Make your own Homemade Gourmet Caramel Apples for a fraction of the candy shop price. Crisp, tart granny smith apples covered in homemade caramel and gourmet toppings made right at home.
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 and totally gourmet. The “apple pie” caramel apple is my ultimate favorite!
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WHAT KIND OF APPLES SHOULD I USE TO MAKE 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 TO MAKE CARAMEL APPLES?
The best caramel to use is a caramel that is thick enough to coat an apple well but still soft enough to bite into when cooled.
Homemade caramel is my favorite!!! You can find the recipe for my favorite caramel for caramel apples below.
The caramel recipe below is seriously the best caramel recipe I’ve found for dipping apples. It’s simple, less likely to crystallize and tastes amazing.
I’ve tried over a half dozen different caramel recipes and this one reigns supreme.
I DON’T HAVE TIME TO MAKE CARAMEL BUT STILL WHAT TO MAKE THESE. WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST?
If you don’t have time to make homemade caramel (RECIPE BELOW), you can always use the store-bought caramel squares. When I use caramel squares from the store, I add a little cream to them to soften the caramel.
Usually 2-3 tablespoons cream to 1 cup of caramel squares does the trick. If you like your caramel to set faster, be thicker or harder, you can just heat the caramel squares and skip the additional cream.
HOW MUCH DO CARAMEL APPLES COST TO MAKE?
You’d be surprised how cheap you can make gourmet caramel apples!
I buy ingredients in bulk and wait ads for sale prices. With that said, I was able to find (in the last couple months) the ingredients and supplies used in the recipe for these prices:
- 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 homemade caramel (recipe below) is enough to dip 12-15 apples depending on the size of apples.
I was able to find smaller sized apples that were 3 to a pound. That means I was able to make 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, not gonna lie. BUT if you were to buy these supplies and ingredients outside of super sales, I’m confident to say you would still be able to make them for $1.50 or less.
At that price, these make fantastic, gourmet treats for gift giving or special occasions!
HOW DO I CUT AND EAT A CARAMEL APPLE (THE EASY WAY)?
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 eat it straight off the stick. Messier but these gourmet caramel apples will still taste just as delicious!
WHAT KIND OF TOPPINGS SHOULD 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
WHAT TOPPING IS YOUR FAVORITE FOR A GOURMET CARAMEL APPLE?
I’d love to hear about your favorite. Drop a comment below!
Here’s the full printable recipe:
- 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.
- Let caramel cool slightly (5 minutes or so) before dipping apples. This will ensure you get a nice coat of caramel on the apples. The warmer the caramel, the thinner the caramel coating will be and the more it may "pool" when placed on a cooling tray.
Gourmet Caramel Apples:
- Dip each apple into the hot caramel to coat. Let excess drip off then turn slowly to allow caramel to begin to cool. 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 as it cools. If the caramel becomes too hard to coat apples smoothly, warm over medium heat until mixture is fluid again. Don't overheat.
- Once apples are finished and cooled completely, enjoy or wrap for gifts.
When washing apples, do not use any kind of abrasive material as this can damage or scratch the skin of the apple. Damage to the skin may cause air bubbles to form under the caramel.
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.
Apples will store in the fridge for several days.
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Updated: 10.19.21 O.P. 12.6.18