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Learn how to make Gourmet Caramel Apples! They're simple to make and the perfect fall or Halloween treat.
Do you have any favorite fall foods?
I've always loved all things pumpkin, but nothing brings back childhood memories faster than a crisp, sweet caramel apple. My mom took my sister and I apple picking every fall. It was such a fun family tradition, and when we returned home, my mom started baking.
She had recipes for everything from apple cake to apple pie, and I can still smell the cinnamon-scent of those yummy fall treats. But I especially loved making caramel apples ... what kid doesn't? We always used those sheets of caramel that you wrapped around the apples. They were supposed to be less messy, but somehow we still ended up coated in caramel from head to toe. Ha!
This fall, I decided that I needed to up my caramel apple game. These colorful treats are the result, and I'm showing you how to make Gourmet Caramel Apples, too ... it's easier than you think!
How to Make Gourmet Caramel Apples
If you've ever wanted to learn how to make Gourmet Caramels Apples at home, this is the recipe for you. It's simple and fun, plus the finished apples are so delicious ... perfect for adults and kids alike!
I knew I wanted to make these homemade caramel apples with a candy coating around the bottom. And when I spotted M&M'S® Caramel at my local Walmart, I knew it would be perfect ... caramel candies, plus caramel apples for the win!
Have you tried M&M’S® Caramel? This yummy candy takes caramel to a whole new level that moves way beyond the classic square! It has a creamy caramel center covered in milk chocolate and enclosed in a candy shell. They are so delicious, and I'm super excited that they're a permanent addition to the M&M’S® line, not just a limited-edition flavor.
In addition to the M&M’S® Caramel, you're going to need traditional caramel candy, heavy cream, dark chocolate, and of course, apples for this recipe. The process to make these fancy caramel apples is easy, but you'll want to organize all these ingredients, so you can move quickly once you get started.
The first thing you want to do is cover a baking sheet and your work surface with parchment paper. The parchment makes cleanup so much easier ... you'll thank me later!
Next, wash the apples, then insert the sticks. I used chopsticks, but you could use popsicle or craft sticks, cake pop sticks, or even twigs to make these homemade caramel apples.
Before starting, you'll also melt a dark chocolate candy bar and transfer it to a zip top plastic bag. The caramels also get melted in the microwave, along with a little heavy cream, and an optional pinch of salt which gives the caramel a yummy sweet-salty flavor.
The caramel is ready when it's hot and thin.
Dip your apples in the caramel, then transfer them to the baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining apples.
Next, you'll drizzle the chocolate over the apples. I found it was easiest to bring the bag back and forth over the apple, then rotate the apple, rather than continuously trying to rotate the apple while drizzling. And try to keep the bottom quarter of the apples chocolate free. That way, your M&M’S® Caramel candies will stick a little easier.
Then, it's time for the best part ... the candy!
Grab an apple and turn it so the bottom is facing you. Press the M&M’S® Caramel candies into the caramel, one by one, around the bottom of the apple. When you finished with the first row, add another row above it.
To be honest, attaching the M&M’S® is the trickiest part of making this Gourmet Caramel Apples recipe. If your candies won't stick, dip them into the melted caramel, then press them back onto the apple. That seemed to do the trick for me!
Set aside your DIY caramel apples to set for a few minutes—if you can resist—then dig in!
Your whole family is going to love these DIY caramel apples. They are so cute, and the M&M’S® Caramel candy makes them even more fun and delicious.
Keep reading after the Gourmet Caramel Apples recipe, because I'm sharing even more tips for making the best caramel apples!
Gourmet Caramel Apples
- 6 medium apples (refrigerated)
- 1 (3.5-ounce) dark chocolate candy bar
- 1 (11-ounce) package wrapped caramels
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- pinch salt, optional
- 2 ½ cups M&M'S Caramel candies
- 6 sticks
- zip top plastic bag
- parchment paper
- Cover a baking sheet and your work surface with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Wash apples well to remove waxy coating. Dry, then insert a stick in the stem end of each apple.
- Break chocolate into pieces and place in a small bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, mixing well in between, until melted.
- Transfer melted chocolate to a zip top bag, then seal. (A pastry bag or plastic bottle with a pointed nozzle works, too.) Set aside.
- Unwrap the caramels and place them in a small bowl. Add heavy cream and a generous pinch of salt, if desired, to the caramels.
- Microwave caramels for one minute, stir, then microwave for another minute. Stir caramels again, then microwave for 30 more seconds or until caramel is hot and smooth (it should drizzle thinly off a spoon).
- Grab an apple, blot off any condensation with a paper towel, then dip the apple in caramel. Use a spoon to pour caramel over the apple, if needed.
- Allow excess caramel to drain off apple, tapping it gently on the bowl's side.
- Transfer apple to the parchment lined baking pan, then repeat this process with the remaining apples. Work quickly and reheat the caramel, if needed.
- When the apples are coated, pick up the first one you worked on. If there is caramel pooling on the bottom, press it toward the bottom of the apple.
- Snip a small corner off the chocolate-filled bag, then drizzle chocolate back and forth over the apple, rotating the apple to coat all sides. Avoid the bottom ¼ of the apple.
- Press M&M'S® Caramel, one by one, into caramel on the bottom ¼ of the apple. If the candy won't to stick, dip it into a bit of the hot caramel, then try again.
- Return apple to the baking sheet, then repeat this process with the remaining apples.
- Allow chocolate and caramel to cool and set for a few minutes before eating. Enjoy!
Tips for Making the Best Gourmet Caramel Apples
This Gourmet Caramel Apples recipe is super simple and fun to make. Here are a few tips that will help make the process easier:
- Most conventionally grown apples are coated in wax. I recommend using organic apples, because they do not have a wax coating. If you use regular apples though, make sure to wash them really well or the caramel won't stick to the apples.
- For the stick, you can use chopsticks, popsicle sticks, cake pop sticks, or even twigs. Basically, any sturdy, food-safe stick will do.
- Keep your work surface clean by covering it with parchment paper.
- Start with cold apples. Their cool temperature helps the caramel set faster. Make sure to blot off any condensation right before dipping your apples though (I used a paper towel), otherwise the caramel won't stick well as well.
- Reheat your caramel as needed to keep the right consistency.
- One bag of caramels is enough to coat six apples, but it gets pretty tight near the end. If you want to coat your apples really generously, buy an extra bag of caramels.
- Try to avoid getting the chocolate on the lower quarter of your apples. That way, the candy will stick on easier.
- If the M&M'S® won't stay put, dip them in a bit of caramel and try again.
- Experiment with different toppings, such as other M&M'S® flavors, chopped nuts, small candies, white chocolate, coconut, or sprinkles.
- Place your finished homemade caramel apples on a small square of parchment paper to keep them from sticking to the plate or platter you serve them on.
- If you have any leftover caramel, use it to make caramels! Pour the caramel onto a piece of parchment paper. Let it cool, then cut the caramel into small pieces. Roll the caramels up in squares of parchment paper, twisting the ends of the paper to secure the caramels.
Now that you know how to make Gourmet Caramel Apples at home, make sure to stop by Walmart's candy aisle to pick up a bag (or three!) of M&M’S® Caramel.
What is your favorite fall treat?