We like to use Granny Smith apples for this recipe because we prefer the tart apple taste with the sweet caramel. But if you prefer sweet on sweet, use any variety of sweet apple that you like for fresh eating.
Remove the stems and wash the skin of the apples. Starting at the stem end, press a skewer into each apple. I like to use metal skewers because they’re easier to poke through the core. They can be replaced with wooden skewers before eating. But you can use wooden skewers from the start if you like. You can poke the skewer all the way through the apple, as long as the apple can still stand by itself.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the apples on the sheet.
Chop 1 cup of nuts. We like to use almonds because they’re not as soft as walnuts or pecans and don’t absorb much moisture when refrigerated.
Set the nuts aside in a bowl.
Fit a saucepan* with a candy thermometer. Heat 3/4 cup of cream, corn syrup, butter and sugar until mixture registers 246 degrees F on the thermometer. Stir the mixture constantly to prevent burning. This can take several minutes, so patience is recommended.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ¼ cup of cream and vanilla.
Now for the dipping. Dip the apples in caramel. The caramel will be extremely hot, so keep your fingers away from the caramel. It will stick to your fingers just like it sticks to the apples. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) Twisting the skewer as you remove the apple from the caramel will cool the caramel and let the excess fall back into the pan.
There are no rules about double dipping so you can continue to dip and re-dip your apples to your heart’s content. The more you dip, the thicker the caramel coating will be on your apple. Keep in mind you will want to coat your apple with nuts at some point before your caramel sets completely. Set your caramel coated apple on the lined baking sheet.
Once all the apples have been dipped, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to cool. The caramel apples will be ready to eat in about 4 hours. (Patience is recommended here too!) Eat them off the wooden skewer, or for daintier eating, slice them in wedges. Mmm-mmm.
If you have caramel left over, you can save it in the refrigerator. Heat it up and serve over ice cream, bananas or (use your imagination!).
* Once heated the mixture will double in size, make sure your pan is large enough before turning on the heat.