Fall is almost upon us. Apples will soon be plentiful, and you should be stocking up on recipes. If you’ve never made salted caramel apples, it’s time to learn how to make this classic dessert. Join us as we explore how to get the perfect tasting caramel that’s ideal for topping apple desserts. This dish requires only a few ingredients and uses basic techniques, making it ideal for both seasoned cooks and newbies.
Choose Your Apples
The first step to making a delicious dessert is choosing the best apples out there. Many types of apples can be smoked, but Granny Smith apples are the best kind for smoking. Their tart and crunchy nature are just what we need to balance the sweetness we will add later on.
You can also try other apples. For a sweeter apple, use Honeycrisp apples. Remember, the apples will taste different after caramelizing. In this case, our apples may become sweeter and softer but retain a little bit of their crunch.
Since we want the best flavor we can get, let’s stick with Granny Smith. Clean your apples so they’re ready to be smoked before preparing your smoker. Wash the apples and dry them off with a paper towel. Pat them down to remove any dirt. Core the apples and cut them into chunks, about 1 inch. This will make it easier for them to absorb maximum smoke.
Prepare the Smoker
The first step is to select the wood you will use for smoking. Each Bisquette comes with its own unique flavor, so choose well. If you are just starting out, try using a hardwood like hickory, oak, or alder. These woods tend to impart a more complex flavor than milder smoking woods like apple, pecan, cherry, etc. But over time, you may find that you prefer to use milder woods like apple, pear, and plum in your recipes.
Preheat your smoker to 225 °F (107 °C). Next, place the apple slices in the smoker. Smoke them for an hour or until they are soft. You don’t want them to collapse, though, so watch them keenly.
Make the Caramel Sauce
To make the caramel sauce, you will need sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream. Mix the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a pot and cook the mixture until it reaches a dark amber color. Stir the mixture continuously until the sugar completely dissolves. Add the cream and stir the mixture thoroughly.
If you want an even more delicious end product, use honey in your recipe. You will need apples, honey, butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. The cooking process is simple: melt the butter and honey together and add the brown sugar and salt.
The next step applies to both recipes. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook at a low temperature. The oven is best for this because it has a wide range of temperatures. Try to keep the oven just below 200 °F or 100 °C. Do not turn the oven off.
Also, it is important to caramelize the honey for a longer time than you would other types of sugar. If you reduce the time, the sugars will not caramelize completely. So plan to leave this in the oven for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. This will make sure the sugars caramelize completely. If you leave it for too long, you may end up with a very dark syrup. The longer you cook it will also make the syrup slightly less salty. Feel free to adjust the amount of salt in the recipe, or just add a pinch more.
Make the Apples Gooey
The apples will be done before the sauce is ready. Take them from the smoker and cool them in the fridge for at least one hour. This will help them retain their freshness.
Once the sauce is ready, it’s time to decorate the apples. Push a chopstick into each wedge and submerge it into the caramel sauce. Ensure all sides of the apple are covered in the sauce before gently placing it on some non-stick mats. You don’t want the sauce to become too thick, so ensure you work fast.
Cover your caramel apples and let them rest on the counter for several minutes. They should be ready in 15–20 minutes. You can also place them in the fridge to speed up the process. After the caramel on the apple has been set, you can press any desired toppings into the apple. Let them rest for one more hour at room temperature before serving. The end product should be delicious enough to impress!
How to store your apples
If you end up with leftover apples for some reason, store them in the fridge. They should be good for another week or two.
For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.