{the perfect caramel apple}

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 I {love} caramel, and I am always on the hunt for the perfect caramel, whether as a candy, a topping, or to dip apples in. This is absolutely the best time of year to enjoy it, which might be one of the reasons I love fall so much. This year I was determined to try and make the perfect caramel apple.

the perfect caramel apple | simplykierste.com

I’ve tried several different recipes, including the good old Kraft caramels, and while I’ve liked several of them, I didn’t love any of them.  Another problem?  My caramel would slide off the apples and leave more on the plate than on my apple.  (Not that that would stop me from eating them…and scraping all that caramel off the plate, lol.)

To my delight, I stumbled across another homemade caramel recipe, and combined with a few tips, it made all the difference! Making the caramel didn’t take too much longer than melting wrapped caramels, especially because there’s nothing to unwrap! Plus, you just can’t beat the taste of homemade caramel, and the few extra minutes it takes is TOTALLY worth it!

 the perfect caramel apple | simplykierste.com
Here’s how you do it…

1. Wash your apples well, and let dry completely. (I love Granny Smith apples best for caramel apples, which as you can tell from the picture I didn’t use.  I made these on a whim on Sunday afternoon, and these were all I had on hand.)  Poke a wooden stick ( I use popsicle/craft sticks you can buy at your local craft store) in the center of the apple. I also like to use twigs/sticks from our woods instead of the stick–it gives it fun, rustic look.

2.  Okay, ready for the best tip ever?

the perfect caramel apple | simplykierste.com


I cannot believe the difference this makes.  It really works!  I used a fine grit sandpaper, and gently roughed up the apple–not taking off any of the skin. Doing this removes some of the waxiness, and allows the caramel to stick.

3.  Rub the back side of a cookie sheet with butter.  This is where you’ll put your apples to cool after they’re dipped.  I’ve found that the apples will stick even to parchment paper or wax paper, so I don’t use either one.

4.  Make your caramel, following the recipe exactly. You really do need to stir constantly, scraping the sides often.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, I would invest in one–I use mine all the time.  I also use the cold water test–dropping some of the caramel into a cup of cold water is an easy way to see which stage your caramel is at.


1/2 c. butter
1 c. light corn syrup
2 c. brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
8-10 apples


Combine the first three ingredients in a large saucepan.  When the butter is melted, add the condensed milk.  Stirring constantly, cook to 230 degrees (soft ball stage).  Take off heat, and stir in vanilla. Let it cool for a few minutes before dipping—super hot caramel is more likely to slide off.
5. Dip your apples!
I found that waiting just a couple of minutes after your caramel is done to dip apples really made a big difference–when it’s super hot, it has more of a tendency to slide off. You don’t need to wait too long–less than 5 minutes.
6.  Once your apples have been dipped in the caramel, place them on your prepared cookie sheet.  I let mine sit for about 10 minutes or so (either in the fridge or at room temperature) to harden before I add any other toppings.  Leftover caramel can be poured in a buttered dish to be cut and eaten later…
Favorites?  Dipped/drizzled with white chocolate, then in cinnamon & sugar; dipped in chocolate, drizzled in peanut butter, then rolled in PB cups; white chocolate with chocolate drizzles and toffee bits…yum!

I melt chocolate chips in the microwave, then spoon into a sandwich bag.  Push the chocolate into the corner of the bag, then snip a tiny bit off of the corner–an easy piping bag that makes the best drizzles!

7.  Place apples in the refrigerator to firm up–then you’re ready to eat and enjoy!

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About Simply Kierste Design Co.

Kierste is a blogger who shares her love of all things DIY. She is the mother of six, and focuses on simple ideas and projects to make a house a home! When she's not chasing around two sets of twins, a teenager, and a baby, she's working on a project, training for her next race, reading one of her favorite books, or baking something with chocolate in it.

16 thoughts on “{the perfect caramel apple}

  1. That recipe is almost the same as the one my mom always used (hers has 1/4 cup more brown sugar). They are the BEST caramels I've ever had/made, and super easy too.

    I love the sanding idea. I just might have to make these!

  2. I can hardly wait to try this method. My last attempt was "mini" apples for our grand daughter and it resulted in a change of venue (doughnuts) which wasn't much fun.
    Thanks so much for the tricks of the trade!

  3. Another was to make sure the caramel doesn't slide off is to make sure your apples are really cold. I wash mine in cold water, dry, and keep in the fridge. Also I have noticed if you don't use butter flavored pam it can leave a funny taste on the apples… I just take some butter and rub on the pan. Great tips. Obviously I am a carmel apple lover too! (:

  4. Another way to remove the wax is to dip the apples in boiling water. Just a quick dip and wipe with a paper towel has the same effect. Don't let them sit in the water though, it discolors the apples and makes them look old:)

  5. I love caramel apples and have been searching for the perfect recipe and I think you have solved my problem! Thanks so much for sharing and I will post about them. I plan to use sticks gathered from our wooded lot. I always read your blog, you are so creative.

  6. Thanks for the additional tips you guys! I'm always looking for anything that will help.

    Chanel–I'm the same way with the butter! I actually do use it instead of Pam (with Rice Krispie treats too) because of the taste–don't know why I didn't add it, but I'm going to now!

  7. I did the sand paper thing when I made them last month and thinked it help as well. I've never done the homemade caramel though.

  8. Never heard of this, I just saw it on Pinterest and had to come and see! That is the same caramel I use and I don't have any problem with it sliding off, but this year (and I have used it for years and years and years!) the caramel bubbled. I went ahead and dipped them and added spider web and actually submitted to Foodgawker and got accepted, so I saved them!

    Yum, I love this recipe.

  9. OMG! Yummy! I can't wait to try the recipe! One thing I read a couple years ago after my failed attempt at these was that yr supposed to wash the apples in a vinegar and water mixture and that's supposed to take the wax off the apples too. Maybe I'll try the hot water method, sand paper method and the vinegar method at the same time and see which works best. That seems to be the hardest part of caramel apples. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I’ve never seen such fancy caramel apples! Definitely want to give these a try.

  11. I'm so excited to try these tips out. So darling! Love your blog. Can't wait to see what's next.

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