- 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.
Keywords: caramel, apples, dessert