Monday, October 17, 2011

Inside Out Caramel Apple Slices

So Fall is the time for the apple harvest, which means that they are plentiful and inexpensive right now.  It's also time for all the wonderful State Fair activities - and "fair food!"  The caramel apples are a common sighting, but so are half eaten leftover apples on the poor sticks.  The kids (and grown ups) seem to be more interested in the outer part with the caramel than the rest.  Well this treat takes care of that by putting the gooey caramel layer in the middle!

Here is a video tutorial:
 
Ingredients:
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Chocolate sauce (optional)
 Apple Prep:
 
 Get the lemon cut before you start!

Cut the apples in half.  Use an apple corer to remove the seeds and pulp, leaving about ¼ inch around the edges. 
*The stem end is the trickiest because if you take out too much, there will be a hole in the apple.  
Squeeze a lemon over the cut apples to prevent browning.  Allow the acid to sit on the apples for a while.

Caramel:
In a small sauce pan, add the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and corn syrup on high heat. Stir only until the brown sugar has dissolved. Then leave it to boil, untouched (don’t stir), until it reaches 230 degrees, about 7-10 minutes. I use a candy thermometer for this, because there is absolutely NO way I would know how hot it is.  Remove caramel from heat and add the vanilla, stir until it stops bubbling. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Step by Step:
Add the brown sugar.  I recommend light brown sugar.  It has a softer "taste" than the darker caramel produced with the dark brown sugar. 
In a small sauce pan, add the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and corn syrup on high heat.
 
Tip* If you spray the measuring spoon with non-stick spray first, the corn syrup will just slide right out.  This way you won't waste a drop of it that would otherwise stick to the spoon.
 corn syrup...
 vanilla...


Stir only until the brown sugar has dissolved.
Then leave it to boil, untouched (don’t stir), until it reaches 230 degrees, about 7-10 minutes. I use a candy thermometer for this, because there is absolutely NO way I would know how hot it is. 

Remove caramel from heat and add the vanilla, stir until it stops bubbling. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Using a paper towel, wipe your apples down, removing the lemon juice as much as possible. If the inside of your apple is too wet, the caramel won’t stick. This is a VERY important step.
 
Pour the caramel into the hollowed out apples until just below the top, and sprinkle with pecans.
 Chill in the refrigerator until the caramel has set, at least a half hour.
 
Cut into slices and drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired. I recommend cutting them just prior to serving.
 Food Notes:
  • I experimented with a Fuji apple as well here for the color variation.  The Granny Smith apples did work the best.  They have a firmer, crisper flesh that won't get "soggy'ish" and the tartness compliments the sweet caramel better.
  • Also, I still didn't get all of the liquid lemon juice out of the apples and the caramel was sliding around a bit, so be SURE you get them really dry.
  • I recommend chilling them as halves and slicing them just prior to serving, as you will still have a freshly cut "edge" that can oxidize and brown.
  • I think it's fair to say that you could take a further shortcut by using the pre-made caramels that come in the bag in little cubes.  You could melt them down with a little heavy cream and use that as a filling.
 

Written Method:

 Get the lemon cut before you start!

Cut the apples in half.  Use an apple corer to remove the seeds and pulp, leaving about ¼ inch around the edges. 

*The stem end is the trickiest because if you take out too much, there will be a hole in the apple.  

Squeeze a lemon over the cut apples to prevent browning.  Allow the acid to sit on the apples for a while.

Caramel:
In a small sauce pan, add the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and corn syrup on high heat. Stir only until the brown sugar has dissolved. Then leave it to boil, untouched (don’t stir), until it reaches 230 degrees, about 7-10 minutes. I use a candy thermometer for this, because there is absolutely NO way I would know how hot it is.  Remove caramel from heat and add the vanilla, stir until it stops bubbling. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Step by Step:

Add the brown sugar.  I recommend light brown sugar.  It has a softer "taste" than the darker caramel produced with the dark brown sugar. 

In a small sauce pan, add the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and corn syrup on high heat.

Tip* If you spray the measuring spoon with non-stick spray first, the corn syrup will just slide right out.  This way you won't waste a drop of it that would otherwise stick to the spoon.

 corn syrup...

 vanilla...

Stir only until the brown sugar has dissolved.

Then leave it to boil, untouched (don’t stir), until it reaches 230 degrees, about 7-10 minutes. I use a candy thermometer for this, because there is absolutely NO way I would know how hot it is. 

Remove caramel from heat and add the vanilla, stir until it stops bubbling. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Using a paper towel, wipe your apples down, removing the lemon juice as much as possible. If the inside of your apple is too wet, the caramel won’t stick. This is a VERY important step.

Pour the caramel into the hollowed out apples until just below the top, and sprinkle with pecans.
 
 Chill in the refrigerator until the caramel has set, at least a half hour.

Cut into slices and drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired. I recommend cutting them just prior to serving.

Food Nerd Notes:
Caramel is a beige to dark-brown confection made by heating any of a variety of sugars. It is used as a flavoring in puddings and desserts, and as a topping for ice cream, custard and coffee.

The process of caramelization consists of heating sugar slowly to around 340 degrees F.  As the sugar heats, the molecules break down and re-form into compounds with a characteristic color and flavor.

Most linguists trace the origin of the word to Medieval Latin "cannamellis" (sugar cane) or to Latin "callamellus" (little reed, referring to sugar cane).

4 comments:

  1. I love these apples! And I find the step by step instructions very helpful. I was always intimidated by caramel, but now I think you helped me get over that fear :-), it looks pretty simple. And I bet these apples taste delicious! And what an original inside-out approach :-). Thank you for sharing and have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! We had so much fun making..and eating.. these. Definitely not as hard as you might think. This is one dish where even the "mess ups" taste great!

      Delete
  2. I think this is the most helpful recipe ever!!! I sure wish every recipe was this simple!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! I try to make my recipes very user friendly for folks who have limited kitchen confidence. I appreciate you stopping by! :)

      Delete

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest