Just in time for Halloween, I was clued in to this healthier recipe for caramel apples from 101cookbooks.com. The creator of the site, Heidi Swanson, is also one of my favorite cookbook authors. She wanted to come up with a caramel apple recipe that required only apples, honey, cream, and salt. And nothing else; no white sugar, no corn syrup, and no Kraft caramel squares. Here it is, as it is found on Heidi’s site:
Please be careful when making caramel apples, you will be working with dangerously hot, sticky, ingredients – I always put on an apron and make sure I have a closed-toed pair of shoes on when making candy. Be extra, extra careful if you have kids around. On the ingredient front, I typically go for a mild clover honey when making caramels.
6 – 8 small apples, unwaxed, cold
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup honey
Special equipment: candy thermometer, and lollipop sticks
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Push a lollipop or popsicle stick deep into each apple – in through the stem.
Fill a large bowl 1/2 full with ice water and set aside.
In a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan heat the cream and salt until tiny bubbles start forming where the milk touches the pan – just before a simmer. Stir in the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil. Now reduce the heat to an active simmer and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15-20 minutes minutes or until the mixture reaches about 255-260F degrees. To stop the caramel from cooking, very, very carefully set the bottom of the saucepan in the bowl of cold water you prepared earlier – taking special care not to get any of the water in the caramel mixture. Stir until caramel begins to thicken up – you want the caramel to be thin enough that it will easily coat your apples, but not so thin that it will run right off. If the caramel thickens too much simply put the pot back over the burner for 10 seconds or so to heat it up a bit.
I tilt my sauce pan so all the caramel forms a pool on one side, and use my other hand to dunk and twirl each apple until it is thoroughly coated with caramel. Place each apple on the parchment lined baking sheets and allow the caramel to cool and set.
Makes 6 – 8 caramel apples.