The fun thing about making caramel apples is you can be as creative as time and ingredients allow!
Caramel apples lend themselves to so many wonderful toppings - chocolate sprinkles, melted chocolate, toasted nuts, mini marshmallows to name just a few. My new favorite addition is fleur de sel or sea salt. After seeing so many recipes for fleur de sel caramels, I thought I'd give it a try on my caramel-dipped apples. In one word - Excellent! I actually made a few fleur de sel caramels using the left-over caramel after the apples were dipped. The sweet and salty combination is wonderful.
For my caramel apples, I used toasted, chopped pecans, melted semi-sweet chocolate and the aforementioned fleur de sel.
Did you know that caramel apples were invented by Dan Walker, a sales representative for Kraft Foods, in the 1950s? What a clever man :)
Fleur de Sel Caramel Apples
Makes enough for 8-10 apples
1 cup butter (do not substitute margarine)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8-10 wooden sticks
8-10 medium tart apples (I used Honey Crisp)
Fleur de Sel
Optional extras: Chopped, toasted nuts (I used toasted pecans) , melted chocolate or mini chocolate pieces, mini marshmallows anything else you'd like to apply to your caramel apples, placed in small bowls.
Have everything you need prepped and handy before you begin as you don't want to scorch the caramel. Be very careful, hot caramel can give you a nasty burn.
Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly butter the parchment.
Wash apples thoroughly to remove as much wax as possible. Insert a wooden stick into each apple.
In a heavy saucepan with candy thermometer, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and milk; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring slowly and constantly until the candy thermometer reads 248 degrees (firm ball stage) - about 30 minutes. Do not let the caramel cook any longer or it will get too hard.
Remove pan from heat and stir in the vanilla extract
Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture, tipping and turning to coat.
Sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de sel.
Dip the apples into the other toppings you've chosen while the caramel is still warm. Melted chocolate can be drizzled over after all the other toppings have been applied.
Place on the buttered parchment to cool.
Adapted from the recipe here.