfectly with the gooey sweetness of homemade caramel. However, you can also use firm red apples too that you love- like Gala, fuji or another variety you love.
What sticks do I use for caramel apples?
I love to pick up these easy bamboo lollipop sticks. I get them at Walmart, Michael’s, sometimes target or grocery stories. If these are not accessible to you use small popsicle sticks!!
PRO-TIP when sticking the apples:
- Set apples on their base on their own, so they are not tipping over. It’s ok it they are naturally a little lopsided- as long as they are sitting flat and not tipping over!!
- Push the stick down the center of the apple so the stick is straight- again, its ok if the apple looks uneven (its nature!) the important thing is that the apple can sit flat without tipping over.
How to prepare apples for caramel apples
Many apples have a waxy film over them that make it hard for the caramel to adhere to their skin. Wash them throughly! OR you can also QUICKLY dip them in boiling water. Immediately polish the apples when you remove them from the water. Don’t let them dry on their own.
How To Make Easy Homemade Caramel for Caramel Apples
Now that your apples are ready lets prep for the homemade caramel. I love this homemade caramel recipe not only because of its flavor but also because it is EASY!
- Place all your ingredients in a heavy bottom pan. You do NOT want to use a cast iron pan, or a really thin pan. You will need a good heavy pan for homemade caramel.
- On medium heat continually stir caramel until it boils and reaches 245-248 degrees. If you are in need of a thermometer invest in this Thermoworks one. It does everything! including candy, meat, baking etc. If you don’t have one then you MUST use a CANDY THERMOMETER. Once you insert the thermometer you cannot take it out, unless you clean it. Don’t let it touch the bottom of the pan or you will get an inaccurate reading.
- If your caramel is getting to hot you may start to see small dark brown flecks, remove from heat, still stirring and let the caramel cool for about 30 seconds. Return to stovetop and lower the temp.
- Use a wood or silicone spatula- one that can withstand high heat without heating up. Never take this spatula out of the caramel if you do clean it off before inserting back in.
How to Dip Caramel Apples
Now that you have your apples washed, sticked and piping hot caramel you are ready to dip your apple.
- Prepare a cookie sheet with linked parchment paper.
- Take one apple and swirl it around in the caramel so it comes up close to the stick.
- Lift apple out of caramel and continue to spin apple until it stops dripping.
- Place on parchment lined cookie sheets. and allow to cool unless….you are dipping in candy.