One of my favorite treats of all time has to be a Chocolate Caramel Apple. I’ve never much cared for a candy apple, and a caramel apple, while certainly a delicious combination, has always been a little to messy for my liking. But dip a caramel apple in chocolate and something magical happens. I don’t know what it is, but it’s magic, man. The chocolate seals the gooey caramel in and combines with an excellent crunchy apple to create flavor perfection in my book.
I’m not a candy expert or a chocolate maker or a chocolate candy maker expert, nor do I have plans to become any of the sort. I’m just a girl with a hankering for a good Chocolate Caramel Apple. I did a quick test run with some supplies on hand with average success, made a few adjustments and made another batch that turned out just right in my book.
A few tips I learned for dipping apples:
- Choose apples that taste great. A bad apple is a bad apple even if it’s coated in chocolatey caramel-y goodness. Honey Crisps for this treat is hard to beat, plus they’re huge! Granny Smith are nice too. Whatever you use, just make sure it’s sturdy, crunchy, and you’d eat it whether coated or not.
- Wondering about some of the apples in the photos above having sticks and others not? For the smaller Granny Smith apples, I dipped them just holding the stem, but the larger ones required a stick to dip and turn. I’d prefer them without a stick to avoid puncturing the apple, thus helping it stay fresher longer, but those big apples are hard to manage. Any ideas on this?
- If you’re planning on using the microwave for melting the caramel and chocolate, consider an Apple Dipper. I happened to remember an apple dipper that my mom gave me as a gift a few years ago. I never used it and found it unopened, still in the box, covered in dust. Essentially it’s just a sturdy plastic microwave safe bowl with high sides and a curved interior that fits an apple just right for dipping. Since I was doing all my melting in the microwave this came in handy. I’m sure a microwave safe bowl the same shape and size would work just as well, but I don’t have one on hand.
- Caramel Chips. I found Caramel Bits easier to work with and melted quicker and evenly. Order online or check local grocers for availability.
- Trim caramel “feet” before dipping in chocolate. The feet I refer to are the caramel puddles, or flat caramel bottoms that form as it sits. (See following photo.)
- Use good chocolate for melting. With the first batch I made, I used chocolate chips I had on hand and had to add vegetable shortening to get the correct consistency. It didn’t turn out well in the looks or taste departments. After reading some discussion threads by chocolate experts, I hunted down some Merckens Dark Chocolate Break Up at a local retailer (our Fresh Market had it). It worked perfectly! It cost a tad more but I think it’s totally worth the extra cost to avoid problems and frustrations later on. I’m thinking about dipping all kinds of things in chocolate now after using it.
- Consider using dark chocolate. With the sweetness of the apple and caramel, I think dark chocolate is a more balanced, less sweet choice. But as with all things food, use what you like.
- Always have extra caramel and chocolate on hand. No matter what a recipe says, when melting and dipping, I always have additional if needed. Plus depending on the size of apples, you may need more or less. (Extra chocolate can be used for drizzling.)
See the imperfect caramel coating below? Since I was covering it with chocolate I wasn’t so worried about the caramel not looking perfect. (The photo below also shows the caramel “feet” trimmed off.)
See how the chocolate concealed a bunch of imperfections? It’s totally like magic, man.
I think I’ll be making a few more batches for the holidays to share as a sweet gift for friends and family.
Try a batch yourself. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is once you get the hang of it.
- 5 ripe apples, washed and dried (Honey Crisps and Granny Smith are excellent choices)
- wooden skewers, lollipop/sucker or popsicle sticks
- 11 ounces caramels (caramel bits work best)
- 12 ounces good chocolate for melting (I recommend Merckens Dark Chocolate Break Up. Also, I used dark chocolate, but use what you like)
- optional: toppings for sprinkling, dipping or drizzling (chopped nuts, candy sprinkles, melted chocolate for drizzling)
- Prepare apples for dipping. If using sticks, insert into apples at stem stopping before puncturing through bottom of apple.
- Line baking sheet with wax paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Melt caramels according to package instructions. One at a time dip apples, letting extra caramel drip off. Place on wax paper to cool. Once all have been dipped, place in refrigerator for at least an hour to let caramel set up.
- Using kitchen shears, if needed trim caramel “feet” (extra blob of caramel on bottom of apple) off of apples before dipping in chocolate. (See photo above.)
- Melt chocolate according to package instructions. Dip caramel covered apples in chocolate until evenly covered. Let extra chocolate drip off. If adding toppings, sprinkle, dip or drizzle now. Place finished apple on wax paper until set.
- Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until needed. Depending on apple, should keep 3-5 days refrigerated.