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Nothing conjures up autumn like old-fashioned caramel apples. Homemade caramel apples make great budget party treats, and making them is an activity even the kids will enjoy. Once you have your caramel made, use this simple recipe to make an inexpensive treat to share throughout the fall holidays.

Homemade Caramel Apples

Tools: Six 5-1/4 inch-long skewers

Preparation time: 1-1/2 hours plus at least 1 hour cooling time for caramel and 10 minutes for caramel to set on the apples

Yield: 6 apples

6 Granny Smith apples (100-count size)

1 warm batch of melted caramels

2 cups each of at least 2 types of toppings, such as chopped pecan pieces, almond slices, fresh coconut, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips

  1. Wipe the apples with a clean, damp cloth and dry them. Remove the stems of the apples

    Remove the stems by using tin snips or twist the stems off by hand.

  2. Line two cookie sheets with wax paper.

  3. Insert the sticks into the apples.

    Set one apple on one of the lined cookie sheets and carefully grasp a skewer with the point facing away from you. Place the point on one end of the apple core (either one will do!) and slowly press the stick into the apple. Use a small cloth to pad your hand, if needed.

    You can press the stick completely through the core but, by stopping short of the other end, you slow oxidation to the core, making the apple last longer. Repeat for each of the remaining apples.

  4. Prepare a pot of melted caramel.

    Make a batch of caramel from your favorite recipe or melt store-bought caramels according to package directions. Remove the pot of melted caramel from the heat and allow to cool in the pot for about an hour. The caramel should be warm, not hot,

  5. Cover the apples with the caramel.

    Grasp the end of the skewer and, while allowing the apple to rest in the pot of warm caramel, spoon caramel over the apple until it’s coated. Then lift the apple out of the caramel, but still keep it within the confines of the pot; gently roll the skewer between your fingertips, spinning the excess caramel back into the pot.

    Don’t spin too hard because you can spin caramel out of the pot and make a mess.

    Place the apple on the lined cookie sheet.

    Spin the skewer between your fingers to remove excess caramel from the apple.
    Spin the skewer between your fingers to remove excess caramel from the apple.
  6. Coat the caramel-coated apples with toppings of your choice, if desired.

    Place your toppings in a small bowl that’s big enough to hold about 2 cups of topping with room to roll the apple. Roll the apple into the coating, and hold the apple by the stick over the bowl, allowing the excess toppings to drop off.

  7. Place the apples on wax paper and allow the coating to set for about 10 minutes.

This item has a fairly short life because the combination of the extreme heat and the core’s being skewered contribute to a shorter life.

Store your caramel apples uncovered on the counter for four to five days.

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