The best caramel apples!

This caramel is amazing!

I’m not winning any style points for my first attempt at caramel apples but they tasted incredible!
  • 8–9 cold apples
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (240ml) light corn syrup
  • 2 cups (400g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Prep the apples: Rinse the apples with water, then wipe completely dry. Removing the slippery waxy coating will help the caramel seal to the apple. Remove the apple stem and insert a caramel apple stick about 3/4 down into the apple.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet, or grease the pan with butter. Caramel usually sticks to parchment or wax paper. (I used parchment paper and didn’t have any trouble with sticking)
  3. Make the caramel: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Do not turn the temperature up or down– keep at medium the entire time the caramel cooks. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted. Once melted, brush down the sides of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush and attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure the bulb is not touching the bottom of the pan (as you’ll get an inaccurate reading).
  4. Without stirring, let the mixture cook and bubble until it reaches 235°F (113°C). Some readers have been cooking to 240°F (116°C) and saying the caramel sticks much better to the apples that way. Stick with anywhere between 235°F – 240°F. Reaching this temperature should take about 15 – 20 minutes, though don’t use time as your guide because it depends on your stove. Don’t be alarmed if your caramel is taking longer, just use the candy thermometer as your guide. The temperature will heat up slowly, then move quickly, so keep your eye on the pot. Once at 235°F – 240°F, remove caramel from heat and stir in the vanilla. Avoid over-stirring which can create air bubbles in the caramel (and then on the apple). Allow caramel to cool for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. If caramel is too thin to coat apples, let it cool and thicken for 5-10 minutes longer.
  5. Dip the apples: Holding the caramel apple stick, dip the apple into the warm caramel, tilting the pot as needed to coat all sides of the apple. Lift the apple up and swirl it around or gently tap it against the side of the pot to let excess caramel drip off. Place coated apple on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining apples. Enjoy immediately or allow caramel to set, about 45-60 minutes. If you want to wrap the caramel apples in cellophane treat bags for travel/gifting, wait until the caramel has completely set.
  6. If desired, you can add toppings. Immediately after coating in caramel and before the caramel sets, roll the caramel dipped apples in finely chopped nuts, toffee pieces, mini M&Ms, sprinkles, or coconut. You can even drizzle with melted chocolate or white chocolate, too.
  7. For displaying or serving, I recommend placing on wax paper or another nonstick surface. Even when the caramel has completely set, caramel apples may slightly stick to a serving dish. To eat a caramel apple, you can bite right into it or sit it upright on a cutting board and cut slices around the stick. (Or pull out the stick and slice.) These are great for sharing!
  8. Loosely cover and store the leftover dipped apples in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
The cutest trick or treaters really appreciated the orchard treats!
Nothing better than an appreciative trick or treater!

I copied, and followed these instructions completely and believe me – patience is key as it took longer than I expected for my caramel to reach temp. If you want even more tips and tricks, head over to Sally’s Baking Addiction …. her website is amazing and so far everything I’ve tried has been great.

This is what you want your caramel to look like …..
My first attempt was completely ruined – using sweetened condensed milk. Next I turned to the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and it turned out perfectly.
I didn’t have trouble with the caramel sticking to the apple, but I had enough caramel left over so I drizzled some over the top and that allowed me to put a few more toppings on as it was hardening so quickly on the first go that I didn’t get much on.

Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins

 

pumpkins-anyone

Pumpkins, anyone?????  It’s October and pumpkin season in the Okanagan.  These adorable little pumpkins are super for decorating, and make the best pumpkin flesh.  Roast up a few, and freeze it for using in the middle of winter when pumpkin season is just a memory.

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I like oven roasting my pumpkins, seems to intensify the flavour and – not only that, super easy!

Cut pumpkins in half, scoop out seeds and turn upside down on roasting pan (I like to cover with parchment paper for easy clean up)

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Set those yummy pumpkin seeds aside for another day …. roasted with some seasoning they are a great snack or addition to salads!

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Once you scoop out the roasted pumpkin flesh, use an immersion blender to puree it all, then turn it into a heavy bottom pot and allow to reduce slightly …. (4 cups pumpkin flesh should reduce to 3).  Removing some of this water makes for more flavourful pumpkin flesh.

 

Sugar Cookies

This is the best sugar cookie recipe – our family has been making it for generations – many years of cookies being decorated for any occasion.  As the girls got older, the competitions heated up for making the most creative cookie.

Preheat oven to 375

3/4 cup butter

These little helpers are 32 and 30 years old now!

1 cup white sugar

2 beaten eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp soda

pinch of salt

Cream butter well, adding sugar.  Beat until well incorporated then beat in eggs.  Whip until light and fluffy.

Sift dry ingedients together and add to butter mixture.  Knead well, adding flour until dough is soft and easy to work with.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in fridge for one hour before rolling.

Emma and Allison always love it when they come to visit and get to help Auntie Kathy bake – decorating is the best part!

Roll out on lightly floured surface and using cookie cutters, cut out shapes.

Our family isn’t really crazy about icing, so we always decorate the cookies at this point with egg paint.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes

Be careful not to get too much egg paint, or candies on the cookies – a light touch makes for better cookies, and more even baking. You can see the cookies here that just may have had a little too much decorating from the younger ones around the table!

EGG PAINT

Separate yolks and whites into separate bowls.  It doesn’t take much so you can make 2 colors out of each egg white, and 2 from each egg yolk.  Beat each bowl lightly with a fork, adding 1 tbsp of water to each.  Separate into small containers so you can make 4 different colors.  Using food coloring add until you get the color you like.  With the egg yolk make sure to choose a color that will work with yellow!    Using paint brushes, decorate the cookies while raw, then bake.