A few weeks ago, I had the chance to go to Stribling Orchard with my friends Olga and Julia.
It was a gorgeous fall day, the air was crisp but not too cold. The orchard is beautiful. The trees were full of fruit. Several types of apples were available. Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Rome, and York were ready to pick.
We had fun picking the fruit, and taking photographs. I couldn’t believe how many apples were sitting on the ground.
The great thing is that you can pick apples of all sizes. I specially like small apples for making caramel apples. Salted roasted peanuts go really well with the salted caramel, but you can use any nuts you have on hand.
To make the caramel apples
• 1 cup salted vanilla bean caramel (recipe below)
• 5 small apples
• About 1 ½ cups roasted salted peanuts, chopped finely
1. Line a small flat tray with parchment paper
2. Place the peanuts on a flat plate
3. Wash and dry the apples, remove the stem.
4. Use craft sticks or chopsticks, insert one into the stem end of each apple.
5. Melt the caramel over low heat in small saucepan
6. Dip one apple into the caramel, turning in the caramel to coat. Let the excess drip. Roll the apple on the plate with the peanuts, and lightly press peanuts on the apple with your hand.
7. Place apple on the parchment lined plate. Repeat with other apples. Refrigerate until set.
Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel
• 1 vanilla bean
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
• 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces (12 tablespoons)
• 1 tablespoon flaky sea salt, I used Maldon
1. Cut the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise. Scrape the seeds, and add to the heavy cream, whisk well, and set aside.
2. Place sugar on a large, wide, heavy saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium heat until it starts to melt. Add the 1 teaspoon light corn syrup, and start to swirl the sugar around so that it melts and browns evenly. Watch the caramel very carefully. It can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds.
3. Once the caramel is dark golden brown, add the butter pieces and whisk to incorporate.
4. Remove from the heat, and add in the heavy cream. Be careful, the caramel will bubble up. Whisk until smooth. Add in the salt and stir well.
5. Let it cool before storing in a large mason jar, or other glass container.