Here in Arizona, if you get up early in the morning, you might feel a slight chill in the air! Even though the days are still well into the 90s, fall is definitely on its way. So to celebrate another long hot summer in the books, we made Homemade Caramel Apples!
Start with your favorite apple; mine is always and forever the Honeycrisp. Run each apple under hot water, and buff off that waxy coating with a clean dishtowel. This will help your caramel layer stick better. If you are lucky enough to be able to pick your own apples from an orchard, you can skip this step.
To make the homemade caramel, I used my favorite soft caramel recipe from a childhood friend. Her mother always made these caramels at Christmastime and I have held this recipe as sacred ever since! It is a cream-based (as opposed to butter-based) caramel, which makes it stand out as supremely creamy, smooth, and just slightly nutty in flavor.
Homemade Caramel Making Tips
It is very helpful to have a heavy-bottomed saucepan. For this recipe, I used a 3 quart sized pan, and while it does bubble up in the pan, it won’t boil over, and the finished caramel is still deep enough to dip the apples.
You will also need a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer, like a Thermapen. The caramel will need to come to 240 degrees three times for this recipe, as you add the cream in stages. Having an accurate temperature reading takes all the guesswork out of it.
I also like to stir the caramel with a long handled wooden spoon throughout the entire cooking time. Yes, it is a little bit time consuming, but so is unwrapping one hundred individual little caramel candies to melt!
I have seen other candy making recipes suggest using a small brush on the sides of the pan to help prevent crystalization. I have never found this to be necessary, and my caramel always turns out very smooth and even in texture.
Have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start the caramel. Once you start, you don’t want to walk away from it, and things will go quickly right at the end.
This recipe will make enough caramel to coat 10-12 apples, depending on the size of the apples and the thickness of the caramel layer. If you dip the apples immediately, the caramel layer will be thinner because the caramel will thicken as it cools. You may want to keep the caramel on low heat over the stove while dipping or transfer it to a crockpot. I did not find this necessary as we dipped them right away, but if you’d like to take your time with the dipping, it is an option.
I love dipping the coated apples in crushed, salted peanuts. And we always cut our apples into big slices rather than trying to eat it off the stick. So much less messy that way!
You can keep these apples in the fridge for up to a week, but do let them come to room temperature before serving or slicing because the caramel layer will be a little too firm when cold.
If you have extra caramel leftover, you can spray a small glass dish with nonstick spray and pour the leftover caramel into it. Let the caramel set at room temperature, and then slice it into squares with a plastic knife and wrap individually with plastic wrap for caramel candies.
It’s good to celebrate the little things, even if it’s just the change of season. These Homemade Caramel Apples are a great way to welcome fall, bringing everyone together! We brought these over to my parent’s house and enjoyed playing games together while snacking on the sliced caramel apples. Everyone loves them. Enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelylittlekitchen
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- 10 apples, washed and dried
- 10 flat wooden sticks
- 2 cups crushed salted peanuts
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper, or a silicone baking mat.
- Make sure apples have waxy coating scrubbed off, and are clean and dry and without defect.
- Insert the wooden stick through the top of each apple, about one inch deep.
- Have the crushed peanuts ready for dipping in a bowl nearby.
- In a heavy-bottomed 3 quart saucepan, mix sugar, light corn syrup, and 1 cup of the heavy cream. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F.
- Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Continue to cook and stir until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F again.
- Add the last 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Continue to cook and stir until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Dip each apple into the caramel and roll to coat the sides. Allow excess caramel to drip off, then roll the apples in crushed peanuts. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all apples are dipped, then cover loosely and refrigerate if serving later. The caramel will set at room temperature within about 30 minutes.
- Serving Size: 1 Caramel Apple
- Calories: 689
- Sugar: 91g
- Sodium: 166mg
- Fat: 32g
- Saturated Fat: 13g
- Unsaturated Fat: 15.7g
- Trans Fat: 0.6g
- Carbohydrates: 102g
- Fiber: 6.8g
- Protein: 8.9g
- Cholesterol: 54mg