We live near an area called Apple Hill, and the many farms that pepper the foothills officially kick off the season in October. Streams of cars from the city weave their way up the highway on the weekends to visit the farms, each of which offer different apple desserts. Kerry says it doesn’t feel like fall until he has his favorite apple donuts made to order while you wait, so they can be eaten hot from a brown paper bag. Mmmmm.
So, on our annual trek, I picked up a peck of Pink Ladies, a really crunchy sweet-tart apple. Perfect for caramel apples. I always dip my caramel apples in dark chocolate and roll them in salted peanuts, as you can see on the left, but this year I had a request from the peanut gallery. Skor Bars! I chopped them up, combined them with the peanuts and studded the apples with the mixture. Wow!
I used Skor Bars because they’re harder and crunchier than Heath Bars. But, of course, if you like a softer toffee, feel free to use Heath instead. They’re equally good on the scrummy scale.
This recipe makes quite a few large caramel apples, so I like to share them. The day after I made these, we had to pick up our wines from our wine club, so I thought I’d surprise our friends, Randy and Tina Rossi, who are the owners of Saluti Cellars in Somerset, California. If you’re ever go wine tasting in the area, please visit them. Their vineyard and winery is absolutely postcard beautiful with neatly manicured lawns, serene pond, and rolling hills of grapes. It’s no wonder many weddings are held there. And their wines? Well, we have been known to buy cases at a time from them, so yes, they have outstanding wines. Gale has even labeled their Estate Syrah as “jewelry.” It’s that special. Anyway, I hope they found their Chocolatey Caramel Apples with Toffee Crunch special too!
15 apples, washed, dried with stems removed
15 wooden apple sticks or apple skewers
2 pkgs. Wilton’s Dark Chocolate Candy Melts
about ½ cup of Wilton’s White Candy Melts
15 Skor Bars, rough chopped, but chunky
2½ cups peanuts, rough chopped
½ cup butter (not margarine)
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 – 14 oz. can condensed milk
Push the sticks into the apple tops and set aside. Combine the chopped Skor Bars and chopped peanuts in a shallow bowl and set aside.
Make the caramel. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat. Be careful not to burn it. Add the sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Add the condensed milk. Reduce heat to low/medium to maintain a soft boil. Stir constantly because at this stage, the caramel can burn easily. When the candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees Farenheit, or 115 degrees Celcius, remove from heat. Dip the apples in the caramel. I scrape some of the caramel off of the bottom of the apple on the side of the pan, so it won’t drip as you place it on a generously buttered cookie sheet.
Follow package directions for melting the chocolate in the microwave. I found using a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup is the perfect size container for dipping the apples. Dip each caramel apple, scraping off some of the chocolate from the bottom of the apple. Sprinkle the candy and peanut mixture on the bottom half of the apple. As you turn it, some of it falls off, so just keep turning the apple and press more mixture onto the chocolate. Set on cookie sheet to harden.
Melt the white candy melts in the microwave. Pour it into a small Ziploc bag. Seal it and cut off a tiny piece of one corner. Drizzle stripes all over the apples. Set aside to harden.
*Note: In the picture, I slipped a striped straw over the wooden stick.
Recipe by Pearl