There’s nothing like home-made caramel. It might seem intimidating to make, but it’s actually quite simple. Until mastering the technique of caramelizing sugar, some might get wasted, but sugar’s cheap! Once mastered, one can easily make caramelized walnuts (mix nuts into the sugar, spreading on a sheet to cool), or caramel sauce (slowly adding cream to the caramelized sugar, after removing it from heat).
Granny Smith and Pippin Apples work well for this; the tart crunchiness goes with the gooey sweetness of the caramel. Otherwise, whatever’s available will do well enough. Get more creative by rolling the fresh-dipped apples in mini-chocolate chips and other toppings. A friend says she rolls them in cinnamon-sugar. Yumm. Makes 6 to 12 apples, depending on size.
• 2 c. roasted, salted, skinless peanuts (or substitute nuts/toppings of choice)
• 6 large apples, or more if smaller
• 1 1/2 c. white sugar
• 1/2 c. heavy cream
1. Lightly oil a sheet of wax paper, to use for setting dipped apples on. Chop finely: > 2 c. roasted, salted, skinless peanuts (or substitute nuts or toppings of your choice)
2. Push popsicle sticks firmly into stem end of apples, using: > 6 large apples, or more if smaller
3. Get medium skillet (preferable iron or enamel) quite hot, then pour sugar over its surface, shaking the pan to get sugar dispersed over any hot spots, using: > 1 1/2 c. white sugar
4. Let sugar “melt” completely, turning into a golden brown syrup. Remove from heat, and slowly stir in (a bit at a time): > 1/2 c. heavy cream
5. Let caramel cool a few minutes to get a thicker coat onto the apples. Pour into a small bowl to dip apples into, or leave in pan, spooning caramel over apples to coat. Roll dipped apples into chopped nuts (and any other toppings you choose), if desired. Set on wax paper to firm up. Will keep several days. (Around our house, they last a few hours max.)