Caramel Apples

 I love fall so much that when I realized that it’s almost Halloween and we hadn’t hit up a pumpkin patch or corn maze once this year I got a little nervous. I’m not usually ready to accept the inevitable winter without first getting lost in a corn maze, carving pumpkins or getting my hands sticky with a good caramel apple.

After a conversation on Twitter about making homemade marshmallows and s’mores in your oven (it’s easy! do it!) I decided that I needed to make caramel apples. We picked up a half dozen Honeycrisp apples at the farmer’s market Saturday morning and I’d heard that caramel could be made by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for several hours, which sounded both mildly dangerous and extremely delicious. Perfect combo. Must try.

The instructions are fairly simple. Take an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk and remove the label. Place in a pot large enough to allow you to cover the can with 3-4 inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 4 hours, making sure that the water level always stays above the top of the can so that it doesn’t explode. (yeah…that would be..interesting.) When it’s done boiling, use tongs to take it out and let cool. Voila! Caramel!

So, I set the cans to boiling, terrified the whole time that I was going to forget about it and come back to a kitchen covered in boiling water and exploded caramel.  The intention was that  the caramel would be done in time to make the apples at halftime of the Wisconsin/Ohio State football game. Unfortunately, just as the game was about to start, we ended up taking Murphy to the emergency vet. (a whole different story) I’d say it boiled for about 3 1/2 hours and then I just turned the burner off and let it sit/cool in the water while we were gone.
I threw both unopened cans in the fridge when we got home and heated it over a double boiler the next day.

This was the moment of truth. I wasn't entirely sure it was going to work.

You know what? It’s really good! The can with the ridges in it is Carnation and the other is Shurfine brand. I didn’t taste much difference between the two, but in our very scientific test, which included licking the caramel off the lid, P thought that the Shurfine brand tasted more like an authentic caramel apple.

We initially used some leftover lollipop sticks but realized early on that these were not sturdy enough to hold a caramel laden apple so we just stuck forks in the rest of them.

We toasted some chopped pecans and sprinkled them on the apples while the caramel was still hot…

The caramel is really good, but it didn’t really harden up like I remember the caramel being on caramel apples we get at the pumpkin patch. I don’t know if there’s a trick to making it harden up?

They’re delicious and since we used all of our forks in the apples, we have a legitimate excuse for eating caramel apples for dinner!

What says fall to you?

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8 responses to “Caramel Apples”

  1. d-day says :

    such an awesome ideaaa! had no idea you could make caramel that way. I always thought you just had to cook sugar for hours.. maybe with a little cream or milk.. which is basically what sweetened condensed milk is so I guess it makes sense! no idea how to make it harden up..

    • pinchofthis says :

      One time I tried to make peanut brittle and the whole process was a such a huge messy fail. I almost gave myself 2nd degree burns so I decided to go for the less dangerous (?) method shown here.
      Clearly my thinking is a little flawed.

  2. donna says :

    I love caramel apples and caramelized condensed milk, never thought of putting them together. I just melt the caramels from the store, the little individually wrapped ones, in the microwave, they get the hard outside. I use the condensed milk trick for any dolce de leche recipe.

    • pinchofthis says :

      good point…is this really considered caramel when you make it like this? I dunno..either way, I guess it works.
      I’ve never made dolce de leche recipe…have any you recommend?

      • donna says :

        Yeah, eating it out of the can on anything.

      • donna says :

        Kidding, well not really. I LOVE banoffe pie. Take rid crust, any precooked variety and add half the can of caramel, top with sliced bananas, mix the other half with equal parts whipped cream, spread on top then add plain whipped cream to the top.

  3. pinchofthis says :

    Donna. I am making this pie for Thanksgiving!

  4. Ann says :

    Wow, that is an apple, amazing!

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