I don’t have time for messy, fussy, homemade caramel apples. And purchased ones are simply not very fresh and so ridiculously big that they’re hard to chomp. That doesn’t mean I don’t hanker for the perfect flavor combination of apple and caramel.
So last night I came up with inside-out caramel apples. It’s so simple that I’m sure others have thought of it long before me.
Here’s my method. I used the smallest apples I could find, in this case nice crisp Empire apples we picked a week ago. After washing them, I carefully cored each one about three-quarters of the way down (careful to leave the stem end intact) and scraped out any seeds.
I set the number of apples we’d need for a cheery autumn dessert in a oven safe pie dish, added enough water to cover the bottom, and baked them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. The idea is simply to soften the apples a bit, not make them mushy. While my kids set the table for dinner I unwrapped caramels and carefully stuffed several into each apple. Since the fruit I used was small I only managed to fit two caramels in each opening. Larger apples could easily accommodate twice that number.
I returned the pie dish to the oven and let it bake until the caramels were wonderfully melted, another 10-15 minutes. Too long and the goo will bubble up and exit the apple opening, too little and the caramel won’t be enticingly melted.
Oh my. The caramel flavor permeated the fruit, making each bite delicious. My kids tend to prefer things plain and simple, but these treats beg for customization. If you’d like, add cinnamon or nuts or peanut butter or any other inspiration along with caramel as you fill your apples. And consider eating them with a creamy scoop of ice cream on the side. Yum.