Caramel apples are a perfect fall treat and these are especially exciting being rolled in a variety of candy. The caramel is so full-flavored and only requires patience and stirring until it reaches the right temperature to swirl the apples.
Remove the apple stems and insert the sticks into the tops of the apples. NOTE: Be sure the apple is sturdy on the stick.
Add the candy and/or nuts to individual medium-size bowls to allow plenty of room to dip and roll the caramel apples.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spray with non-stick spray (for the dipped apples).
Equip the pan with a candy thermometer.
Stir in the condensed milk and allow the mixture to keep cooking until it the mixture reaches 248 degrees (the ‘firm ball’ stage). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Holding an apple by the stick, inset the apple into the hot caramel and twirl the apple to fully coat.
Hold apple above the saucepan allowing excess caramel to drip back into the pan. Note: tipping the saucepan at a 45 degree angle may assist quick coating of the apples as well.
Immediately place the dipped apple into one of the candy or nut bowls, rotating the apple around to cover the surfaces desired.
Place the coated apple on the lined baking sheet to harden.
Repeat until all the apples are coated. TIP: if the caramel begin to set making dipping the apple difficult, allow the pan of caramel to sit over low heat for a few minutes to liquefy it again.
Ideally the apples would be eaten after making them however they may be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
When eating them out of the refrigerator, allow 45 minutes to 1 hour for the apples to warm up before eating (the caramel is very hard out of the refrigerator). The apples can be eat on the stick or cut into segments.
Granny Smith apples are the traditional choice for caramel apples. I used a variety of red apples in addition to some Granny Smith and they all were delicious.