Tips to get you dipping
Sept./Oct. 2011 California Country magazine
For some reason, apple season always inspires nostalgia. Maybe it's the change in seasons from sizzling heat to cool breezes that makes us want to gather our family and friends close, and turns our thoughts to old-fashioned things. Some people love the feeling of pulling on a favorite old sweater. Those of us who love to cook find that same comfort in family recipes we remember from our childhood. This time of year, that often means caramel apples.
Dipping apples is a great activity to share with children. Sure, it might make a sticky mess of the kitchen counters, but at the same time you'll be forging wonderful memories that will be passed on to future generations.
Certainly you may use caramel made from scratch, but who wants to wait that long? And if you are working with children, using packaged caramel candies will simplify the task. Here are a few tips to get you dipping:
- Any type of apple can be used for making caramel apples. If you like a sweet apple, try Golden Delicious. If you prefer a firm, tart apple, try a Pippin.
- One 14-ounce package of caramel candies is enough to dip six small apples.
- Wash and dry apples thoroughly before dipping. If the apples have a wax coating, add a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent to the wash water and be sure to rinse thoroughly.
- Apples need to be room temperature and completely dry before dipping or the caramel won't stick.
- Twist off the stems and insert craft sticks or sucker sticks at the stem end just before dipping.
- If you use packaged candies, add about two tablespoons of water to the candies as they melt. This will keep the caramel thin enough to dip the apples.
- For best results, melt purchased candies in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. If you don't have a double boiler, use very low heat and keep stirring as candies melt to prevent the mixture from scorching on the bottom.
- After dipping each apple, gently twirl them over the pan to remove excess caramel. Then place the apples on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. They should stand before eating at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until the caramel firms.
- For variety, try rolling dipped apples in a garnish of coarsely chopped nuts, coconut, miniature chocolate chips, crushed cookies or miniature marshmallows.
- Store dipped apples in the refrigerator. They should be eaten within a day or two.