Sunday, November 8, 2009
Caramel apples have been on my mind ever since the leaves first started to turn golden, and right away when I entered the farmer's market I laid my eyes on the small baskets of Lady Apples. Lady Apples are miniature apples which are sweet and crisp, (unlike Crab Apples) and perhaps the most perfect fruit for a child.
paper sticks inside Lady Apples waiting for caramel
I do enjoy the sour/sweet combination for a caramel apple, but knew that the kids would like the sweeter variety, plus it meant that I could use a few leftover for their lunches. Researching many kinds of caramel apple recipes, I found one on Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbook site that uses honey instead of sugar, an idea that seemed perfect for apples. The recipe took around 10 minutes to make, and the result is a very sweet, honey flavored caramel. Using the mini apples makes it just the right amount of sweet to apple ratio, and small enough to not feel too overindulgent.
If I had the farmhouse I dream about, I would search the woods for twigs to stick in the centers for a perfect looking caramel apple. Instead we used paper sticks for our perfect Fall snacks.
Caramel Lady Apples
(recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks.com)
11 Lady Apples (they typically come in a corrugated box, I used 11 and 5 leftover)
3/4 cup organic heavy cream
3/4 cup honey-I used a mild clover
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
special equipment- candy thermometer, wooden spoon
Preparation: Rinse apples, stick wooden or paper sticks down the stems. Place on parchment paper or Silpat and chill in the refrigerator. Also place a large bowl with cold water in the freezer.
1. In heavy bottomed saucepan, bring heavy cream and sea salt to a simmer.
2. Add honey and raise heat to medium high, so that it is on a constant boil. But you have to keep stirring constantly or else it will burn.
3. After a few minutes, clip the candy thermometer inside the pan, and stir frequently.
4.Once the temperature reads 255/260, remove cold water from freezer and place on counter top.
5. Remove pan from heat, and place inside bowl (but careful to not have any water get inside). This cools down the caramel instantly, so you have to dip the apples quickly.
6. Tilt the pan to one side, and using the other hand, dip the apple in and twirl, coating all sides. Place coated apple on parchment paper.
7. If you want, you can sprinkle some sea salt, or chocolate chips into the caramel.
8. Refrigerate to set the caramel, and if you like, you can serve them chilled so they are extra crisp!
Posted by Sarah Magid at 3:53 PM