Hello readers – Elizabeth here! Emily has been swamped with work for the past week, so today it’s my turn to reveal our latest recipe, and answer to Hint No.4 : Alcohol-Infused Caramel Apples. The post claims that Emily published this recipe, but ’tis a lie (I ought to fix that). This is the first post written, cooked, and tested solely by me…which is a little nerve-wracking considering I’m usually just testing. Emily wanted to skimp on the Halloween season and do some unrelated recipe, however I wracked my brain for a clever, spooky treat, and voila! This Alcohol-Infused Caramel “Poison” Apple recipe was inspired by the Evil Queen from Disney’s (1937) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
I am a huge fan of apples . Some of my favorite foods include baked apples, apple pie, and apple cider, so I decided to add to my repertoire. Plus, I had never eaten a caramel apple before making this recipe. But hey, I’m an adult, so I up’ed the ante and gave these apples a little kick of alcohol – just for fun. For this recipe, I personally used Honeycrisp apples spiked with Amber Woodchuck Hard Cider and Applejack Apple Brandy.
A part of me expected the spiked apples to scream: “I have brandy in me!” However, the apple I bit into was crisp and juicy, with just a hint of the alcohol.
The caramel was by far the harder half to this recipe, especially considering it was my first time ever making caramel. My cautiousness caused the process to last several hours. I did not want my first batch to burn, so the temperature of the stove might have been a little low. Not to mention I had to rig up our meat thermometer to the pot because we don’t own a clip-on candy thermometer. In the end, it all worked out. The simmering caramel was mesmerizing to watch as it bubbled up, and the smell of the cinnamon was so enticing that I burned my tongue after dipping a spoon directly in the pot several times to taste.
With the caramel complete, the last steps were to add the ruby red color meant to tempt Snow White, and to cover the alcohol-infused apples with it’s final coat of “poison.” In a final attempt to irritate me, the caramel bubbled up slightly on the surface of the apples, despite it’s smooth and glossy appearance in the pot. This was probably due to the holes pierced in the apples earlier to infuse with alcohol. Oh well. Despite the burnt tongue and the hours of simmering caramel, I had a blast making caramel apples for the first time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
Alcohol-Infused Caramel Apples
- 3 apples
- 24 oz hard apple cider
- 1/2 cup apple brandy
- Cinnamon Caramel:
- 1/3 cup butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream divided (1/2 cup at the beginning and 1/2 later)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Food coloring
- Step 1 Wash the 3 apples and thoroughly dry them to remove any dirt or pesticides. Using a metal or wooden skewer, poke holes all over the apples. Place the apples in a large bowl and pour in the cider and brandy. The apples must be fully submerged, so make sure your bowl is big enough and the apples are weighed down into the alcohol. Let the apples soak for 3-1/2 hours at room temperature.
- Step 2 Once they are done soaking, remove the apples and dry them (you can save the cider mixture for other uses). Insert a skewer, chopstick, or stick and place on parchment paper.
- Step 3 In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, salt, corn syrup, sugar, 1/2 cup of cream, and cinnamon. Using low heat, warm the ingredients until the butter is melted (note that if the heat is too high the butter may separate). Gently stir, but do not splash the ingredients up the sides of the pan.
- Step 4 Once the butter is melted and the ingredients combined, gradually increase the temperature until the mixture maintains a simmer (no higher than medium-low). These are no-stir caramels, so if the heat is too high it will burn the ingredients at the bottom of the pan.
- Step 5 Leave the mixture simmering, without stirring, until it reaches 236 ° F. Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup cream and gently stir. Without adjusting the heat, allow the caramel to come to a simmer again until it reaches 245 ° F.
- Step 6 Remove from the heat and stir in any desired food coloring. Coat the apples in the caramel before it can cool and place on the parchment paper. If you have any caramel left over, you can pour it into a buttered pan to enjoy by itself. Let the caramel cool completely at room temperature before cutting or eating.
- Step 7 NOTE: Make sure to butter whatever surface you serve your apples on. The parchment paper will easily peel off, but the caramel will still stick to a plate. If you want to skip this step (like I do) just cut the parchment in a circle about 1/2 inch around the apple and leave it. Less dirty buttered plates to clean up.
Shoutout to David for correctly guessing the hint for this recipe!