Caramel Apples at Home
Caramel apples are a classic fall staple; try caramel apples with toppings for a twist on a classic. There are a dozen different delicious toppings you can try to make your caramel apples a real treat. Some of our favorites? Chopped nuts, crushed pretzels, candy corn, chocolate chips, sea salt, mini marshmallows, crushed graham crackers, or your favorite candy! (We’ve included a list of our top ten favorite caramel apple toppings below, though it was hard to narrow them down!) If you’re hosting a fall dinner or party, create a bar for caramel apples with toppings. Set out everyone’s favorite toppings in glass bowls or on plates, and let guests dip their own caramel apples to make their perfect dessert.
6-8 apples, washed and patted dry
6-8 popsicle sticks
4 11 oz. packages of caramel melts
1 1/2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Toppings if desired
- Wash your apples and give them a good rub with a dishtowel; sometimes, the wax coating on apples can prevent the caramel from sticking the way it needs to.
- Insert the popsicle sticks into the clean, dry apples and set aside.
- In a double boiler or a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the caramels and cream. (Keep reading to learn how to melt caramel in a double boiler!) Add vanilla, stirring until fully melted and smooth.
- Dip each apple into the hot caramel mixture; turn to coat. Immediately dip the bottom of the apples into your preferred toppings; you only have about 30 seconds before the caramel will start to set. Place on greased waxed paper and put into the refrigerator until set. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to dig in!
Yields 6-8 apples.
Our 15 Favorite Caramel Apple Toppings
- Chopped nuts
- Crushed Oreos
- Crushed pretzels
- Candy corn
- Chocolate chips
- Sea Salt
- Toffee bits
- Reese’s pieces
- Chopped Snickers
- Mini marshmallows
- Crushed graham crackers
- Gummy bears
- Cinnamon candies
Looking to get even more adventurous? Try combining toppings together for fun flavor combinations.
- Sea salt + chocolate chips + crushed pecans = Turtle
- Crushed graham crackers + chocolate chips + mini marshmallows = S’mores
- Peanut butter chips + M&Ms + chocolate chips = Monster Cookies
- Chocolate chips + peanuts + marshmallows = Rocky Road
- Sea salt + plain popcorn = Caramel Popcorn
How to Melt Caramel in a Double Boiler
First, pick the right caramel. You can use packages of individual blocks wrapped in plastic, which are usually the cheapest, but also the most time consuming since you have to unwrap every caramel. You can also use caramel bits, which look like little balls of caramel. They cost a little more, but don’t require you to unwrap every individual caramel. Have some extra time or a few helpers? Wrapped caramels are a great choice. Just want to get straight to melting the caramel? The bits may be your best bet.
Next, prepare your double boiler. Why do you need to use a double boiler to melt caramel instead of just using a saucepan? It comes down to taste: caramel can scorch over direct heat, which makes for pretty gross caramel apples. A double boiler is basically two saucepans, one nestled on top of the other one. The stove burner will heat the water in the first saucepan, which will indirectly heat the caramel in the second saucepan above it. Fill the bottom pan about halfway with water and start heating over medium-high heat. When the water starts boiling, reduce to a simmer.
Add the caramels and some heavy cream. This gives your caramel a softer texture and a creamier flavor than if you left the caramel plain. You can also add water or milk–but we recommend cream for this recipe!
Stir the caramels until they’re smooth. We also like adding a teaspoon of vanilla for a better flavor. Once the caramels are fully melted, you’re ready to make some caramel apples with toppings!