Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gourmet Chocolate Caramel Apples

This is Definitely a tricky one to post. Alot of this recipe is common sense your judgment of consistancy and texture.  I will update this recipe with more details and pics of step by steps. Most times I make these I am doing it by myself and it generally takes two hands, taking pictures of the apples in action is a challenge!.

4 Large Apples (use your favorite - I love the kick of the granny smiths with the chocolate)
2 blocks of chocolate of your choice (milk, dark, or white)
Drizzle chocolate or chips of your choice. I particularly love the butterscotch flavored chips with the apple and chocolate flavors
2 bags of Caramels.
2 TBSP shortening (more for your drizzling topping)
2 TSP Whole  Milk (full cream milk)
Parchment Paper
Popsicle Sticks (paddle pop sticks). Try to get good quality ones as the cheaper ones will not be able to handle the weight of the apples when you are dipping.

Preparation: This preparation is important. So many times I am asked the same question - "how do you get the caramel not to just slide off the apple" here are some prep tips that will almost guarantee you success.
1. Scrub you apples with as hot water as possible and rub dry vigorously. This will remove as much of the shiney, slidey wax as possible.
2. Chill your apples overnight. - Simply chilling them until they are cool to touch is not enough. You want the coolness to keep radiating from inside the apple so keep them chilling all night long. This will ensure your coatings set faster.(also chilling your cookie sheet/tray will also help)
3. This is best done in a cool environment.. if you are in the middle of summer try to do this in an area with air conditioning.. when I do this in the winter I usually prop a window open. The chilled air can be your best buddy when setting caramel on apples.

Directions For The Caramel Apple:
Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet or tray. Spray lightly with non stick cooking spray.
Unwrap all your caramels and place in a large microwavable bowl. Add milk and microwave 1 1/2 minutes, stir and place back in teh microwave removing every minute to stir and make sure it is not burning. When caramel is smooth runny consistancy it is ready to be used.
Remove only the apple you are working on from the fridge at one time. That helps the other apples remain as chilled as possible.
Place your stick firmly into top of the apple.
Tilting the bowl of caramel slightly dip your apple in and rotate it around until it is completely coated. By not letting your apple rub along the sides of the bowl as you turn it you will have prettier more evenly coated apples.
pull it out and rotate your apple over the bowl to let excess drip off.
Gradually as you see the caramel stiffening on the apple start rotating it slowly so it will continue to cool with as much of the caramel on as possible. Sometimes holding your apple in by your freezer vent or by a cool breeze while turning slowly will help. Taking your time with the apples this way makes it so that you dn't have puddles of caramel form on your tray. I like to think of it as lava. Cool it down and eventually it will stop moving.
Place it carefully on your tray . Don't squish it down just let the apple and caramel set it's own standing position.
Repeat with all apples, making more caramel sauce as needed if you run out.
Refridgerate over-night for completely set apples.

Directions For the Chocolate Apple:
As before your apples need to be completely chilled before embarking on the next step. Thankfully the chocolate cools alot faster and quicker than the caramel.
Prepare your chocolate by heating it over a double boiler set up. boil water in a pot and place a bowl with your chocolate on top of it making sure it does not touch the water. This will ensure even heating. Add your shortening. Stir the chocolate when needed, keep a close eye on it.
When completely smooth and runny remove from heat.
Remove one apple at a time from the fridge.  Like with the Caramel dip the apple in until it is completely coated (without touching the sides of the bowl), letting remaining chocolate drip off. As chocolate drip slows start to rotate it slowly to help with the even spread and setting. If you want to add toppings such as crushed Oreos, toffee bits, nuts (Whatever candy bar takes your fancy really.. you just need to chop them pretty small) then now is the time to apply them. It is best if you scoop it in one hand and holding the apple in your other press it into the chocolate. If you do this too early it will all just slide off.
When chocolate lookes stable place it on the tray to cool until it is set.
Continue with remaining apples.

The Final Drizzle Touch:
If you aren't sick of your apples yet then go ahead and once the chocolate coating is firm you can put on the drizzle.  Mix either another batch of different coloured chocolate or melts. I really LOVE the butterscotch melts on my apples. The flavor combo is great. Mix and heat it with Shortening like you did the chocolate. (The shortening allows it to set fast and hard and also gets is runny)
using a spoon or fork---PREPARE TO GET MESSY!-------
Coat your utensil and then start flicking it over the apple. More you flick the thinner your drizzle marks will be so don't be shy or afraid of the mess, just go for it. I like to flick in one diagonal direction, and then go the opposite direction over the top to make a fun criss cross pattern.
Feel free to experiment with different flavor combinations of your choice.

These apples are a bit of work and preparation, but they are so delicious, in the end it is all worth it!

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