Caramel Apples are the quintessential Halloween party treat. Flash-back to lots of sticky caramel stuck in little teeth and apple juice dripping down little chins. Lots of fun then, but how to recreate that idea with a more grown-up twist for now?
How about Caramel Apples with Bourbon Laced Caramel, White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and for an extra spicy/salty kick: crushed Wasabi Peas and chopped Wasabi Almonds?!
These are seriously good: the wasabi peas and almonds are the perfect spicy and salty compliment to the sweet white and dark chocolate while a touch of bourbon adds a little extra smoky flavor element to the buttery caramel before crunching down into the tart, crisp, juicy apple. Don’t you just want one now? Here is how you can make your own:
This recipe will make approximately six small-medium sized caramel apples. You will need:
22 oz. (2 bags) Kraft Premium Caramel Bits (or 22 oz. of regular caramels unwrapped)
2 Tbls. of bourbon & 2 Tbls. water (or you can just use 4 Tbls. water)
6 small-medium sized apples, all approximately the same size and shape
6 sticks (some bags of caramel will come with sticks/can also find at hobby shops)
white chocolate candy melts or white chocolate
dark chocolate candy melts or dark chocolate
wasabi peas (can be found at Trader Joe’s)
Choose apples that are relatively small, as they are easier to coat in the caramel. I used bright green Granny Smith apples because of their crisp tart flavor/texture and relatively uniform shape and smaller size. Start by washing the apples really well in warm water with some vinegar added. The vinegar helps remove the wax found on the outside of the apples. If you leave the wax on the apples the caramel will slide right off! After scrubbing the apples remove the stems and dry them thoroughly. Using your sticks, carefully skewer each apple through the stem end going down an inch into the apple to secure.
Line a 1/2 sheet pan with parchment or silpat, set aside. Make sure you have room set aside in your fridge for this sheet pan!
Mix together the 2 Tbls. of bourbon and 2 Tbls. water with the 22 oz. of Caramel Bits into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula or spoon until the caramel is smooth and melted. Hold an apple by the stick over the melted caramel and coat with the caramel by spooning over the apple letting the excess drip off back into the pan. Transfer the coated apple to the lined 1/2 sheet pan. Repeat process with remaining apples then place pan of apples in fridge to chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
While the apples are chilling, crush the wasabi peas to a fine crumb using a food processor. I wanted to go for the texture of Shake-N-Bake so I made mine as fine as possible. Place the finely crushed wasabi peas in a wide shallow bowl. Using the food processor again, chop the almonds until they are fairly fine. Place the chopped almonds in a wide shallow bowl and mix with some of the crushed wasabi peas. (Of course you can always keep your peas and almonds chunky if you prefer!) Set bowls aside.
When the apples have finished chilling, place the white chocolate candy melts into the top pan of a double boiler set over medium low heat- try not to let the water boil. Alternatively you can melt them in the microwave, following the instructions on the bag.
When the white chocolate has become smooth and melted, remove the caramel apples from the fridge. Holding the apple by the stick, quickly pour the chocolate over the apple using a spoon. You will notice that the chocolate will start to melt the caramel. Just keep working quickly and transfer the apple back onto the 1/2 sheet pan.
Repeat with the remaining apples and place pan into fridge for a minute or two to lightly set the chocolate. Remove from fridge. Holding the apple by the stick roll/press it into the wasabi peas and/or almonds going all around the sides, about half way up the apple. Repeat with remaining apples. When finished, place the apples back into the fridge for another 20-30 minutes.
While the apples are chilling, melt the dark chocolate melts in the top bowl of the double boiler (or use the microwave) until smooth and melted. I poured the melted chocolate into a large squeeze bottle to drizzle over the tops of the apples but you could easily just use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the apples.
Remove apples from the fridge and drizzle the dark chocolate over the tops of the apples letting it run down the sides of the apple. Sprinkle chocolate with remaining crushed wasabi peas and almonds. Place apples back into the fridge to chill completely.
When apples are finished chilling you can either serve them (they cut easier when left out to room temperature for a little while) or you can bag them up for gift giving or party favors. I made a “leaf” tag for my apples and tied each bag with a bright orange ribbon. For even more tips and ideas for caramel apples check out this great site: King Arthur Bakers. Whatever flavors you decide to use, everyone will love these caramel apples!