Better Than Ever: Spiced Muscovado Caramel Apples

12 servings

Making the caramel requires the use of a candy thermometer. Test it for accuracy before starting. Attach it to the side of a medium sized saucepan of water and boil the water for three minutes. The thermometer should register 212°F. If it doesn’t, then either calibrate it or take the difference into account when reading the temperature.

1-pound dark brown unrefined Muscovado sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 drop Cinnamon Essential Oil
2 drops Orange Essential Oil
6 Tbsp water
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 popsicle sticks
12 medium organic apples (I.e. Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala)
Chopped nuts {or seeds}(optional) *
Melted dark, milk and/or white chocolates
Whipping Cream (if needed)

*My son has a potentially life threatening peanut and tree nut allergy, so instead of using nuts we will be chopping up a mix of raw green pumpkin seeds and tamari seasoned pumpkin seeds and using them to garnish.

Combine first 7 ingredients in heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan (about 3 inches deep). Stir with wooden spatula or spoon over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves (no crystals are felt when caramel is rubbed between fingers), occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. This takes about 15 minutes.

Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook caramel at rolling boil until thermometer registers 236°F, stirring constantly but slowly with clean wooden spatula and occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. One minute prior to removing caramel from heat, add the essential oils. Remove caramel from heat. Keeping the thermometer in the caramel to monitor, cool, without stirring, to 200°F which will take about 20 minutes.

While caramel cools, line 2 baking sheets with foil; butter the foil or use waxed paper to line the baking sheets. Push 1 popsicle stick into stem end of each apple. Set up nuts and melted chocolates if you’ll be using them to decorate also.

Holding the popsicle stick, dip 1 apple into 200°F caramel, submerging all but very top of apple. Lift apple out, allowing excess caramel to drip back into bowl. Turn apple caramel side up and hold for several seconds to help set caramel around apple. Place coated apple on prepared foil (or waxed paper). Repeat with remaining apples and caramel, spacing apples apart (caramel will pool on foil). If caramel becomes too thick to dip into, add 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream and briefly whisk caramel in bowl over low heat to thin.

Chill apples on sheets until caramel is partially set, about 15 minutes. Lift 1 apple from foil (waxed paper). Using hand, press pooled caramel around apple; return to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining apples.

Firmly press seeds/nuts into caramel; return each apple to baking sheet. Or dip caramel-coated apples into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off, then roll in nuts or drizzle melted chocolate over caramel-coated apples and sprinkle with decorations.

Chill until decorations are set, about 1 hour. Cover; chill up to 1 week.

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