It was quite the Summer, but Fall is finally here. The air is changing and the mornings are hinting at crisper things to come. When you’re a kid, that means one thing: fun! Jumping into piles of colored fallen leaves is always a thrill, but nothing beats the sweet, tangy and sticky caramel apples from local festivals. Nothing, that is, except the ones you can make at home!
Fall flavors like caramel apples are a magical treat. They set the tone both for enjoyment today and warm feelings of nostalgia over years to come. Yup, that bite through a layer of gooey caramel into a crisp apple right off of the tree can create memories for a lifetime.
While you can get whole caramel apples at festivals and fairs, with our DIY below, you can make your own delicious caramel apple sticks at home! You can either do this yourself, or if you’re ready to get a bit (or a lot) sticky with your little ones, then they can take part in the creation process too!
If the day outside is beautiful, this is the perfect activity to take outdoors to keep all the stickiness off of the walls, surfaces, floors… pretty much everything you don’t want covered in stickiness.
Ahead of time, choose your toppings and create a tray of options in little dishes. A muffin tin can serve perfectly as a topping container. They can include everything from chopped peanuts or almonds to mini-marshmallows, a brown sugar and cinnamon mix, mini chocolate chips, or chopped candy bars. Sprinkles are also an easy favorite.
Before you warm the caramel, set up a table outside with a tablecloth. A quick trip to the dollar store will send you home with a plastic disposable table cloth that you can either easily wipe down, or throw away after the “event,” depending on the size of the mess left behind. Otherwise, choose a washable table cloth – or old bed sheet – that you don’t mind getting stained.
Back inside, heating up the caramel is next. Store-bought caramel is ideal because it is simple to heat and melt. Just try not to eat too many cubes as you unwrap them from their plastic! You can heat the caramel on the stove top or in microwave until melted.
As your last step before heading out to make the caramel apple sticks, make sure to core and slice your apples. Insert lollipop sticks into the apple slices and they are ready to dip. If you are worried about them browning too quickly, give each one a quick dip into some soda water with citric acid mixed into it (lemon-lime pop or ginger ale both contain citric acid, if you don’t want to mix it yourself).
All you need now is your kids and a pile of napkins. Hold the apples by the stick and dip each one a couple of times into the caramel. Gently twirl away the excess, and then dip them into the toppings. Set them down carefully on a plate or parchment paper, wait a little while for the caramel to cool and set, and then it’s snack time! Tip: with very little ones, make sure you do all of the dipping in caramel for them. Then, once it has cooled a little, they can add their own toppings!
Some fun combinations that are sure to please include:
- Caramel peanut/almond – Sprinkle your caramel apple stick with some chopped nuts!
- Caramel chocolate – Mini chocolate chips stick to caramel apple sticks even better than the regular-size ones!
- Caramel apple s’mores – Sprinkle your caramel apple stick with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows!
- Apple pie – Sprinkle your caramel apple with brown sugar and cinnamon mix. For a hint of crust, add some graham cracker crumbs too!
Get ready for a favorite treat that your kids will look forward to enjoying every year. In fact, while you have everything set up, why not make a few extras to keep in the fridge to enjoy the next day!