Growing up in the Pennsylvania, there were certain things that made fall fall – sweater weather, bon fires, hot cocoa, technicolor leaves, hay rides, and everything apple and pumpkin. While autumn cues aren't quite the same here in Southern California, there's no reason not to indulge in a treats like homemade caramel apples while walking around in flip-flops and dreaming of fall foliage.
Homemade caramel apples are typically made by unwrapping about a bajillion little caramel squares that feature such ingredients as genetically modified corn syrup, soy lecithin and white sugar; skim milk and (mysterious and probably toxic) artificial flavors. Eww. No thank you.
Instead, I dip organic apples from the farmer's market into luxurious caramel from my salted caramel recipe that uses nutrient-dense ingredients including grass-fed cream and butter; real vanilla extract; and unrefined honey and rapadura – two mineral-rich sweeteners.
While these homemade caramel apples have a much lower junk factor than their conventional cousins, they still taste every bit like a ball of joy on a stick.
Homemade caramel apples ingredients and supplies
- 1 dozen mini apples or 6 large crisp apples
- 1 cup cream (from grass fed cows)
- 5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (from grass fed cows)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ teaspoon grey Celtic sea salt – get high quality sea salt here
- 1½ cups unrefined cane sugar – buy it in bulk here
- ¼ cup honey – I like this one
- ¼ cup filtered water
- Candy thermometer – get one here
- Popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks – get them here
Homemade caramel apples method
- Bring cream, butter, vanilla, and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the rapadura, honey, and water in a small sturdy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Once dissolved, boil while swirling (not stirring) until the sugar begins to caramelize (this is a bit trickier with rapadura because it’s already brown – take care not to over-cook!)
- Gently whisk cream mixture into the caramel (it will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel reaches 248F. This will take longer than you expect – be patient, but don’t leave your pot or you will end up with a burned mess! Meanwhile, wash and dry your apples. Skewer each with a popsicle or lollipop stick. Line a cutting board or platter with parchment paper. You will need enough space for the apples to sit without touching.
- When you reach 248F, turn off heat. Swirl each apple in the hot caramel, allowing it to twirl in the air a few times to cool slightly before placing it on the parchment paper, stick side up. Repeat will all of your apples.
- Place your dipped apples in the fridge to allow the caramel to set. If you want additional toppings (nuts, coconut, mini chocolate chips) roll the apples in the toppings before refrigerating. Apples should keep in the fridge for a couple of days if you don't eat them first.
Happy Autumn! Enjoy!
Do you think the caramel would set up properly if I used homemade ghee, full fat coconut milk and coconut palm sugar. We cannot use dairy in our house, and the coconut palm sugar is what I have on hand.
Hi Jill, it’s hard to say if it would set. Please do let us know how it goes if you give it a try!