by Esther Holden December 22, 2014
If you are looking for a pretty way to decorate chocolate covered apples then we have a fun project to share with you! Elegant apples that were decorated with caramel and chocolate but not covered so much that they didn't look or taste like apples anymore was what my mind envisioned. I was pleased to have it work so I could share with you the steps so you can try this yourself. Warning, these do require some patients and time.
I was so excited to see that Werther's developed soft caramels for baking. These taste great and were super easy to unwrap unlike other caramels I've used in the past that are wrapped in plastic and take forever to unwrap. These popped right out of the paper wrappers and had a nice buttery taste which goes along with the quality of Werther's products.
I knew I wanted to try dying the caramel and our Red Red Americolor food coloring did just the trick! I followed the caramel apple instructions on the back of the Werther's caramels for baking bag but cut it down by half since this was a new process I was trying out. I added the dye in at the very end after the caramel was melted, mixed the color in well. I then poured the hot caramel into a parchment lined baking pan to make one big caramel sheet.
Lining an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper was the trick to being able to let the caramel cool and lift out of the pan easily plus gives you a surface to cut out your caramel polka dots on. The one change I might test out the next time I make this is to sprinkle the the sanding sugar right on top of the caramel while it is still hot. You will need to get the hot caramel spread out pretty thin before you sprinkle and lightly press in the sanding sugar so when you cut it out into polka dots or other shapes it isn't too thick.
I love looking around the kitchen to see what can be used in a baking project. I knew I wanted to put polka dots on the chocolate covered apples but needed to find small enough "cutters" to use to make the dots. None of my cookie cutters were small enough. As I was going through my baking drawer I spotted frosting tips in varying sizes and they worked perfectly to make my caramel polka dots! I used our jumbo plain frosting tip, mid size plain frosting tip and our regular size plain frosting tip.
After realizing I didn't spread out the caramel into a thin enough sheet and my dots were a tad too thick once I cut them out (I didn't want my apples to look like they had warts!) I tried rolling them out to flatten them. I also thought they could use some sparkle (who doesn't love some sparkle!) so I decided to try adding some red sanding sugar to the top of the dots. As my caramel had set up already and I had not thought of adding the sanding sugar to the top of the caramel sheet while it was still hot so I had to figure out a way to get the caramel to stick. I lightly dipped my finger tip in water and brushed the top of the caramel dot so it got it a little wet. You only need it to be a little wet so don't use too much water or you will end up with a mess. Pour a small amount of sanding sugar on the parchment sheet you are working on and place the moistened caramel dot wet side down on the sugar. I pressed down in the sugar lightly to get it to adhere then used a straight sided shot glass to roll out the dot to get it a bit thinner. A full size rolling pin would be too big to use for this. The process worked great as long as you didn't use too much water. If the shape of the dot gets distorted while rolling it you can always use the frosting tip to cut out another dot in the now sparkly caramel polka dot or cut out a slightly off center dot as shown above to give more design to your dots!
We have added hand painted and glittered wooden candy apple treat sticks to our product line up! It was perfect timing so we could use them on our dressed up chocolate covered caramel polka dot apples. We have a few listings in the shop in our thick and thin style wooden treat sticks and you can even pick if you want red, gold or silver! More colors to come along with some caramel apple kits!
Caramel Polka Dot Supplies and Recipe:
14 pieces of Werther's Caramel for baking soft caramels (half a bag)
1 tablespoon milk
Red Red Americolor Food Gel - if you want your caramel to have a color
8x8 baking pan
chocolate covered apples
Line an 8x8 baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Unwrap 14 pieces of the soft Werther's caramel for baking and put them in a small non stick saucepan on low-medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and carefully watch and stir as needed until it is fully melted and the caramel becomes fluid. Add in the red food coloring until you get the desired color. If you are using our Americolor coloring it is very intense so start with a small amount and add more if needed. Once the color is well mixed into the caramel pour it into the parchment lined baking pan. Try to get it into a thin layer. It may not go right to the edge (mine didn't). NOTE: Here is where I would make a change and try sprinkling the top with red sanding sugar while the caramel is still hot to eliminate a few steps as explained earlier. Allow to set up and cool. The caramel will still be somewhat pliable when you are ready to poke out the dots with the frosting tips or small shapes of your desire. I would make the caramel the day you plan on decorating your apples. If you want to make them a day ahead I would suggest keeping the caramel and/or dots in a sealed airtight container. I found that days later the small amount of caramel I had leftover became a bit grainy.
Because the caramel is pliable when used within a day or 2 of making it and is still a little tacky this helps the dots adhere to the chocolate covered apples which you can prepare a couple hours or even a day ahead of time. I used melted Merkins chocolate discs to dip the apples in. It worked great, was easily to melt in the microwave and wasn't too thick once melted. This helped to get a nice coating on the apples without it looking gloppy. Once the chocolate was fully I lightly pressed the caramel dots onto surface of the apple and that was all that was needed to make them stick. You do not want to try to add the dots to apples that have just been dipped in chocolate and are not fully dry as the weight of the dots will cause them to slide producing not as pretty apples!
It took quite a lot of time to make enough dots to cover the apples shown in the pictures. This is a project that takes some time to make but you can do some steps ahead. They did turn out quite pretty and if a lot of apples where needed for an event I might try decorating them in a few different ways allowing the fancy caramel polka dots could be the show stoppers. They would be perfect for holiday gifts, celebration or wedding favors.
We hope you enjoy and give this recipe a try when you have some time on your hands!
ps: Now if these weren't pretty enough I just had to see what some of the dots looked like with a small silver dragee pressed into it. Don't they look extra special!
This post was written by and photography is by Esther.
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by Contributor Christie of Ritzy Parties November 15, 2020
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