Salted Caramel Candy Apple Wraps
Do you LOVE caramel? If you said yes, this recipe is for you.
As a caramel connoisseur, I want a caramel that has the right balance of sweet and creamy. I want a consistency that’s both smooth and chewy without being too sticky and I want to inhale a warm bouquet of luring vanilla notes under my nose just before I take that first bite. It’s caramel for Pete’s sake, a hand crafted seduction that is meant for indulgence. I believe if you’re going to indulge, it better be darn well worth it.
And this recipe, my foodie friends IS. Darn. Well. Worth. It.
It has real vanilla. No extract will suffice. The pods are carefully sliced open and the beans, gently removed.
The vanilla is then steeped in a warmed cream and butter mixture with a touch of salt until the flavors meld, develop and bloom. If you wanna make your kitchen smell like a dream, this step alone, like a trance will definitely set the mood.
The next step is a mindful watching of a mixture of sugar, light corn syrup and water. It is important that you have the dish you’ll be pouring the caramel in prepared beforehand because the temperature of the sugar mixture changes rapidly. This requires all of your attention, so before you turn the heat on, line a baking dish with parchment paper and spray it with a light coating of cooking spray.
To keep the caramel from getting crystallized bits of sugar, which leaves an off texture, you’ll pour the sugar into the center of a large pot after you have the water and corn syrup in. Don’t be tempted to stir or mix anything, the heat will take care of that once the mixture is bubbling over a steady medium/high.
When the mixture does begin boiling and turns an amber color, have your thermometer ready to check the temperature. You’ll be watching for it to reach 350 degrees F.
Once it reaches the correct temp, you’ll add that lovely vanilla cream mixture and begin stirring.
After years of making candy with my Mother, I’ve learned that as the temperature rises in a sugary mixture, each digit is a stage. The higher the digit, the harder the candy will be when it cools.
After allowing the caramel to come to a boil once again, check the temp. You want it to reach 248 degrees F. This is known as the firm-ball stage. If you let the mixture go beyond 250 degrees F. you will have a consistency of a gummy candy, so watch carefully. When the temperature just hits the correct digit, take it off the heat and it pour into the prepared pan.
The caramel will not stick to the parchment paper if you have it coated with cooking spray, so be sure not to skip this step.
After the caramel settles for ten minutes, you can sprinkle the salt on. A nice flaky salt is best but kosher salt is fine, too.
Allow the caramel to cool for one hour on the counter. Then, place it in the refrigerator for one hour.
When you take it out, it will still be soft but firm enough to cut into bite size pieces for candies or larger pieces if you’re making the caramel apples. If you’re making the caramel for candies, you’ll wrap the individual pieces in wax paper squares.
If you’re planning on using the caramel for apples, you’ll cut larger pieces out and weigh them. Each piece should be 3 ounces for small apples or 4 ounces for larger apples.
Form a circle or ball with the finished caramel pieces and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll them out flat with a rolling pen.
To wrap the apples, place them in the center of each wrap. Turn them upside down along with the paper they’re resting on.
Flip the paper and apple over onto parchment paper and gently lift and peel. Place the stick into the center of the apples and press the caramel into place at the bottom to completely cover. Refrigerate the caramel covered apples for about thirty minutes before serving to allow the caramel to firm up.
If you prefer a coating of candies, peanuts or any other addition, roll the apples in the topping before refrigerating.
I like a simple sprinkle of additional salt on top because the caramel alone is so delicious.
What better way to celebrate the bounty of apples that awaits? Go on, get out there and pick out some beautiful fruits to enjoy this delightful caramel recipe with. You know you want to. 😉
Make it a beautiful day friends and as always, keep it delicious!
Till next time ~ much love, Connie
- 2 vanilla beans, cut lengthwise and beans scraped
- 2 C heavy cream
- 2/3 C unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 C light corn syrup
- 1/2 C water
- 2 2/3 C sugar
- sea salt flakes or kosher salt for garnish
- Combine vanilla bean seeds, cream, butter, and salt in small pot over medium heat. Heat through until the mixture just comes to a boil and then take it off the heat. Cover with a lid and set aside while preparing everything else.
- Line a 3 quart baking dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.
- In a large pot, pour the water and corn syrup in and stir. Carefully pour the sugar into the center of the pot and do not stir. Turn the heat on to med/hi and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to med/low and check the temperature by placing a thermometer into the center.
- Once the mixture reaches 350 degrees F. take it off the heat.
- Whisk in the vanilla cream mixture.
- Return the pot to a med/hi heat and continue stirring.
- Check the temperature again once it begins to boil.
- When the temp reaches 248 degrees F. take it off the heat and pour into the prepared baking dish.
- Wait 10 minutes for the caramel to firm up some and then garnish with a sprinkling of salt.
- Allow the caramel to cool for one hour and then place it in the refrigerator for an additional hour.
- Take the caramel out of the pan, leaving it on the parchment paper and cut into bite size squares for candies. Wrap the individual candies in squares of wax paper and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
- For making wraps, remove the stems and wash the apples well to remove any dirt or wax. If needed, place the apples in boiling hot water for a minute to remove wax. Dry them well.
- Cut the caramel into 3 oz squares for small apples and 4 oz squares for large, making sure to weigh each piece.
- Form a ball with each square and place each between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll into flat circles with a rolling pen.
- Place the apples, stem side down into the center of each caramel circle. Flip the apple over along with the parchment paper and carefully peel away the paper. Place a Popsicle stick into the center of the apple where the stem was and press the caramel into place to cover the entire apple.
- Garnish by rolling the apple in crushed peanuts or candies if desired or sprinkle a little additional salt on top of the apples.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Recipe by: Connie Murray @Happybellyfoodie.com