Caramel apples are one of Cake Boss Buddy Valastro's favorite things to make during the winter season.This dessert is not only great to have on your holiday dessert table, but it also makes a great gift. The fruit and nuts on this treat make it hearty, while the chocolate and caramel make it sweet.
2 cups heavy cream, divided
2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
16 tbsp (8 oz) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups (30 oz) white chocolate, chopped
3 cups (12 oz) chopped pistachios
2 cups (12 oz) dried cranberries
7 sturdy craft sticks
1 candy thermometer
1. Wash and dry all apples. Remove stems and firmly press a craft stick into the top of each.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
3. In a stockpot, Dutch oven, or covered casserole pan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine one and a half cups of heavy cream, sugar, pinch of salt, corn syrup, and butter. Bring mixture up to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
4. Once mixture comes to a boil, do not stir anymore. Allow mixture to bubble until it reaches 246°F or firm ball. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 cup of cream and vanilla. Be aware that hot caramel may sputter when liquid is added. Pour caramel into a smaller saucepan at this point so you will be able to fully submerge the apples.
5. Working quickly, dip each apple into the caramel and turn the apple to completely coat it. Lift caramel apple up and allow excess to drip off.
6. Place caramel apples on prepared pans and set aside to allow the caramel to completely set up.
7. Melt white chocolate and pour into a vessel that is deep enough to submerge and coat the apples.
8. Dip completely set apple in chocolate and then lift apple up allowing excess chocolate to drip off. If needed, swipe the bottom of the apples against the side of the bowl to remove the excess.
9. Immediately sprinkle with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries. Tip from Buddy: "I find sprinkling the ingredients on while holding the apple over a bowl works better than dipping the apple in the nuts and dried fruit."
10. Set finished apples on parchment-lined sheet pans and refrigerate to completely set up.
11. Serve apples at room temperature.
**Note: One serving equals 1/4 of an apple.
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