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Falling for Apples (Caramel Apples, that is) by Carolyn Raber     

One fruit is synonymous with fall……apples.   Apple pie, apple crisp, apple cake, applesauce, apple dumplings, apple cider, apple donuts, and all the rest.  The one apple treat, however, that is most revered at the Raber house is caramel apples.  It all started one October day early in our marriage when my husband said he was hungry for caramel apples.  So I did what I knew…..I bought a bag of Kraft caramels along with apples and had 8 caramel apples ready when he got home from his teaching day.   Thrilled as he was upon seeing them, his joy turned to surprise upon taking a few bites when he said, “These aren’t like my mom makes.”  Now, in fairness to my husband who is totally easy to cook for, that is the ONLY time he said that his mother made something better than I.  He may have thought it, but he has never again said it!  I was not upset, just curious.  What was Mother Raber’s trick?  I come from a long line a good cooks and I thought everyone made caramel apples from Kraft caramels.  He assured me there was another way.  And there was.  I am sharing here my late mother-in-law’s caramel apple recipe, along with some tips I’ve learned along the way.

CaramelApplesFlipped

CARAMEL APPLES 

6-8 apples – firm, tart, room temperature (Honeycrisp and Mutzu are my favorites)
1 C. sugar
½ C. white Karo syrup
1 can Eagle brand milk
1 tsp. good vanilla (I use Madagascar)

Wash and dry apples, remove the stems, and insert  a craft stick into each.  I like the round ones when I can find them.  Grease a platter to put them on later.

In a heavy medium pan over medium heat, bring all ingredients except vanilla to a boil, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula so that none sticks to the pan.  Then lower heat and continue to stir constantly until mixture reaches about 225 degrees on a candy thermometer.  This usually takes about 10 minutes. Watch it carefully and test in cold water for very soft ball stage.  Do not overcook or it will take the fillings out of your teeth!  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Let cool just 1-2 minutes, then dip and spread caramel over each apple.  Place on greased platter or plate to set.

Some people like the apples dipped in nuts, but we are purists….no nuts.

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