I really don't care if that is a word or not. Just had to say that up front!
I know, I know, there are people who actually think you can take a circle of caramel called a Wrapple, awkwardly press it around an apple and call it good. Eat it even.
NO WAY! we stand in defiance against such an artificial attempt at creating a caramel apple.
In this family, we take caramel apples very seriously. Got to be the real thing, baby! I mean, accept no substitutes and power on. Ya gotta know the good stuff! It takes sacrifice, hard work, and dedication to get the perfect caramel apple.
First, the season has to be right. So you can just forget summer caramel apples, spring, or anything besides a brisk fall day. And its okay if some snow has fallen, but if you are into November or Christmas cards have started to arrive, you missed your shot. Too late, its like wearing white shoes after labor day or something. I dunno. But just don't do it. As my favorite line from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang goes..."Too late, had your chance-muffed it!"
So, if you have your season right, now its on to the perfect thing to put into your shopping cart. Choose beautiful shiny apples. Don't even think about Red Delicious (which are red but never delicious) and Goldens are out. Granny Smith could be acceptable but why lower your standards if you have something really good to grab...like my personal favorite, the Honey Crisp. Or the Pink Lady but the Honey Crisp just sounds like a foundation of a special treat. Its got it all-the gorgeous red/green color, the juicy sweet but not too sweet taste, and the perfect name to boot.
Move on down the aisles. Time to get your caramel. Now to my mind a caramel apple is not fit to eat if you did not spend a minimum of 20 minutes just peeling candy wrapper by wrapper and putting them into a bowl. For pure perfection, you would have wrappers everywhere...on the floor, on the counter, in your hair, and possibly even be finding them for weeks here and there.
The bag of caramels (we prefer Kraft) should come with sticks. We always buy two bags, because there is nothing worse than having naked and neglected apples left to sit there wondering why some of their friends are now coated in yummy caramel, while they have to sit nude and rejected. So as you can see, extra caramel is just fine and running out may incite a riot. :)
Once home, wash and dry your apples, and peel wrappers off caramels. Put the lovely brown squares of candy in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water. Melt on stove slowly....stir often and do not let scorch.
Once smooth, put a stick in each apple and hold apple over the pan. Use a spoon to drizzle the caramel over each apple until completely coated. DO NOT leave even a smidgen of apple showing without caramel. I will be ashamed of you for life, plus I guarantee that poor apple will be eaten DEAD LAST. Don't say you have not been warned. Cover every bitty bit of skin.
Transfer covered apple to plate covered with wax paper. Allow some of the caramel to drip from the apple onto the counter. If you don't get the whole kitchen sticky you are letting me down. Leave a generous trail of brown yummy gloppyness. (don't get me started on words again! I thought we went over that)
Once you have every apple on the plate, put the whole beautiful thing in the fridge for one hour to harden. Set the timer so the children are not opening the fridge every five minutes, firmly pressing their already sticky fingers into each apple to "test" it.
(Oh, and don't forget that once the children are tucked in bed you can sneak back to the stove and eat the leftover caramel in the pot using a spoon and a seared conscience)