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Caramel apples

Time 30 minutes
Yields Makes 5 to 6 caramel apples, depending on size
Caramel apples
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
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From carnivals to fairs, the candy-covered apple is one of those quintessential festival treats and, along with candy corn, a Halloween staple. Caramel apples are probably the easiest ones to make: Take a crisp apple and swirl it with a coating of rich caramel. You can use some of the terrific local or heirloom apples at farmers’ markets — and you don’t even need a fancy kit.

The first thing you’ll want to do is give your apples a good cleaning. Beyond the natural dirt, you’ll need to remove any wax. Blanch your apples for 10 seconds or so in boiling water treated with a little lemon juice or cider vinegar – the acid in the water will help to break down the wax. Wipe the apples clean, then chill them in an ice bath to bring the temperature down so the residual heat doesn’t cook the apples.

1

Remove wrapping from candies and place with water in top of double boiler. Heat over boiling water, stirring often, until caramels are melted and sauce is smooth.

2

Insert wooden skewer into stem end of each apple. Dip into hot caramel sauce, turning to coat surface. Place on wax paper and chill until caramel is firm.

To cool upright, place skewers in flower-arranging frogs or block of styrofoam. While dipped apples are still warm, roll in flaked coconut, ground nuts, colored shot or crushed cereal.