Forget chocolate bars and candy corn this Halloween; grab some popsicle sticks and have some fun making a real treat this year. Get creative and garnish the apples with toppings like toasted coconut, chopped nuts, ice cream sprinkles, or mini candies. Before long, word will get out that you have the best Halloween candy on the block.
Wash the apples and dry them very well. Remove the stems. Insert a popsicle stick, chopstick, or sturdy bamboo skewer through the stem end of each. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking liner.
Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a 3-qt. saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the sugar melts and turns a medium amber color, 4 to 7 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and carefully pour in the cream (the mixture will bubble ferociously). When the bubbles start to subside, carefully add the butter all at once and stir with the spatula to blend. Let the caramel cool for 3 minutes.
Tilt the pan so that the caramel pools to one side, and carefully dip an apple in the caramel, twirling it around a few times to coat it almost all the way up to the stick. Lift the apple out of the caramel and continue to twirl the apple at an angle over the pan to let the caramel run up toward the stem end (this minimizes the caramel pooling on the baking sheet). Scrape the bottom of the apple against the side of the pan to remove excess caramel and set on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining apples. Refrigerate the apples until the caramel sets, about 15 minutes.
Make Ahead Tips
The caramel apples will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
You can garnish the apples with additional toppings, such as toasted coconut, chopped nuts, ice cream sprinkles, or mini candies. Spread the topping on a pie plate or rimmed baking sheet. Roll the apples in the topping right after you dip them in the caramel, and then refrigerate as directed above.
Photo: Scott Phillips