It may seem like you’re taking your life into your own hands when you step into the kitchen to make, from scratch, caramel apples with kids, but I assure you, you can do it. It’s actually not that hard, apart from some stirring. They make excellent gifts if you’re looking to make this Christmas a little more handmade.
I’m not inventing the wheel with this recipe as it’s pretty basic, but there’s no corn syrup and no heavily refined sugar, which is nice.
- 1 cup of fresh cream
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 6 small apples, refrigerate overnight for best results
Poke bamboo skewers or some other straight stick into the bottom end of each apple. Make sure you show the kids how sharp those skewers are, and to be careful of slivers, which will occur if someone breaks one. We usually cut our skewers in half to make them easier to use and then wrap the bottoms in clear tape to prevent splintering. It would be cute to wrap the whole skewer in ribbon and leave fancy tassels at the end, but we’re usually in such a rush to make the caramel we don’t take much time for cute. Return the apples to the fridge.
In a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat, scald the cream until you see little bubbles around the edge. The caramel mixture will puff up a bit as it cooks, so you’ll want space in your pot.
Add the sugar, honey and salt. This will turn the mixture a golden brown color. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly to prevent burning. Let the kids take turns, being sure to supervise the whole time as hot sugar will burn skin.
Once the caramel has begun to thicken and has reached about 240 degrees F (240 will give you softer caramel; 248 will give you harder), place the pan into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Stir only until it thickens, and do not leave the pot in the bath too long or it will cool down too much to spread. If it does harden too much, put it back on the heat until it is smooth again.
Working quickly, coat each apple in caramel by spooning generous amounts onto the cool skin. Be sure to work in one direction as you apply the caramel. One person should hold and rotate the apple, while another applies the caramel.
While the caramel is still warm on the apple, dust with cocoa, add sprinkles or roll in nuts.
Place each apple into a lightly oiled muffin liner to cool.
These apples make wonderful gifts, especially for hard-working teachers and bus drivers or deserving grandparents and friends. Wrap them up in cellophane and a festive ribbon or eat them yourselves. Either way, enjoy scraping off the leftovers and spending time together in the kitchen.