Homemade Gourmet Caramel Apples – crisp, tart granny smith apples covered in homemade caramel and gourmet toppings for an extra special touch. A great gift!
Caramel apples are a fabulous special treat that can be enjoyed year round. These gourmet caramel apples are made with the best homemade caramel. Add your favorite chopped nuts, chocolate, sprinkles etc to make them your very own.
If you like this recipe you may also like:
- Easy Buttermilk Salted Caramel Sauce
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- Easy Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Muffins
What kind of apples should I use to make gourmet caramel apples?
Granny Smith apples are usually the preferred apple for caramel apples. They’re tart, crisp flavor compliments the sweet soft caramel. They should have a firm texture and be bright green. Although Granny Smith apples are the preferred and classic apple for gourmet caramel apples, you can use almost any apple of choice.
What kind of caramel should I use for these gourmet caramel apples?
The best caramel to use is caramel that is thick enough to put a nice layer of caramel on the apples but is still soft enough to bite into. The homemade caramel recipe I’ve included below has been the best recipe I’ve found for making caramel apples. It’s simple, is less likely to crystallize and tastes amazing. I’ve tried over a half dozen different caramel recipes and this one reigns supreme. If you don’t have time to make homemade caramel or don’t what to make some, you can always use the store-bought caramel squares. If I ever use the store-bought squares, I always add a little cream to them to soften them a little more. Usually, 2-3 tablespoons cream to 1 cup of caramel squares does the trick.
How do I make gourmet caramel apples for less than $1.50 an apple?
- Price check your ingredients or buy in bulk. These were the sale prices I was able to find in the last 2 months for the ingredients and supplies used in the recipe:
- 2 lb dark brown sugar – $1.19 at Macey’s (associate food) ($0.60 per batch)
- 1-gallon corn syrup – $9.99 at Macey’s ($0.63 per batch)
- can of sweetened condensed milk – $1.23 at WinCo ($1.23 per batch)
- 1 lb butter – $1.99 at Smith’s ($1.00 per batch)
- 12 oz white chocolate – $1.49 at Macey’s ($0.05-0.10 per apple)
- 12 oz mini chocolate chips – $1.49 at Macey’s ($0.10 per apple)
- 16 oz dry roasted peanuts – $1.99 at WinCo ($0.14 per apple)
- 1 lb almonds – $3.99 at Sprouts Farmers Market ($0.27 per apple)
- 1 lb Granny Smith apples (2-3 apples) – $0.88 at Sprouts ($0.33 to 0.44 per apple)
- apple sticks – $0.01 to 0.10 depending on if you use flat popsicle sticks or round bamboo apple sticks
Each batch of caramel will make enough to dip 12-15 apples depending on the size of apples you’re able to find. I was able to find smaller sized apples that were 3 to a pound. That means I was able to make the caramel these gourmet caramel apples for $0.72 to 0.94 depending on what topping I added. The prices I was able to find for these ingredients were exceptional. If you were to buy these supplies and ingredients off super sales, you should still be able to make them for $1.50 or less.
How do I cut and eat a gourmet caramel apple?
It’s much easier to eat a caramel apple if you cut it into smaller pieces. This is how I cut our caramel apples for the cleanest most enjoyable way to eat them. If you cut it like a game of tick-tac-toe you will cut out the core and each piece of apple will have caramel on it.
If you hate the idea of cutting the apple into pieces like this you are more than welcome to go all in and bite straight into the apple. Messier but these gourmet caramel apples will still taste just as delicious!
What kind of toppings can I use to make my caramel apples gourmet?
There are a lot of toppings you can add to your caramel apples to make them gourmet. Here’s a few I’ve seen and enjoyed.
- chopped nuts – peanuts, almonds, pecans
- chocolate – white, milk, dark chocolate drizzled
- candy – M&Ms, chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups, Reese’s pieces, Snickers, Butterfingers, Heath, Skor, etc.
- cookies – Crushed Oreos, graham crackers
Here are a few combinations of toppings that would take your gourmet caramel apples to the next level:
- Apple Pie caramel apple – coat with thin layer of white chocolate rolled in cinnamon sugar (it tastes like an apple pie and is by far one of our favorites)!
- Smores caramel apple – roll in crushed graham crackers, drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with mini marshmallows
- Turtle caramel apple – roll in pecans, drizzle with chocolate
- Tuxedo caramel apple – dip in thin white chocolate than in milk or dark chocolate
- Birthday cake caramel apple – dip in white chocolate, roll in sprinkles
- Hot chocolate caramel apple – dip in milk chocolate, sprinkle with mini marshmallows
- Oreo Lover caramel apple – coat with thin layer of white chocolate, roll in crushed Oreo cookies
Which gourmet caramel apple would be your favorite? Which would you make first?
I’d love to hear about your favorite. Drop a comment below!
Here’s the full printable recipe:
Gourmet Caramel Apples
crisp, tart granny smith apples covered in homemade caramel and gourmet toppings like peanuts, chocolate, candy and more. A great year-round gift!
- 12-15 granny smith apples
- gourmet toppings chopped nuts, chocolate, white chocolate, cinnamon sugar, sprinkles, chopped candy or cookies
- popsicle or apple sticks
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 lb dark brown sugar about 2 1/4 cups packed
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Wash and dry apples. Carefully poke stick straight into tops of apples. Place in fridge to chill while you make the caramel.
In a large pot add sweetened condensed milk, dark brown sugar, salted butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium to medium-high heat stirring constantly to avoid bottom from burning.
Mixture will begin to bubble and increase in volume. Avoid scraping sides of pan as this can make the sugar in the caramel to crystallize and go "grainy." Using a calibrated candy thermometer, cook mixture to 235 degrees F or soft ball stage.
Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Gourmet Caramel Apples:
Dip each apple into the hot caramel to coat. Let excess drip off. If dipping or rolling in nuts, cookies or candy, do that before caramel sets and hardens.
If adding chocolate or chocolate drizzle place caramel-coated apple onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and place in the fridge to cool. Once cooled drizzle or coat with chocolate and add other toppings as desired.
Work quickly as the caramel in the pot will begin to harden. If the caramel becomes too hard to dip the remainder of the apples, warm over medium heat until mixture is hot again.
Once apples are finished and cooled completely, enjoy or wrap and give to friends and family.
If you don't have time to make homemade caramel, store-bought squares can be substituted. If using store-bought add 2-3 tablespoons cream to 1 cup caramel squares when melting to soften caramel.
Gourmet caramel apples are more easily eaten if cut up. To enjoy caramel and toppings with every bite, cut apple in a tick-tac-toe pattern which will leave the stick and core in the center and 8 pieces of apple around it.
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