Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Apple a Day...

Somehow, I don't think this is what they had in mind when they suggested, "an apple a day"...
But it sure does add variety to life!
I have made caramel apples for the girls in the fall on and off through the years. We love them, they are a treat and they are a lot of work! But, oh so good. Here, I used vanilla caramel, mini apples (from the farm, that Dad gave me) white chocolate, dark chocolate.

Here is the tray that went with the girls to Wednesday night tennis practice. Their group of 12 works so hard. On occasion I send treats, like ice pops in the August heat and now caramel apples in the autumn cold.
These were made from simple, delicious ingredients and were a pleasure to make....
Here are some tips for making chocolate drizzled caramel apples....(even the name sounds decadent).
1. Use good quality apples in good condition.
2. Chill the apples in the fridge and then take them out 30 minutes before dipping time so that the apples can warm to almost room temperature, but still be cool to the touch. You don't want COLD apples, as the caramel will glob on and there will be condensation forming on the apples that the caramel will slip and slide and be a mess!
3. Use good quality caramel. I used vanilla caramel from King Arthur. It was costly, but it is exceptional. The Kraft caramels work, but obviously, the quality is a little waxy and loaded with artificial ingredients. But, for a once a year treat, make your choice.
4. Have all your ingredients at the ready "mise en place". Wash and dry the apples. Dry them 2 - 3 times. Water is your enemy here. Chop your chocolate and caramel. Set up your double boiler and prep for chocolate in bowls for melting in the microwave.
5. Line a larger baking sheet than you will think you will need with parchment, NOT tin foil or plastic wrap. In a pinch, you can use greased wax paper -- but the caramel still might stick.
6. Take a deep breath, and get ready!

1 dozen apples
1 dozen sticks... I found "craft sticks" at the arts n crafts store
2 pounds caramel, chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped and set in a microwave safe bowl
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped and set in a microwave safe bowl
1 double boiler set up with the water simmering and the bowl part clean and dry
parchment lined baking sheet
2 pastry bags - for the chocolate.

First, line up the apples, make sure they are dry. Twist out the stems.
Place the stick in each apple, all the way through, but so it can stand unassisted. You will have some leeway as the caramel helps to form a base - so don't fret.
Add the caramel to the bowl of the double boiler or make your own double boiler.
Let the caramel absorb the heat and melt, stirring occasionally.

Holding the apple by the stick, set it in the caramel and gently swirl it down, as if you are screwing in a giant screw. Do not cover the whole apple (unless you like that), instead leave 1 - 2 inches of the apple showing from the stem part.
Continue to turn the apple, as it if it were on a spit and smooth the caramel around the apple with a spatula, like you were using a lathe. When you are happy with the coating, place the caramel covered apple on the parchment.
Repeat with the remaining apples.

Because the apples were cool, they don't need much time to set. If your apples were warm to start with, chill them for 10 - 15 min in the fridge, until the caramel sets.
Once the caramel is set, melt the dark chocolate.

(I melted the dark chocolate first, as I liked the white chocolate on top, but it is up to you).
Melt the chocolate, place in a pastry bag (or just drizzle on top of the apples with a spoon).
This doesn't require much time to set.

Repeat with white chocolate.

Now, allow the apples to set until solid - at room temp or in the fridge.

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