Sunday, October 28, 2012

Samhain/Halloween Treats! - Caramel Apples

A very long weekend of cooking/baking is over! Ah, but it was fun. Caramel apples, White Russian cake pops, vanilla cake balls, spiderweb cookies (stamping didn't work grr) and popcorn balls. On to the pictures/recipes/disgruntled remarks about cookies. :) They'll be done in multiple posts because of pictures and stuff and longness.

Caramel Apples
Why make 40 caramel apples, do you ask? I made these for the girls in the music fraternity I'm in (Sigma Alpha Iota) and for the guys in the music fraternity my brother is in (Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia). I can't bake for the sisters unless I bake for the brothers - they pout. Enter 40 caramel apples. One each for me, 2 parents, 3 cousins (little boys need lots of sugar) and 2 grandparents and the other 32 are for the music frats. They get theirs tonight at the SAI and PMA meetings.

Due to the large number of things to do this weekend and only 3 days (Friday my only class was cancelled, hello being home Thursday night!) to get them done in, I used the easy way, ie bagged caramels.

The first 3 bags were of the Kraft bits. I did those apples Thursday night, but it wasn't enough - so off to Rouses for more caramel bits Saturday morning. Sadly, all they had were the Brachs caramels. So you get to hear how both kinds worked out.

1. Clean wax off apples. Dip apples in boiling water for 10 seconds each, then dry thoroughly. (To clean the pot after just boil water in it above the wax line. It'll come out after that.)

Waxy apples.

Un-waxy apples.

2. Stick popsicle sticks in your apples then stick them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Melt your caramel in 30-45 second bursts in the microwave.
- Due to my inability to buy enough of something the first time, I used both the Kraft bits and the Brachs Milk Maid caramels. The Kraft ones were an 11oz bag, and I think the Brachs were either 14 or 16oz. I added 2T of whole milk to each bag when I melted them in my coffee cup in the microwave. 2T was great for each of the 11oz Kraft bags. It was probably too much for the Brachs 14/16oz bag. Those apples were goopy-er afterwards. They didn't solidify quite as much as the Kraft ones.

4. Coat the apples. Chef Paul Prudhomme is the man for this. Everybody else wants to overcomplicate it. He shows how easy it is to do. After coated, I placed them on a buttered cookie sheet.

5. Refrigerate and get decorating stuff together.
- I stuck mine in the fridge overnight to let them harden and put all my toppings on via melted chocolate the next day.

My assembly line - roasted pecans, Reeses pieces, M&Ms, toasted coconut, and a crab boiling tray to work over.

I melted my chocolate in the microwave, then stuck it in these bottles. I put water in my little crock pot on low and kept it in there to keep the chocolate from getting hard again.

6. Decorate!
- I drizzled chocolate and put the fixins from the assembly line on. The pecans and coconut were kind of dumped on, but the M&Ms and Reeses pieces had to be kind of stuck on by hand.

It's a heart! Kind of. Sort of. Ah well.

To store them, I put a piece of plastic wrap on the very bottom of each apple after an hour or two. Then I put them each in a muffin cup. Then I put them in Dollar Tree jack-o-lantern bags. They'll last up to a week like this if the other people on the internet are right.

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