I love gourmet chocolate dipped apples so I tried making my own "from scratch" quite a few years ago. Ugh! No wonder they cost so much at the store, it is not only the cost of ingredients but they are so labor intensive when you make everything yourself. Well, God makes the apples but you know what I mean...
So in my usual "let's break this recipe down" technique, I decided it would not be that much more expensive (and a whole lot less trouble) to purchase caramel dipped apples at the grocery store as a starter. I had one
So after a little more thought, I finally came up with this way of making them and it has worked beautifully. Read the technique through before trying it, as I offer options!
I start with store bought taffy apples! Yes, it cost a little more but not much when you consider you don't have to purchase apples and caramels separately (or make your own caramel sauce).
If you use apples purchased from the grocery store to dip into your homemade caramel sauce, you may have found it did not stick because of the coating on many store bought apples. And I usually forgot to buy them from the Farmer's Market (assuming those are not coated).
I bought two packages for 99 cents each as they were both near their "use by" date... and I was going to use them before they would go bad. Remember, this is produce!
Now, this is what makes it easy peasy. Put the entire package of your taffy apples into the freezer and set the time for 25 minutes. That way you won't forget them. I speak from experience.
Melt your favorite dipping chocolate or chocolate chips in the microwave. I found 20 seconds the first go around, stir... 15 seconds, stir... then an additional 10 seconds each time until smooth. Even chocolate chips can seize up and burn so this is when patience is indeed a virtue.
The decision of what chocolate to use depends entirely on the quality you want your gourmet chocolate apples to be. For these six taffy apples, I used one package of semi-sweet chocolate chips and one-half package high quality milk chocolate chips. I'd switch that around the next time I make them, using one whole package milk chocolate chips instead.
I like using chocolate chips instead of dipping chocolate because they give a thicker result. And let's be honest, it is the chocolate we are after... not the apple. As you experiment, you will find what you like the best.
Have the chocolate chips or dipping chocolate melted and ready when the buzzer goes off at 25 minutes.
Now, see how nice that paper comes off the taffy when it has been briefly frozen? SO much easier!
This is also where your options come in! I immediately drizzle with chocolate but if you are also going to sprinkle with nuts or dip into crushed Oreos or any other additions, you have to have them ready to go, too. For the chocolate hardens almost immediately with that very cold caramel.
Either that or let the apple sit at room temp awhile but I find it much easier to work immediately and have everything ready.
First I dip the bottom of the apple in the chocolate and then turn it sideways, spooning the melted chocolate over the apple. It hardens quickly so work fast.
I tried to take photos of that process but they didn't turn out. Obviously I cannot take photos well with one hand. Sigh...
Then spoon more melted chocolate on top of the apple to seal it. Immediately sprinkle nuts or anything else you want at this time.
By the way, these do taste as good as they look!
Let the apples sit on a foil or parchment lined pan for oh... ten to twenty minutes. You do not need to butter the foil, they come off easily if you first dipped the bottom of the apple into chocolate. The apple should be as close to being completely surrounded in chocolate as you can.
You will notice above that I did not do this perfectly and some caramel shows but the food police never arrived so that is just fine. It is suppose to be a fun project, not perfect.
You can add a ribbon as I did in the first photo and tuck each apple into a cellophane gift bag.
Since I didn't have any when I took these photos, I wrapped each in foil (most of it what they had been sitting on above) and stored in the frig.
Really the only difficult part of this technique is working quickly if you plan to embellish the chocolate so it sticks. Otherwise just let the caramel apples sit awhile before dipping them in chocolate so the caramel is not cold. I say that even though I haven't tried it that way!