More so, bobbing apples into caramel, than bobbing FOR apples. I never did like that game much. Something about being face first in a tub of water just never appealed to me much. I don’t even like washing my face in the sink and throwing water over my nose to rinse.
Anyway….with fall comes apples around here. And with apples, there must be caramel. But store bought caramels are full of sugar and/or corn syrup, neither of which I’m supposed to have. I saw this post, and got excited that I might have a new easy way to make caramel. But alas, I can’t track down any sweetened condensed milk that uses a natural, unrefined, sweetener. But the more I looked at the caramel on that page, the more I really wanted some caramel to go on the last few apples in the fridge.
So I started searching, and came across the blog 101 cookbooks. She just so happens to use natural ingredients AND had a caramel apple recipe. Hers uses honey though, and I could tell as this batch was cooking that it was going to be honey flavored caramel and NOT the stuff I was craving. If I wanted honey flavor, I would just drizzle some honey on my apples.
Luckily, I had assumed this might happen, and only made a half batch. Into another sauce pan I poured the remaining cream, and worked on my agave nectar caramel. After much stirring, we had a batch of honey, a batch of agave, and then I mixed the two together in a third cup & we had a taste off. B likes the honey one best. For me it is a toss up between the agave and the 50/50 mix. I think, if I hadn’t just slightly overcooked or burnt the agave mixture, that would have been a for sure winner. Only the slightly dark flavor of it made me not love it.
I’ve taken to cutting up my apples and dipping them in the caramel because it is so much easier & neater than trying to eat an apple on a stick. Or, for that matter, trying to get the caramel to stick to the apple in the first place.
My Version of Heidi’s caramel recipe:
In a sauce pan combine:
1/2 cup of cream
1/4 tsp salt
Let it heat up a bit, just until the edges of the milk begin to boil.
(While cream heats, prepare a sink or bowl full of ice water.)
1/2 cup agave nectar (OR 3/8 cup nectar and 1/8 cup sucanat)
Bring the mixture to a slow boil and stir continuously until a candy thermometer reads 250* F (note this is different than if using honey). It may still seem a little thin at this point, but it thickens quickly once cool. Place the saucepan into the ice water without splashing any water into the caramel mixture. Continue stirring for a few moments until the mix begins to thicken.
This caramel can be used to coat apples, dip apples, or could even be used as the “innards” of chocolates or other carmel based recipes. This still isn’t healthy caramel by any means, but at least in making it, you know what you’re ingesting.
The short list of KRAFT Caramels ingredients:
Corn Syrup, Sugar, Skim Milk, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Whey, Cream, Salt, Artificial Flavor.