Hello loyal readers, how goes it?
I wanted to take a little bit of space to thank you for following my blog. It makes a girl feel quite special to know that her goofy piles of nonsense might be somewhat entertaining! I feel like such a nerd but I get such a jolt when I see my follower number slowly rising, so thank you all, from the bottom of my blogger heart, for keeping me so electrified. I'd love for you to pass my link on to folks you know who might enjoy my shenanigans as well and don't forget to give me feedback on posts whenever you feel inclined!
Alright enough of this mushy stuff... onto my latest kitchen adventure! Ever since I wrote a post at work about making caramel apples from scratch I have been dying to try it myself. So last Wednesday I went straight to Kroger after work and picked up apples, sticks and toppings (coconut shavings, mini M&Ms and peanuts). You didn't think I was going to have PLAIN caramel apples did you? :) I didn't have much faith in myself to make the caramel from scratch so I was going to opt for melting the individually wrapped caramels. Guess what Sara... Kroger says NO. Seriously, I scoured that store for 20 minutes with zero luck only for them to tell me they didn't have any because they weren't in season. What the frack? What other season is known for caramel apples? Blurg... I was DETERMINED to make caramel apples (I NEEDED CARAMEL APPLES) so I tried out Target. Target says NO too... only they told me that because of the current state of the economy people were sticking to generic (cheap) candy for Halloween and weren't "splurging" on caramel. Awesome. I called Z to get the ingredients for made-from-scratch caramel and headed home to get my candy making on! I discovered something within my confectionery adventure... I LOVE MAKING CARAMEL. It was so much fun.. here's a little how to:
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk... I read that Eagle Brand is the best because it is one of the last brands to use whole milk. Not so good for your thighs but great for your sweet tooth!
- 2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 2 cups butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
This is the recipe that I used though there are numerous variations out there.
You also need a handy-dandy candy thermometer:
While I did plenty of reading on how to make the caramel, I also followed this helpful video:I got this one at Target for about $9. I decided it was worth the extra bucks just in case I had tons of fun making candy... which I did... therefore making this a great investment!
Before starting your caramel, be sure your apples and toppings are set. Wash and dry the apples, then skewer. Enough jibba-jabba, time for a photo recap of my home-made caramel!
Melt the brown sugar and butter over medium heat, constantly stirring, until combined.
Once the brown sugar and butter are completely combined stir in the sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup, continuously stirring. Once the mixture begins to bubble, attach the thermometer to the side of the pot. Be sure the bottom of the thermometer isn't touching the bottom of the pot.
I was worried when it started looking like this... but it's supposed to!
Stir, stir, stir stir until the thermometer reaches 248 degrees or a hard ball stage. My totally awesome thermometer is actually marked 'hard ball'. Yay.
Immediately remove from heat and stir, stir, stir in the vanilla extract. It will produce a super sizzle, which I learned from the above video is totally normal, but then calm down to a SMOOTH ooey gooey caramel! Now on to the dipping.
Two coconut, two peanut, one M&M, one perfect plain and...
The caramel got a little too cool by the time we went to dip this one... hence the mess.
We were so excited to dive into the apples once they cooled but we quickly found that the caramel was... ROCK SOLID. There was NO biting in to these apples. In fact, there wasn't even cracking into the caramel with a knife... which I tried. Completely distraught I snacked on a handful of mini M&M's and gave up for the night.
On Saturday I decided I just couldn't let the apples go to waste so I took a meat tenderizer to the caramel, hacked it to pieces and peeled it off the apples to start over. Quite the sight. I still had all the needed ingredients so I started over once again, with apples and toppings prepped. I did everything the same EXCEPT... I didn't let the caramel get to the "hard ball" stage. Instead I removed it from the heat at a "firm ball" stage and BOOM... perfect caramel for perfect caramel apples. I got a little overzealous with the photos but they are just so pretty and perfect:
YAY FOR SUCCESSFUL CARAMEL APPLES... even if it did take two tries!
Take that Kroger.
Until next time...