1/4 - 1/2cupmilk(this makes the caramel creamy like a dip). More or less to your desired
1tbsppure vanilla extract
Optional Topping Ideas
mini toffee bits
toasted Coconut shreds
toasted crushed peanuts
toasted Almond slivers
toasted pecan pieces
peanut butter, thinned out slightly with water
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.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is sourced from the USDA Food Database.