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October is National Caramel Month

What Pete Says

Put an extra smile on the face of those you love by making some special autumn treats this month.

If you didn’t think it was possible to make brownies even more delicious give this caramel-drizzled brownie recipe a try.

To make Salted Caramel Brownies: in a bowl, stir together 2/3 cup of dulce de leche and 2 TBS. of milk; reserve. Prepare 1 box of your favorite brownie mix per directions; add ½ cup chopped almonds (optional). Spread batter in an *” pan lined with greased foil. Bake 30 minutes at 350 F or until toothpick inserted comes out clean; let cool. Cut into squares; top with dulce de leche mixture and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Fall doesn’t seem complete without biting into a crispy, gooey homemade caramel apple. Making real homemade caramel apples taste so much better than if you melted down caramel candies and the scent of caramel wafting through your kitchen just makes it feel like autumn has arrived. 

To make Real Homemade Caramel Apples

You will need 8-9 small to medium size apples that are a bit tart; such as Granny Smith apples with no soft spots. Wash and dry apples to remove the wax coating which will prevent the caramel from sticking to the apple. Place apples in refrigerator to chill. Remove the stem and insert apple sticks about ¾ down into the apple. Line a large baking sheet with silicone baking mat or grease the pan with butter.

1 ¾ cup Heavy Cream: Heavy cream/heavy whipping cream is the base for caramel. 

1 cup Light Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is liquid sugar made from corn. Corn syrup is required as it acts as the sticky, taffy-like base for caramel apples. Without it, the caramel will slide right off the apple.

2 cups Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is softer and more flavorful than regular white sugar.

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter at room temperature: Butter adds unbeatable flavor and a desirably soft texture.

½ teaspoon Salt & ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract: Both ingredients add incredible flavor. Add the vanilla extract after you remove the cooked caramel from heat.

Make the caramel: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Do not turn the temperature up or down– keep at medium the entire time the caramel cooks. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted. Once melted, brush down the sides of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush and attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure the bulb is not touching the bottom of the pan (as you’ll get an inaccurate reading).

Without stirring, let the mixture cook and bubble until it reaches 235°F (113°C). Some readers have been cooking to 240°F (116°C) and saying the caramel sticks much better to the apples that way. Stick with anywhere between 235°F – 240°F. Reaching this temperature should take about 15 – 20 minutes, though don’t use time as your guide because it depends on your stove. Don’t be alarmed if your caramel is taking longer, just use the candy thermometer as your guide. The temperature will heat up slowly, then move quickly, so keep your eye on the pot. Once at 235°F – 240°F, remove caramel from heat and stir in the vanilla. Avoid over-stirring which can create air bubbles in the caramel (and then on the apple). Allow caramel to cool for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. If caramel is too thin to coat apples, let it cool and thicken for 5-10 minutes longer.

Dip the apples: Holding the caramel apple stick, dip the apple into the warm caramel, tilting the pot as needed to coat all sides of the apple. Lift the apple up and swirl it around or gently tap it against the side of the pot to let excess caramel drip off. Place coated apple on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining apples. Enjoy immediately or allow caramel to set, about 45-60 minutes. 

Immediately after coating in caramel and before the caramel sets you can add toppings.

For displaying or serving, place on wax paper or another nonstick surface. Even when the caramel has completely set, caramel apples may slightly stick to a serving dish. To eat a caramel apple, you can bite right into it or sit it upright on a cutting board and cut slices around the stick. (Or pull out the stick and slice.) These are great for sharing!

Loosely cover and store the leftover dipped apples in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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