Ooey gooey yummy yummy

Normally I’m not a big fan of caramel, but when you slather it on an apple and dip it in various bad-for-your-behind toppings, well, I give.

Caramel apples feel both like something you should eat when you’re 10 years old and a luxurious treat you might buy in a boutique. Wrap them up in a little cellophane and ribbon and they make fantastic take-home gifts for parties or holiday get-togethers.

Making caramel apples can be a messy process, but thanks to caramels that now come in little pebbles rather than individually wrapped candies, it’s super easy.

Start with about six large apples, washed and any bad parts removed. Twist off the stems before you get started.

Now, the bag of caramels comes with five sticks, but I prefer to use dowels from the craft store.

They’re sturdier, both for dipping and for eating. Trust me, you don’t want the stick to crack at any point during the process.

Gently push the dowels into the center of the apples, about an inch or so. I’m using a combination of tart green apples, smaller red apples, and some large Galas that I had in the fridge. Any apple works, as far as I’m concerned.

Lay out all your candies and toppings in separate bowls.

Heat the caramels in a glass bowl in the microwave with a couple tablespoons of water. A silicone spatula is ideal for stirring and scraping the caramel down the sides of the bowl. You’ll need every bit!

If you’re dipping into candies or nuts, you’ll need to do that immediately after you dip the caramel. If you’re drizzling on chocolate (I like to do both white and dark), you might actually want to dip the caramel, put it into the fridge to cool for a few minutes, then drizzle the chocolate. This keeps the whole melty mess from sliding right off, which it will do if it’s too warm.

So, back to the dipping. When the caramel is hot and well mixed, roll the apple around the bowl, and use the spatula to scoop extra caramel on any missed spots.

If any of it has globbed onto the bottom of the apple, scrape it back into the bowl. Immediately dip the apple into your topping of choice, rolling it around and sprinkling on extras with your hands.

When it’s completely covered, transfer it to a plate in the fridge and let it cool.

You can use chocolate chips or baking chocolate squares for the melting chocolate. It usually takes a minute or two in the microwave to heat (and maybe a few teaspoons of milk to thin it out further) just like the caramel. Just use a spoon to drizzle it back and forth over the top of the apple. It will roll down the sides on its own.

Then, into the fridge with those apples.

They’re almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

If you don’t want to crack a tooth trying to eat your apples, which are usually pretty darn hard after some time in the fridge, here’s how to cut them:

With a sharp knife, slice down the right side of the apple, next to the dowel. Rotate it a quarter turn and slice down that side. Repeat for the other sides. You should get 8 slices and a core when you’re done.