This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to show off my cooking skills at the Lovely Happenings Fall event. Lovely Happenings, run by the adorable sister-duo, are lifestyle workshop events that gather creative minds throughout the fashion, fitness, beauty and culinary industries. These events are designed to be interactive and give guests a chance to craft, bake, shop and beautify themselves with bloggers and lifestyle specialists in NYC.
For my cooking demonstration, I kept it simple and seasonal. When I think of Fall, I think of freshly-picked apples…and caramel apples immediately came to mind. There is nothing more delicious than biting into a crisp and juicy apple covered in a rich caramel sauce. The one downfall is I always find regular sized caramel apples too difficult to eat, so for my demonstration I created mini versions! You still get all the delicious flavor without the sticky mess. Mini Caramel Apples work perfect as a Thanksgiving dessert dipping station and are great for kids as they are unbelievable easy to assemble.
To set up your own caramel apple dipping station, all you need is:
Apples. Any color will do, I personally love Gala or Red Delicious.
A Melon Baller. It will become your new best friend.
Sticks. I used small skewers, but lollipop sticks work just fine. I went very festive and used actual twigs for my display caramel apples.
Homemade Caramel Sauce. Keep reading for the recipe.
Toppings. It can be a mix of whatever you like! I found that sprinkles, chopped nuts and shredded coconut worked best. Remember these are mini apples, so try to keep the toppings as lightweight as possible, otherwise it will pull the caramel off.
To begin, wash your apples & scoop out mini apples with your melon baller. On a large apple you will be able to make about 8-10 mini apples. For the purposes of the dipping station, I scooped out mini apples as guests came over to my station, but if you’d like to do it before hand just make sure to squeeze some lemon on top to prevent browning. Before dipping in the caramel, make sure to pat the mini apples dry otherwise the caramel will not want to stick.
Now let’s talk about caramel. Never in my life have I encountered something so difficult. As a home cook, I feel pretty confident when I’m trying out a new recipe, but making a caramel sauce from scratch really made me think twice about my cooking skills. Melting sugar is not only all about timing, but it’s also terrifying! After this past week, I’ve decided theres nothing scarier than HOT sugar. Well, I stuck with it and two bags of sugar and one burned hand later, I nailed the recipe. Here are a few things I learned:
Do not use a candy thermometer. You are so fixated on when it hits the right temperature, that you don’t notice if the sugar is actually burning. All you need to go off of is the coloring and smell, like I said, it’s all about timing.
Wear an oven mitt. I learned the hard way.
Don’t worry if you mess up. Once you get a feel for it, it comes much more naturally.
Once the caramel has cooled, you are ready to dip your mini apples. Place a stick in the top of each mini apple, swirl around in the caramel, top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
- Mini-Caramel Apples
- • 3 Apples
- • Homemade Caramel
- • Sticks
- • A metal Tbsp. melon baller
- • Wax paper
- • Toppings - nuts, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips
- Homemade Caramel Sauce
- • 1 cup granulated sugar
- • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- • ½ cup heavy cream
- • Pinch of salt
- Mini-Caramel Apples
- Wash your apples & scoop out mini apples with your melon baller.
- Pat the mini apples dry with a paper towel and place a stick in the top of each mini apple. To prevent browning, squeeze a little lemon on top, but make sure to pat the apple dry again otherwise the caramel will not stick.
- Dip your mini apples in the warm caramel sauce.
- Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
- Homemade Caramel Sauce
- In a semi-deep non-stick pot, heat sugar over medium high heat and gently stir with a wooden or metal spoon.
- The sugar will soon start to clump together. This is ok and what it is supposed to do!
- The sugar will soon start to break down into a liquid and you'll want to switch to a whisk to get rid of the clumps.
- Once the sugar is in liquid form, carefully add the butter. Make sure you are wearing an oven mitt, as the mixture will hiss and splatter. Continue stirring until all the butter has melted.
- Once the butter has melted, carefully add the heavy cream. Since the heavy cream will be cold, your mixture will bubble and splatter a bit as well. Stir the mixture, then let boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in salt if desired.
- Let the caramel slightly cool before dipping the apples. The caramel thickens as it cools and will more easily stick to the apples.
Caramel sauce can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the fridge. Make sure to allow the caramel sauce to completely cool before placing in the container.