Thursday, December 31, 2009

White Chocolate Caramel Apples (or Pears)

After many years of failed efforts at making caramel apples, in the fall of 2006 I finally found the secret that makes it work. I've shared this with friends, done demos for Relief Society, and made these many times. I had the idea to use pears after seeing white chocolate covered pears on Martha Stewart. Meant to be Halloween ghosts, they were cute, but the chocolate cracked right off when you cut them up to eat. I figured the caramel would help hold things together, so I tried it. Amazing flavor, and you won't find them anywhere else. You want a pear that's not quite ripe, otherwise the stick just comes right back out, and you won't have anything to hold on to while you dip it.

The big secret is simple: dip the fruit in boiling water for about 10 seconds. This removes any waxes or other residue, and the caramel is guaranteed to stick.
I can't recall where I ran across this valuable nugget of information, but it wasn't on Martha.

So, here it is, my personal recipe/directions for making your own gourmet caramel apples/pears.

4 Granny Smith apples, or 4 D'Anjou pears
4 sticks (usually included in bag of caramels)
small saucepan of boiling water
1 14 oz bag of Kraft caramels (about 50) or 11 oz bag of caramel bits
1 Tbl water
microwave-safe bowl
Waxed paper
Butter for waxed paper
cookie sheet
2 Tbl sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
12 oz bag Nestle Premier white chocolate chips
2 Tbl shortening

Prepare fruit by washing thoroughly and inserting stick. Then dip in boiling water for about 10 seconds, and allow to dry. This removes all residues and waxes from the fruit, which allows the caramel to stick. (this will also discolor the fruit a little, so make sure the top part that will not be covered in caramel is not dipped in the water, to maintain a nice appearance)
Unwrap all the caramels and put in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1 Tbl water (use a little more water if not using Kraft caramels). Microwave on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Caramels will not all look melted;
stir to complete melting.
You can microwave for 30 seconds more if needed, but it’s important not to overcook.

Dip and swirl fruit in melted caramel until evenly coated, and set on buttered waxed paper (placed on a cookie sheet, so you can move it if you need to, or on your counter if you don't) to cool.
It should take at least ½ hour to set up enough to dip in chocolate. (You can set up faster if you place your cookie sheet on top of ice or other frozen stuff. I have a serving platter with an insert you freeze to help keep the platter cold on a buffet, and I use that under my cookie sheet) You'll know it's set up enough when you can touch it without it sticking to your fingers.

(if you have some extra caramel, but not enough to cover another apple, or you didn't prep another apple, scoop up caramel with a pretzel, set another pretzel on top of that. yum.)

Mix together 2 Tbl sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Place white chocolate chips and 2 Tbl shortening in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 ½ min. Not all the chips will look melted;
stir to complete melting.

Dip and swirl carameled fruit in chocolate until evenly coated.
Hold over bowl and swirl to allow excess to drip off.

Dip and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture, and/or hold fruit over bowl and spoon/shake cinnamon sugar onto fruit. This is a little messy, because the chocolate will still be dripping a little, but you have to do it before the chocolate sets up, or the cinnamon sugar won’t stick. I discovered that if I put some in the bowl, to set the fruit on, and some in a shaker, to sprinkle over, it's a little less mess. You'll have some cinnamon sugar coated white chocolate drips in the bowl - but that's okay, because they're a tasty treat once they set up.

Set back on waxed paper and allow chocolate to harden before serving.
Granny Smith apples have a tart flavor that I think goes nice with the sweetness of the white chocolate. Fuji are sweeter, and seem to go better with milk or dark chocolate. You can use any kind of apples, as long as they are crisp and fresh.

Substitute regular or dark chocolate chips for a different look and flavor, drizzle more melted chocolate over the first coating, or double or triple dip the fruit in different layers of chocolate. Use crushed cookies, chopped nuts, crushed candy bars, or sprinkles instead of cinnamon sugar.


Anonymous said...

you mentioned not boiling the top part of the apple because it will be seen....I am confused. I am trying to remember the last time i had a dipped apple...Which end do I stick the stick in, and why is there a part of the apple that will be showing? This is cumorah btw--i can't figure out how to leave a note using my google account, oh well

bookette said...

put the stick in the top, by the stem. that part will not get totally covered with caramel, since you don't want to eat the stem. basically, you'll dip the apple in the boiling water same as you'll later dip in the caramel. if you take off the stem and scrub that top bit, you could totally immerse the whole thing. hope that makes sense.

Liz said...

Hey Laurel. I am going to feature you on our blog ziggyfoods.blogspot Becky was just asking how to make these. I told her I knew the perfect person to teach us. Thanks for sharing!