Each year, my BFF Mary and most of the women in her family all gather on a Sunday in December to make gourmet candy apples. It's been going on for years and it's great fun and great food too!
Nearly 200 apples will have been dipped in caramel, chocolate and decorated in various candies. If you buy these apples at a gourmet candy store, you're look at anywhere from $8-$25 on a single apple. These cost just under $2 per apple to make and are really much easier than you would imagine!
So here's a rundown of what you need:
-sturdy wooden sticks
-good quality caramel (you'll want to buy it in blocks versus individually wrapped candies)
-various chocolate (milk, white, dark)
-various candies (nuts, peppermints, m&m's, salt, etc)
-mallet or hammer
-double broiler type set up
-candy bags to put the individual apples in for presentation
First thing you do is grab an apple, a stick and a mallet or hammer and hammer down the pointed end of your stick into the apples.
Melt down some of your caramel in the double broiler. Take an apple and completely cover it in caramel. You'll need a knife to swipe the bottom clear of caramel. You'll need to hold the apple until the caramel cools alternating right side up & upside down. Once cool enough place caramel apple on parchment paper with nonstick spray. The nonstick spray is super important. Do this for all of your apples, it's nice to have multiple hands to hold the apples as the caramel cools, otherwise your process will be a bit slower.
Once all apples are dipped in caramel and cooled you can begin your chocolate dipping & decorating. You'll notice that some of the caramel slide down the apples, this is okay, just take the apple in your hand and slowly mold the caramel around the apple. If you have any bubbles in the caramel, this is okay, just grab a toothpick and pop them.
Again, you'll need your double broiler set up with whatever chocolate you want to dip the caramel apples in. I prefer milk chocolate dipped caramel apples and then drizzle dark & white chocolate. Just depends on your taste preferences. Just like when you dipped the apple into the caramel, you'll want to hold the chocolate covered apples for a few minutes until the chocolate has dried a bit before setting down. If you like adding nuts, candies, sprinkles, etc you can do it once you dip your apples in the chocolate.
Note: In order to get nuts, candies, etc to stick to your apple you'll need to dip in chocolate and let the chocolate cool slightly before covering with nuts or candies. If you do it too soon the nuts and candies will slide off.
It sounds like a lot but it really isn't. Be a little patient your first time around. Once you get the hang of it it runs really smoothly. Like I said, the more hands you have around to help, the smoother things will run. With about 200 apples, we had about 10 people helping and we each left with 10 apples.
It's a great tradition to carry on for years to come. I think next year will be a good age to introduce Addie and can't wait to see her have fun decorating with us. What a coincidence that exactly a year ago today I blogged about it. You can read about it here.