When I think of my Halloween memories, the best word I can think of is ‘vivid’. Oddly, the memories aren’t from my childhood. Though I do remember parties that my grandparents threw and the year that my mother made Rice Crispies Treats that noone took – they were left on the front porch, wrapped in cellophane, and I think she’d stowed Bible verses on paper strips in the center.
Then there were the nine years that we lived five blocks from the capitol building in Washington state. One year we decided to count the trick-or-treaters and lost interest when our ticks crossed 250.
Our first year there, we were remodeling the bathroom and a sweet little girl in a witch costume asked, “Why do you have a bathtub in your living room?” And then there was the toddler dressed as Winnie the Pooh that melted my heart, and the boy with a UNICEF donation can who made me at once proud and sad.
Another Halloween, my Granny was scheduled for knee replacement surgery, which she thought was hilarious. But I remember a few years later, on the same date, she lay in the hospital waiting for open heart surgery and how it wasn’t funny at all.
I also think of Bryan and Jenn and our yearly tradition of carving pumpkins while drinking beer – perhaps not a perfect combination. And I think of eating Jenn’s caramel apples.
Oh yes, caramel apples. This post is about caramel apples. And not just any caramel apples, but caramel apples made with homemade, salted caramel – which may sound fancy, but is actual pretty simple.
The idea to make these began with some Liberty apples from our CSA share, they were about the size of a child’s fist and begged me to wrap them in caramel.
I have to credit Heidi for giving me the idea of making caramel with honey instead of light corn syrup. And honey does make a delicious, but distinctive, caramel. If you’re looking for a more traditional caramel taste, I recommend sticking with corn syrup or perhaps a combination of the two. Note that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are not the same – more about that here if you’re interested.
My friends, Happy Halloween!
Salted Caramel Apples
- 6 small apples cold and unwaxed
- 6 lollipop sticks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup light corn syrup or honey or a mixture of the two
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Twist the stem off of each apple and push one lollipop stick down into the apple where the stem used to be. Push it almost to the bottom (don't worry if it pushes through - it will be covered in caramel and noon will care.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Fill a medium bowl half full of ice water and set aside.
In a narrow, heavy saucepan heat the heavy cream and salt to a simmer - don't allow the cream to boil. Stir in corn syrup or honey or the mixture of both. Heat to boiling and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, for 20-25 minutes,until the mixture reaches 250-260F degrees. (Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature)
When the caramel reaches 250-260F degrees, carefully set the saucepan into the ice water. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Continue stirring until the caramel starts to thicken. (You want the caramel to be thick enough to stick to the apples and not run off. ) Don't worry if you allow the caramel to thicken too much, just place it back over the heat and stir until it reaches the consistency you want.
Hold one apple by the lollipop stick, tilt the saucepan with the other hand and lower the apple into the caramel. Tilt and twist until the apple is nicely coated. Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat with remaining apples. Allow the caramel to set at room temperature.