Halloween—and, by default, October—is more about the treats than the tricks. And the perfect combination of holiday sweetness and fall wholesomeness is the caramel apple. Get into the spirit of the season by stuffing and rolling caramel apples in a classic peanut butter–chocolate combo.
What to buy:
—A reliable candy/fat thermometer is crucial for getting an accurate read on the caramel. We like this thermometer from CDN.
—The crunchy texture and spicy-sweet flavor of Braeburn apples work nicely with this particular caramel apple combination. But feel free to substitute any locally grown apple with the same characteristics.
— Craft sticks give these apples an authentic state-fair feel. Look for them next to the apples in the produce section of the grocery store or order them online. If you can’t find them, chopsticks will work in a pinch.
Game plan: You’ll have a bit of caramel left after dipping the apples, so try making some soft caramels with the excess. To do so, pour the remaining caramel into a parchment-lined, 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and, if desired, sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit at room temperature until it’s set. Remove the caramel from the pan and cut it into 1-inch pieces.
Peanut Butter–Chocolate Caramel Apples with Honey Peanuts Recipe
For the apples:
8 large Braeburn apples, at room temperature
Peanut Butter–Chocolate Ganache, at room temperature
8 chopsticks or craft sticks
For the coating:
2 cups honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Instructions for the apples:
1. Wash the apples under hot water to remove any wax coating, and dry thoroughly. Starting on the bottom, core the apples with the smaller scoop of a melon baller. Reserve the bottom “plugs” of the apples. Continue coring up to the top inch of the apples (you just want all the seeds removed). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
2. Stuff the apples with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the ganache, then close with the reserved apple plugs to seal. Push the sticks through the stem ends of the apples, and set the apples on the baking sheet.
For the coating:
1. Place peanuts in a shallow dish; set aside. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until mixture registers 250°F on a candy thermometer, about 10 to 15 minutes. Immediately dip the bottom of the saucepan in the ice water bath and let it chill until the bubbles have subsided, about 1 minute. Stir until stiff caramel from the bottom is incorporated into the warm caramel on top. Remove from the water bath.
3. Dip the stuffed apples one at a time into the caramel, rotating once to coat 3/4 of the way up the sides. Lift each apple straight up from the caramel, letting the excess drip back into the pot until the drips have slowed, about 10 to 15 seconds.
4. Roll the apple in the peanuts, and hold upright for 10 to 15 seconds. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining apples. (If the caramel gets too hard to coat the apples well, set the pan over low heat and rewarm, stirring constantly, until the caramel is loose and pourable.)
5. Refrigerate the apples until set, at least 10 minutes. The apples can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance.