Caramel apples, adapted from a recipe at BrownEyedBaker.com
- Sand the apples until the surface is roughed and somewhat buff rather than shiny.
- Insert the sticks into the tops of the apples so that they stick straight up out the top of the apple. Put them back in the refrigerator to keep cold until it’s time to dip them.
- Combine the sugar, salt, and water in a saucepan. Heat the mixture in the pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring.
- Allow the sugar to come to a boil, brushing any sugar crystals on the edge of the pan away with a wet brush.
- Allow the sugar syrup to cook until it turns a golden, aromatic brown. How strong the “caramel” flavor will be developed will be determined by how dark you let the caramel cook. If it smells tasty to you, you’re there.
- Remove from heat and add the cream carefully and slowly. It will bubble fiercely, so be careful. Stir until everything is dissolved.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and bring the caramel back to a boil. Start temping it with your Thermapen ONE.
- Once the caramel reaches 246°F (119°C) (subtract 1°F [0.56°C] for every 500 ft elevation above sea level), remove it from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Dip the apples into the caramel one at a time, setting them on a parchment-lined baking sheet as you do. If you want to roll them in other toppings, this is the time!
- Allow the caramel to set for about 45 minutes.
- Serve them to an adoring crowd, or keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.