This week has been stressful, hard, and just pretty much a bad week in general.
One thing, however, made it absolutely incredible. Thanks to my Aunt Tara and Uncle Nir, I have a gorgeous new cousin Eliana. She’s the cutest, most perfect little girl and I’m so happy for them, finally having girl after three little boys. On November 4th, Eliana’s birthday, I spent hours and hours in the hospital just holding her and looking at her tiny nose and minuscule fingers. Little Ellie is definitely one of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen.
As you can see, she’s freakin’ adorable. I’ve been showing pictures to anyone and everyone who will look. I’m desperate to babysit. Today, my aunt and little Ellie are finally going home after a few days in the hospital recovering Tara’s sugery. I can’t wait to go visit their whole, adorable family and see how Max and Jordan (their adorable twins) are reacting to their new sister. We already know that Zachy, the oldest at 3 year old, loves Ellie to death. He’s so cute with her.
Anyways, I did bring goodies to Tara in the hospital, but it was banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. Banana bread has already been posted twice on here and chocolate chip cookies are something I just don’t want to start with yet. I know you all will be fighting me til’ the death about whose cookie is better. So, with that I bring you the ultimate fall treat: caramel apples. And no, it’s not caramels that you unwrap and melt down. It’s homemade, buttery caramel that melts in your mouth and makes you love caramel more than you knew possible. That kind of caramel.
I had extra, and so I cut it into little squares and the family snacked on them for a few days. They were delicious. So, here’s the recipe, and I hope you enjoy.
Note: I used mini crab apples, but it would work just as well with regular apples. I like Granny Smith.
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 cups dark brown sugar packed
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- About 30 crab apples or 8-10 medium-sized apples sticks inserted in tops
- Over medium-high heat, stir together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and condensed milk in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
- Cook about 30-40 minutes (don't stir often, as you'll risk crystallization), until the caramel darkens and thickens. It should reach the "firm ball" stage of candy-making. This means that if you drop the caramel into ice cold water, a firm ball will form. This ball shouldn't flatten when you remove it from the water, but should still easily change shape when you touch it. With a candy thermometer the temperature should read 245-250 degrees F. Remove finished caramel from the heat. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Dip apples into hot caramel. In order to get as thick a caramel coating as possible, I like to tilt the pan and rotate the apple in the caramel, completely coating the whole apple. Pull apple out vertically and allow excess caramel to drip off. Place apple on greased wax paper or greased foil. Repeat until all apples are coated.
- While caramel is still warm and soft, decorate as desired. (Unless dipping apples in chocolate, in which case the caramel needs to be allowed to set.) I just left mine plain, but at this point you could roll them in sprinkles, M&M's, chopped candy, or anything else you want.
- Let cool to set.
- If you have excess caramel: line a baking sheet with greased parchment paper and pour the caramel onto the parchment paper. Refrigerate until set. Once set, cut into squares and serve. If storing, layer in a container separated by greased parchment paper so that they don't stick together.