Butter Late Than Never: No, I don’t like them apples
November 14, 2016
This story is the third installment of “Butter Late Than Never,” a series where Rachel Ayotte explores cooking as a college student.
Guys, this one did not turn out well (despite this edited, well-positioned and misleading Instagram photo). I know you all have been thoroughly impressed by my “culinary talents” and the victories I have claimed over boxed cake mix and cheesy chicken.
But sadly, this recipe bested me. This “easy fall treat” (or so Pinterest claims) took a part of my soul, stabbed it with a lollipop stick and dipped it into scalding hot caramel and rainbow sprinkles.
When I picked this mini caramel apple recipe I figured, “what could possibly be easier than sticking a piece of an apple into fun toppings!?”
The answer: EVERYTHING.
Hot caramel, first off, is Satan’s syrup. If you don’t torch your hands or fingers or lose a layer of skin while dipping your apples into the caramel, you’re doing something wrong (I have the scars to prove it).
If you think I’m being melodramatic, then yes, you are 100 percent right. Because truthfully, despite how disheveled and pathetic the end product looked, it actually tasted pretty freaking good. And nothing was more priceless than making this with my roommates who have equivalent cooking abilities to my own.
Even though the result was less than perfect, and almost every surface in our kitchen ended up with a brand new, molasses-like, caramel shellac (you’re welcome for the D.I.Y. home renovations Puffton Village) I would still recommend trying it out for fun if you’re bored or feel like shaving years off your life.
What you need:
- Low expectations (this one is crucial)
- A melon baller
- A large bag of caramel candies
- Heavy cream
- Granny Smith apples
- Lollipop sticks (can be found at the grocery store)
- Wax paper
- Bowl of ice cold water
- Various toppings (I used sprinkles, chocolate shavings, crushed pretzels and the salt from my tears)
Step 1. Skin the granny and ball out
Remove the apple skin with either a knife or a peeler. I initially intended to use a knife to get the job done. However — I know this may shock many of you — my knife skills are right on par with my cooking skills.
So I resorted to using a peeler instead.
Once the desired amount of apples have been properly skinned (I used three), use the melon baller to scoop out tiny balls and set them aside.
Step 2. Stick it
Once you have adequately melon ball mangled each apple, stick the lollipop sticks into each miniature ball.
Step 3. Get saucin’
Next, unwrap the caramel candies and put them into a small saucepan over low heat. Add a splash (yes, a splash) of heavy cream and stir until the consistency is that of syrup.
While waiting for that mixture to heat, dry each apple ball with a paper towel. This “allegedly” keeps the caramel from slipping off the apple once you dip it.
Fill a bowl with ice water and set it aside. Prepare a cookie sheet or plate with wax paper in the freezer for your apples.
Step 4. A farewell to all of your hopes and dreams
Now, friends, this is where things go downhill really fast. All of the previous steps seem easy or even fun. I know you’re all wondering how big of a moron I must be to not be able to make caramel apples, a basic white girl fall staple next to pumpkin spiced lattes and Ugg boots.
But before you judge me, know that this is the point at which things take a turn for the worst. It is at this exact moment that your soul will exit your body and descend into a caramelized hell.
In preparation, I suggest switching your Spotify playlist to “Songs That Get Drunk White Girls Excited.” Yes, this is a real playlist that exists. No, I did not make it. Yes, the musical throwbacks will numb the pain of your Pinterest failure because when you accidentally brand yourself with caramel, only the soothing sounds of Waka Flocka Flame will nurse you back to health.
Step 5. Why are you still following this recipe?
Once the caramel is properly warmed and stirred, take your dry apple ball and dip it into the sauce, covering the ball’s entire surface. Immediately dip the caramelized ball into the ice water to allegedly set the caramel so that it will not slide off. Then, once properly coated, dab the outer layer with a paper towel to remove the water.
Dip your apple into your desired topping and then quickly place your seemingly cute apple inside your freezer on top of a sheet of wax paper to harden. When I say quickly, I mean break out into a Usain Bolt sprint towards your refrigerator or you too will be scraping dried caramel off your floor with a butter knife.
Step 6. No seriously, quit while you’re ahead
The best part about this entire recipe is that at this step, while you think you have conquered the granny caramel demon, you will be less than thrilled to find that once you check back in the freezer to take a gander at all of your tireless efforts, you’ll find that your treats look astonishingly unattractive — cue the low expectations.
Although several blogs and recipes told me to dry the apples and use the ice water, the caramel will ultimately still fall off the apple once you place them in the freezer.
The final step? Sit woefully with your roommates and eat the disaster you have just conjured up. The sweetness of the caramel really complements the savory aftertaste of defeat.
If you really want a caramel apple, buy one at the store. But if what you actually want is 40 minutes of sugary treachery with an added bonus of both physical and emotional torture, best of luck!
Email Rachel at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @RachelEAyotte.