What to buy: A reliable candy/fat thermometer is crucial for getting an accurate read on the caramel. We like this thermometer from CDN.
The crunchy texture and slightly sour flavor of Granny Smith apples work nicely with this particular caramel apple combination. But feel free to substitute any locally grown apple with the same characteristics.
Craft sticks give these apples an authentic state-fair feel. Look for them next to the apples in the produce section of the grocery store or order them online. If you can’t find them, chopsticks will work in a pinch.
Game plan: You’ll have a bit of caramel left after dipping the apples, so try making some soft caramels with the excess. To do so, pour the remaining caramel into a parchment-lined, 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and, if desired, sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit at room temperature until it’s set. Remove the caramel from the pan and cut it into 1-inch pieces.
This recipe was featured as part of our Tricked-Out Caramel Apples project.
- 1Wash the apples under hot water to get off any wax coating, then dry thoroughly. Starting on the bottom, core the apples with the smaller scoop of a melon baller. Reserve the bottom “plugs” of the apples. Continue coring up to the top inch of the apples (you just want all the seeds removed). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
- 2Stuff the apples with about 2 tablespoons of the ganache, then close with the reserved apple plugs to seal. Push the sticks through the stem ends of the apples, and set the apples on the baking sheet.
For the coating:
- 1Place the pretzels in a shallow dish; set aside. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water.
- 2Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until mixture registers 250°F on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. Immediately dip the bottom of the saucepan in the ice water bath and let it chill until the bubbles have subsided, about 1 minute. Stir until stiff caramel from the bottom is incorporated into the warm caramel on top. Remove from the water bath.
- 3Dip apples one at a time into the caramel, rotating once to coat 3/4 of the way up the sides. Lift each apple straight up from the caramel, letting the excess drip back into the pot until the drips have slowed, about 10 to 15 seconds.
- 4Roll the apple in the pretzels, and hold upright for 10 to 15 seconds. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining apples. (If the caramel gets too hard to coat the apples well, set the pan over low heat and rewarm, stirring constantly, until the caramel is loose and pourable.)
- 5Refrigerate the apples until set, at least 10 minutes. The apples can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance.