Caramel Chocolate Covered Apples
Spice up your traditional caramel apple into a decadent gourmet apple covered with spiced cinnamon caramel and chocolately goodness.
Ingredients: 4-5 medium sized granny smith apples, 1 package Kraft caramel chews, Ghirardelli 60% cacao + white chocolate, chopped walnuts
Supplies: craft sticks, silicone mat, temperature thermometer
Granny smith apples gives a certain tartness that compliments the sweet caramel and chocolate really well. Be sure to remove the stem, wash and dry well. This will help the caramel adhere to the waxy skin much better. For the handle, I prefer the Wilton Bamboo Lollipop sticks as they are harder and sturdier that can withstand the weight of the apple without falling out.
You are more than welcome to make your own caramel but I found that melting candied caramels gave it a much softer chewy consistency. For this process, you will need one package of the Kraft caramel chews that you can find in your local baking section of the grocery store. I prefer the Werther's Soft Caramel for a more buttery vanilla taste. You may need 2 packages of this as the quantity is much smaller compared to the Kraft. Place in a saucepan over low to medium heat with 2 tablespoons of water and allow to melt while consistently stirring. Once fully melted, remove from heat and add 1 teaspoonful of cinnamon. You want to be able to smell the aroma of cinnamon but not overwhelm it as too much can cause the caramel to taste bitter. The caramel should have a medium to thick consistency where it flows well but not too runny (which means it may be too hot).
Dip apples into caramel and swirl around to coat. Prevent air bubbles from forming by swirling slowly to allow caramel to adhere to the waxy skin of the apple. Try draining as much caramel off the apple but making sure it's evenly coated before placing on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat for a smooth finish. You may notice pooling on the bottom of the apple once placed down but that's okay. The silicone mat is super versatile and prevents sticking. Allow to fully cool for about 1 hour in the fridge.
Using a double boiler is the easiest way to melt chocolate. Tempering chocolate may sound like a hard task but it's easy with some patience and a few simple steps. This gives the chocolate a nice shiny smooth texture and will allow it to harden properly. Start by placing a metal or shatterproof glass bowl that is large enough to cover a pot that has about an inch of water on the bottom. The bowl should be about 1 to 2 inches above water level and definitely not touching. Begin melting half of the chocolate over simmering water while constantly stirring with a rubber spatula. The melting temperature should be about 118 degrees F. Once fully melted, remove from the double boiler and add the remaining chocolate. The residual heat should be able to melt the chocolate and bring the final temperature down to 89-90 degrees F. You are ready to use your tempered chocolate! If the consistency gets too thick and drops below 89F, just reheat slowly again on the double boiler to bring it back to temp.
Important: Make sure your chocolate is kept dry during the entire process avoiding any water or your chocolate will seize giving it a grainy and clumpy texture.
coat of chocolate & Toppings
By now, your caramel will have set giving it a thicker but still chewy texture. Because of the nonstick nature of the silicone mat, the apples should easily come off the sheet. You can decide to smooth out the excess caramel caused from the pooling by applying pressure from the bottom up to the sides (removing that bottom lip), rolling the caramel on the silicone mat. Your apple is ready for dipping! Coat the caramel apple with the chocolate. If you work fast enough, you should be able to cover the apple in one swirl giving it a smooth finish. Again, allowing the excess to drain, place the apple on a silicone mat to set. Top with chopped walnuts or melted white chocolate drizzle. You don't necessarily need to temper the white chocolate since you are using such a small amount to decorate (the tempering process is similar with a lower melting and setting temperature). Cool in the fridge fully for about 2 hours.
slice and enjoy!
You should be able to taste the crunch from the chocolate, chewiness from the caramel and a hint of cinnamon. It makes the tart hard apple taste sweeter from the richness of the ingredients ready to satisfy any sweet tooth.