caramel apples

A week ago I was at the last farmers market of the year (tear!). An apple merchant was selling caramel apples. I bought one.

It was divine.

A crisp, tart apple enrobed in thick, chewy caramel.

I regretted buying only one, seeing as I had to share with my chauffeur (a.k.a. my boyfriend, who prefers to wait in the car while I go to the market – absolutely baffling behavior. Who would wait in the car when you could be stroking pumpkins and sniffing apples and admiring all the colours of tomatoes?!)

Needless to say, I closely monitored the size of every bite he took.

When all that was left was a popsicle stick and a few apple seeds, I knew that more was non-negotiable.

This is a painless, foolproof version of caramel.

Usually made with just sugar and a bit of water to dissolve it, caramel can run into a number of problems – namely crystallization and pungent burnt sugar.

This recipe uses sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and corn syrup. You bypass all the potential failures, and the result is heavenly.

It will surely be moonlighting as warm caramel sauce for ice cream in the near future…

Tips for success?

Wash and dry your apples really well, and choose a variety that doesn’t appear waxy, or the caramel may not stick.

Chilling the apples prior to dunking them helps the caramel grab hold and create a nice thick coat. Allowing the caramel to cool off for 5 minutes before dipping helps in this regard, too. And if you have extra caramel once your apples are gone, you can double dunk…

Finally – be careful. Hot sticky sugar. ‘Nough said.

Happy Halloween!

Caramel Apples

  • 10 medium apples, or 12 small
  • 10 (or 12) popsicle sticks, chopsticks or lollipop sticks
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 can (300 mL/10 oz*) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped OR 2 tsp vanilla extract

*In the US, most cans of sweetened condensed milk are 14 oz (vs. 10 oz in canada), so you’ll have some leftover to enjoy in your tea/coffee!

1. Wash apples, and dry very well with paper towels or a clean dishtowel. Insert a popsicle stick into the stem end of each, pushing it until it is about 2/3 of the way into the apple. Refrigerate apples. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugars, butter, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Stir until butter is melted. Bring to a boil (whisking constantly), then reduce heat to low. Cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until caramel reaches 235 degrees F/112 degrees C on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer you can tell when the caramel is done when it has thickened, deepened in colour, and lots of bubbles are rising to the surface. If you drop a a spoonful into cold water, it will form a soft ball. Remove from heat, and cool 5 minutes.

3. Holding by the popsicle stick, swirl each apple in the caramel, while tilting the pot. Let excess caramel drip back in. Place apples on the prepared baking sheet. Cool about 30 minutes before enjoying. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to store.

  • Anna

    Lovely! My daughter calls them apple lollipops! I would love to drive you to the market anytime if I’d get a bunch of this apple treats…Thanks for posting the recipe!

    • Anonymous

      You’re very welcome! :-)

  • S Randall

    yum! I had one the other day myself and was instantly transported to a happy place in which I need to recreate pretty soon, I wanna go back! :]

    additionally, love your blog and your photography that much more..  glad I stumbled across it.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, I’m glad you stumbled across it too! :-)

  • Fariba Rajabi

    I will try this receipe. They are definite favor in my home!

    • Anonymous

      Let me know how they turn out for you! …. or invite me over to share…. :-)

  • Nicole

    Man! These look awesome! I’ve been looking for a great carmel recipe. Until now I’ve just been using store bought carmel. Can’t wait to try this out!

    • Anonymous

      Great! It’s so easy to make your own :-)

  • Irene

    These are amazing! I made a batch as I got given a heap of green apples and didn’t know what to do with them. I had to use golden syrup as I couldn’t find corn syrup, I think there was a funny reaction with the golden syrup so there were a few lumps but I strained it and it all turned out really well. They were delicious and everybody loved them! We have glucose syrup in Australia so next time I’ll try with that and report back:) 

  • Monica

    We love making this recipe! Question – when do you add the vanilla?

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Sorry for leaving that out of the recipe – you add the vanilla after the caramel has cooled 5 minutes.