This Wednesday, October 21 is National Apple Day, and we can hardly contain our excitement! We’re celebrating with a delicious and festive apple treat that we all know and love – the caramel apple!
Caramel and apples are a match made in heaven. Ever wondered where the delectable fall combination came from? Turns out, there’s a slight debate over who created the very first caramel apple in the US.
On one side, Chicago-based company Affy Tapple lays claim to “The Original Caramel Apple!” According to the company, the Kastrup family created the first batch back in 1948.
However, the sweet treat was not well-known or popularized until Kraft Foods employee, Dan Walker, accidentally discovered the combination when attempting to use up the company’s leftover stock of caramels in the 1950s. Walker and Kraft are often credited with the invention of caramel apples, despite the Kastrup family supposedly beating them to it.
No matter how caramel apples came to be, we sure are grateful that they exist today. We might go as far as to say they are our favorite festive fall treat. (Shhhh, don’t tell candy apples or apple pie. They might get jealous!)
Ever thought about making caramel apples at home? It may be easier than you think! Homemade caramel apples are a great way to enjoy delicious new crop Washington apples. Plus, you can get the kids in on the fun by letting them choose toppings like nuts and candy.
Give this easy and fun caramel apple recipe a try this weekend:
8 large apples
1 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*You will also need a candy thermometer and eight wooden sticks (chopsticks and popsicle sticks work well) for apple handles.
Step 1: In order to remove wax from apple peels, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and dip apples in boiling water for a few seconds. Dry with paper towels. Allow apples to cool completely.
Step 2: Insert wooden handles into cooled apples. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prep and set out any additional caramel apple toppings, such as nuts, sprinkles, candy, etc.
*It is key that you prep these elements before making the caramel. Once the caramel is ready, you must coat the apples quickly!
Step 3: In a medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, before reducing to medium heat. Continue stirring mixture constantly and cook until a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees F (25-30 minutes).
Step 4: Remove caramel from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.
Step 5: Remember to work quickly here! Dip each prepped apple into hot caramel until completely coated. Immediately add any additional toppings to the apple while the caramel is still hot. Place apples on prepared baking sheet.
Bonus step: If you plan to coat your caramel apples in chocolate, let the caramel layer cool completely first. We recommend placing the caramel-coated apples in the refrigerator for an hour to ensure the caramel sets before dipping in chocolate.
Melt chocolate according to package instructions, and dip apples just like the caramel layer. Add any additional toppings before the chocolate hardens!
If you try this recipe, we would love to see your caramel creations. Post your homemade apples on social media and tag us! Bonus points if you make them on Halloween, since October 31 doubles as National Caramel Apple Day!