What are caramel apples?


Caramel apples, also known as sweet apples, are whole apples coated in a thin, crunchy layer of sugar. The treats are commonly confused with caramel apples, which have a completely different coating. Caramel apples are popular gifts in Western cultures, often given to children during Halloween celebrations. Variations on the basic recipe include additional toppings, like butterscotch sprinkles and coconut shavings, and precooking the apples to give them a different texture.

The most traditional way to prepare caramelized apples is to melt sugar, syrup and water until you get a thick liquid. An apple is skewered on a relatively long, heat-resistant stick and dipped into the still hot caramel sauce. Once the apple is completely covered, it is removed from the mixture and allowed to cool. The coating should harden over time, creating the thin layer of sweetness that caramel apples are known for.

Chefs often mix other flavors into caramel sauce to add variety to their caramel apples. A common accent is fresh cinnamon, as the spice is known to complement the flavor of apples. Vanilla extract is another popular addition, giving the candy coating its unique aroma and flavor. The apple can also be rolled in additional ingredients while the toffee topping is still hot; Rainbow colored candy sprinkles are one addition, giving the treats a festive look.

Some chefs pre-cook the apples to add even more variety to the traditional recipe. Apples can be softened by cooking or stewing, adding contrast with the crisp outer skin. Another popular method for preparing caramelized apples is to cut the fruit into smaller pieces, making them easier to bite into and taste.

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The crunchy caramel crust is a quality that distinguishes caramel apples from caramel apples and other apple candies. While both treats involve dipping apples into sugary sauces, the caramel coating on the apples is generally chewier. Caramel apples also require the use of milk to produce the coating, making caramel apple the preferred choice for those with lactose intolerance.

While caramel apples can be enjoyed any time of year, they are most popular during the months when apple trees produce their biggest harvests; in many countries, these months extend between the third and fourth quarters of the year. This makes the treats a common sight at festivals and celebrations from September to November. Halloween is the occasion most associated with caramel apples, as some homeowners prefer to give the fruit over candy to those with a sweet tooth, but apples are also a treat during Guy Fawkes Night in regions that celebrate it.

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