There’s only one season we love more than Spring around my house, and that’s Fall. Summer has been so hot that we have actually been looking forward to the end of Summer, hoping for a break from the heat and looking forward to the chance for some cooler temperatures. The summer heat has been oppressive and kept us in the house a lot. Seriously, some days it was just too hot even for the pool which seems silly but the sun was unbearable this year! So to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of our Fall apple picking season, we’re kicking it off with a DIY Caramel Apple Bar. Could it be any more delicious? We didn’t think so!
These apple bites are the perfect way to enjoy dipped apples and are much easier to handle for kids and adults alike. For me, I enjoy the endless flavor combinations we can create and it’s far less time consuming than dipping traditional apples – for our Autumn parties and Halloween.
We used an apple slicer to cut and core the apples and arranged them around a platter. You could use wooden skewers, candy sticks or fondue forks depending on your age group of your party. Keep in mind the pointy edge of the skewers and fondue sticks with smaller children can be dangerous and adult supervision or assistance is needed for those varieties. We made our caramel from scratch, but you could use a jarred variety if you prefer. Since we are eating the skins for this recipe, we purchased organic apples. No matter what variety of apple you purchase, organic or not, remember to wash and dry your apples before you use them – I use an apple cider vinegar rinse 1:1 with water. If I have a large batch of apples, I fill the sink and soak them all at once. Then I carefully dry each one.
Let’s talk toppings. You can use just about any topping your heart desires. You could choose to use all healthy ingredients or a blend of toppings – it’s up to you. Everything in moderation I say. The kids and adults alike love this festive DIY candy apple bar, and it was a fun way to relax and connect. With the start of Fall entertaining, I’m positive these will make an excellent addition to our buffet and will be a welcomed addition to any potluck. The flavors are up to you so get creative, but most of all get out there and connect with your family and friends around the campfire with this Fall treat.
DIY Caramel Apple Bar
DIY Caramel Apple Bar Author: Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming DIY Caramel Apple Bar is a fun and festive way to enjoy caramel apples with less of the work!
- 2 lbs Apples, any variety
- For the Caramel Dip
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 can (15-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 stick (8 tbsp) butter
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup milk (this makes the caramel creamy like a dip). More or less to your desired
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- Optional Topping Ideas
- mini toffee bits
- mini marshmallows
- mini chocolates
- mini M&M
- toasted Coconut shreds
- toasted crushed peanuts
- toasted Almond slivers
- toasted pecan pieces
- peanut butter, thinned out slightly with water
- pretzel pieces
- Ahead of the party, make your caramel dip. It will need a few hours to cool.
- To make the caramel: Add the corn syrup, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk, and butter into a small sauce pan. With a candy thermometer, cook the caramel until it reaches 240°F (soft ball stage). If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can drop a bit of the caramel into ice water. If it forms a soft ball, you are at the right stage. If it is harder than you desire, add a touch more milk at the end - as it's the cream that determines the consistency of the caramel. Ince it's done, I usually allow it to cool slightly before pouring into either a buttered 8" x 8" pan to cool completely or a serving dish. Set aside and allow to cool - usually at least 2 hours.
- At serving time: Wash and dry the apples and set aside. I cut mine just before serving to prevent browning.
- Create the toppings bar. I like to use two 6-well muffin tins. It's perfect to carry and contain the toppings. If you have fewer than six ingredients, use one. Obviously, if you have more than six, use two.
- Slice and core the apples. If using, insert candy sticks into the bottom or each apple wedge and arrange them on a platter.
FAQ: I have not made caramel without the use of a candy thermometer. I have read how to tell the difference over the years in publication and have added those notes into the recipe. A meat thermometer will not work in place of a candy thermometer for this recipe.The cream determines the softness of the caramel. If you pass your endpoint and realize this after it's set, I have had luck in reheating the caramel and adding more cream.The Corn syrup is used so the sugar doesn't crystallize. It cannot be omitted in this but can be substituted. Honey, pure maple syrup or rice syrup would work well - though I have not tried these variations.
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