Smooth and creamy, warm and melty, sweet and sloppy- what could be better? Working off the traditional Caramel Apple of Halloween fame, we’re making Caramel Apple Fondue Bites. We do grow lovely mini apples on our Alaskan apple tree,
but for these mini treats, we use a melon baller to cut apple balls from crisp large apples which can be chomped in one bite, avoiding the core and seeds. There are many options for caramel recipes out there- some involve melting and mixing prepared caramels, but I never could get those clear cube wrappers off, so we adapted a recipe from the Comfort of Cooking blog that cooks up in no time. You will need a candy thermometer to make sure you reach the right temperature- and watch close so you don’t go over and burn the batch. You can start as early as one day ahead, prepping the apple balls and toppings.
¾ C corn syrup
1 C sugar
½ C butter
1 ¼ C heavy whipping cream
2 large apples
about 20 sticks of your choice
Choose toppings to compliment your caramel apple bites including nuts, candies and cookies & pulse in a food processor until bits are at your preferred size. Other options include shaved chocolate, toasted coconut & sprinkles or dusting sugars.
Using a melon baller, cut apples into balls. We also tried a portion scoop for larger bites, but the extra parts on the scoop caused friction and resulted in jagged ball. FYI- if using a larger scoop, choose larger apples so that you can maximize the number of scoops per apple. Start the next ball about half an inch further over than you think you can, so there is no overlapping in your scoop and you get a full ball shape.
Drop apple balls into a bowl of soda (lemon lime or gingerale) to keep from browning until ready to use. Soak 3-4 minutes, remove from liquid and lay out to dry on a paper towel. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 24 hours.
Heat corn syrup, sugar, butter and ¾ C plus 2 tbsp cream in a 3 qt sauce pan over medium high heat until mixture reaches 275〬 on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon once it starts to brown.
While caramel boils, place prepared toppings in the cups of a muffin tin or small glass bowls.
Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat and set aside. Push stick into each apple ball through skin side to center. We tried several different stick options from literal sticks- gathered, trimmed and washed- to knotted bamboo skewers, but you can also use tall toothpicks, or for soft food items- like cake or brownie balls- you can cut paper straws in half, or just use the reusable fondue forks provided with your fondue set.
Set skewered apple balls on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture to minimize caramel runoff.
Remove caramel from heat and pour in remaining ¼ C cream, stirring until smooth.
Pour into fondue pot.
Dip apple balls into caramel, making sure caramel covers the edges of the skin and allowing excess to drip off. We found it works best to submerse the apple ball so that the caramel adheres to the stick and covers the apple completely- as in the second picture.
Dip bottom of each coated ball into topping of choice then set on the baking sheet to cool, or into mini candy cup.
It’s best to consume right away since the moisture from the apple ball starts to juice up the caramel- that’s why we chose to serve these bites as fondue- in which case the cup is more of a courtesy to catch drips as you step away from the fondue pot. Remember that melted caramel can be hot, so adjust your fondue pot temperature accordingly and allow dipped bites to cool a moment before popping them in your mouth.
Just a little taste of fall!
OTHER FONDUE IDEAS:
There are loads of great ideas out there for fun fondue for the holidays- try giant marshmallows with chocolate fondue and crunched up peppermints as topping- and for the stick? A mini candy cane!! How clever. Also melted starlite mints make great little ‘plates’ for cake ball fondue. Check out our pinterest boards for more great ideas! http://pinterest.com/allenpetersen/fondue/