Do you like caramel apples? Do you like the fancy (and quite expensive) ones available at specialty shops?
I am a fan of caramel apples! I have never made them before, but when I was at Downtown Disney and watched the awesome dessert chefs (there must be a name for them) at Marceline's Confectionary create these beautiful Disney-themed apples, I knew I had to go home and attempt to make one!
I was mesmerized by how these chefs worked with the apples and the designs and really wanted to attempt the simple Mickey design.
First I made sure I had all the ingredients:
-caramel squares (after scouring the supermarket candy aisles, I finally found some at Target!)
-red fine sanding sugar
-small yellow jelly beans (this is where candy shops come in handy... you can pick and choose which colored candies you need!)
*I made MANY mistakes during my first trial-and-error so if I included a "tip", it probably means that I am asking you to learn from my mistakes! Haha!*
First up, washed the apples (to remove wax) and stabbed a wooden take-out chopstick into each apple. I started with five because I know I will need back-ups in case I messed up. Then I unwrapped all the caramel candies and slowly melted them in a sturdy pot, adding only 2tbsp of water (or milk if you prefer). The caramel melted very slowly at first, but eventually quickened into a nice creamy texture. Holding the apple by the stick was difficult because the apple was really heavy! I managed to cover each apple with sticky caramel and laid them to rest on a waxed paper-covered cookie sheet. TIP: Make sure the caramel is nice and smooth (almost runny texture) before dipping apples because I was impatient and my caramel-covered apples were pretty lumpy. Also, if you want to stop here with the caramel apples, you can... just add chopped nuts or sprinkles!
After the caramel apples have slightly hardened, I placed two large marshmallows on each side for the "ears". TIP: Use melted chocolate as glue because caramel does not hold up marshmallows well. Also, another TIP: make sure the marshmallows flat circle side (base/top of the cylinder) is facing towards the front because the ears looks cuter this way. Leave the caramel apples with marshmallow ears in the refrigerator to stiffen. Tip: Be patient. I lost one of the caramel apples during this process because the marshmallows slid down. One down, four to go.
(One down, four to go)
Once the caramel and the marshmallows are firmly in place (and not stick anymore), you can cover them with chocolate! To melt chocolate, there are many ways, which includes using a microwave, the boiling water/bowl method, or just SLOWLY melting them in a pot, adding water and vegetable shortening when needed. You want the chocolate to melt all the way and having a runny consistency so it will be easy to pour over the apples. I covered the four caramel apples with marshmallow ears with the melted chocolate and let them sit in the fridge on waxed paper. TIP: This is where "gluing" your marshmallows is important-- apparently the hot chocolate caused the marshmallow ears to melt and slide down the apples. Sadness. Lost three more apples in this process so there is only one left.
(My sister secretly took this picture of my trying to peel the caramel apples from the wax paper)
(As you can see, the warm melted chocolate caused the marshmallows to melt and slowly slides down.)
After leaving the chocolate-covered caramel apples with marshmallow ears in the fridge overnight (again, be patient), you are ready to decorate! I copied the Mickey design from Marceline's Confectionery because it seemed to be the easiest (and cutest) to do!
(Ugh, three down, only one more left.)
Sadly, my only surviving apple had crooked ears.... oh well. I covered the bottom half of the apple with whipped vanilla icing, although I think any thin icing would work. Then I added two yellow (lemon) Jelly Belly jellybeans where Mickey's pants buttons are located. Let the jellybeans sit for a few minutes. Finally cover just the icing area with red fine sanding sugar. (I wish my sugar would have been more red than a translucent red.)
Ta-da! Your very own Mickey Mouse Chocolate-covered Caramel Apple!
(Pretty proud of my first attempt with caramel apples!)
(Here are the failed apples: sliding marshmallows due to warm melted chocolate [left tray] and sliding marshmallows during initial caramel covering [right dish].)
I will definitely attempt this again in the future!
Ingredients: soft caramel square candies, large marshmallows, dark chocolate semi-sweet chips or dark brown/black candy melts, green tart apples, wooden sticks, dark red fine sanding sugars, small yellow jellybeans