When I mentioned to a few friends that I was making caramel apples, I got the same response every time. "Yum! Can I have some?" Caramel apples are one of those treats both kids and adults love. There’s something about sweet and sticky caramel coated over a crisp and slightly tart apple that is truly a match made in heaven. These treats are great all year long, but fall seems an especially perfect time for to indulge. Maybe it's because apples are in season, or perhaps it's the promise of more sticky sweets on Halloween, but October has always seemed like the ideal time to make candy apples.
I hadn't made caramel apples in years, but when I saw one apple priced at $22.50 in the Williams Sonoma catalog (yes… $22.50 for one apple!), I knew I had to make a batch. From what I could remember, making caramel apples was easy and fun. And, in these times of failing 401Ks and plunging stock markets, it’s nice to also pay less than $1 for each one.
After conducting a little Internet research, I learned that many people prefer using melted caramel candy instead of homemade caramel. According to Sara Moulton, of the Food Network’s “Sara’s Secrets” and also of Gourmet Magazine, melted store-bought caramel stays firm and also creates a consistency that is tender to bite into, while homemade caramel has a tendency to become hard. It also turns out that using pre-made caramel makes the entire process ridiculously easy.
With this in mind, I bought a couple of packs of caramels, apples, and skewers (to hold the apples, although you could just as easily use popsicle sticks). I chose small granny smith apples as I wanted each treat to be firm and slightly tart, while also being a manageable size (i.e., not enormous, which would lead to half of it getting thrown out or a major child sugar rush). Along with these items I also picked up some nuts because I love nuts on my candied apples.