Thursday, September 10, 2009

Monster Caramel Apples

As I mentioned, last Halloween I made the monster caramel apples recipe from the Taste of Home Halloween Food&Fun digest. I also made a couple other recipes from that, but I believe this is the only one that I have photos from.

According to iPhoto, I made these ON Halloween, October 31, 2008.

monster caramel apples

(yield: 8-10 servings)

  • 8 to 10 medium apples
  • 8 to 10 wooden sticks
  • 32 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 squares (1 ounce each) white candy coating, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange&brown sprinkles
*Wash & thoroughly dry apples; insert a wooden stick into each. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet; chill. Place cookie crumbs in a shallow dish; set aside.

(We had a hard time finding wooden sticks like you would normally think of for caramel apples on a stick. I ended up using chopsticks...I think they were plastic, not wood. I distinctly remember having my husband cut them off at the point where you would not see Chinese writing on them!)

*In a heavy 3-qt. saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, milk, & corn syrup; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook&stir until mixture reaches 248 degrees (firm-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.

*Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture to completely coat, then dip the bottom in cookie crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Return to baking sheet to cool.

(I suggest recruiting help for that stage. It was not easy to do by myself. I called my husband in to help because it was a slow process to take each apple, dip it in & cover it, & then transfer it to the cookie crumbs. The mixture was also hardening very quickly, which made it very difficult to completely coat the [heavy] apples. The recipe does not tell you how to completely coat the apples, so I would like to point out that unless you use the perfect saucepan, with a perfect depth&width for this project, you will be twirling the apples in the air above the mixture to get them completely coated. Beware of burns! Also, keep in mind that unless you coat them very thinly...& what would be fun about that? may want to consider cutting these pretty apples up for the actual consumption, as the mixture hardens & may be challenging for little - or big! - teeth.)

*In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat white candy coating at 50% power for 1-2 minutes or until melted; stir until smooth. Transfer to a small plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Drizzle coating over apples. Decorate with sprinkles.

(If you're Type A like me, you may find yourself frustrated at the difficulty of decorating these apples. However, if you have a fun, laid-back husband, like I do, you may decide they look pretty fun&whimsical if you throw caution to the wind & just scatter the yummy goodness everywhere! I was told by more than one person that they looked [& tasted] like Mrs. Prindable's apples. Remember those? I worked in a candy store that sold them once, & they were quite expensive! I think the kids that received them also appreciated the "fun" look they had.)

*The editor's note recommends that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212 degrees. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.

(I should also mention that at the time that I made these, I did not own a candy thermometer & thus relied on the time & the consistency of the mixture. This may or may not have contributed to the challenge of dipping&coating these. I do own, test, & properly use a candy thermometer now. Regardless, these were delicious, by a unanimous vote!)

*Another fun tidbit from the digest: Dark brown sugar & light brown sugar are both mixtures of granulated sugars & molasses. Light brown has a delicate flavor while dark brown has a more intense molasses flavor. They can be used interchangeably depending on your preference.

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