I always love a good caramel apple during fall, but the following two things run through my head while eating one:
- I’m totally NOT going to finish this whole thing, because I’ll hate myself! and
- I finished the whole thing. And now I hate myself.
But I have a solution! A way to enjoy everything you love about candy apples, in more “bite-size” portions. You simply slice up some apples, put out a few toppings, and melt some caramel, and you’re in business!
Why This Recipe Works
These are so good, and great for kids to do! And they really can be the ideal treat if you are hosting a party, whether for kids or adults.
And the best part? No one’s counting how many pieces you had, and since you’re using your own homemade caramel, no one will chip a tooth 😉
Ingredients for Caramel Apple Slices Bar
The materials you’ll need to make these candy caramel apple slices are:
- 1 large package (or 14 ounces) Chewable Caramels (I like these because they are made with coconut sugar and are organic)
- a handful of large marshmallows
- optional: 1/2 cup coconut milk or 1/4 cup unsalted butter (if you want to thin the sauce out a bit)
- apples, preferably organic (see my tip in the video about removing pesticides)
- wooden sticks, or lollipop sticks (from any craft store or Amazon)
- assorted toppings: chocolate chips, sprinkles, crushed cookies, pistachios… the possibilities are endless!
A Quick Tip: How to Remove Pesticides from Apples
Before we get into the how-to of this candy caramel apple bar, I wanted to share a quick tip. We went apple picking with our kids and used the apples from the orchard, but we know it is not an organic farm. If you’re like me and are concerned about pesticides, and are using apples from an orchard that may have sprayed, there’s a trick to remove many of them.
The trick is to soak them in a solution of water and baking soda. Consumer Reports did a study on this (you can read it here), and they claim: “Submerging apples in a baking soda solution for two minutes removed more pesticides than a two-minute soak in the bleach solution, or two minutes of rinsing in running tap water. But it took 12 to 15 minutes in the baking soda solution to completely get rid of the pesticides used in this study.”
The solution they used was 1 teaspoon of baking soda per 2 cups of water. You submerge the apples in the solution, and soak for 15 minutes. You can soak them while you’re preparing your caramel sauce. Rinse with water, and enjoy!
How to Make the Candy Caramel Apple Slices Bar
First, make your caramel sauce. Unwrap your caramel candies and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute (uncovered). Stir, then add the marshmallows, and microwave for 1 more minute. Stir, then microwave for 30 seconds, repeating this process until marshmallows are melted and your caramel sauce is easy to stir. Whisk in butter or coconut milk (if using) until combined.
Alternatively, you can use a double-broiler, like I did here. Fill a pot 1/4 of the way with water and place over medium-high heat. Then, set a glass bowl that fits snugly inside of it, and add the caramels to the glass bowl. (The boiling water beneath it will heat the caramels in the glass bowl.) Stir every few minutes until the caramels have melted, then add in your marshmallows, and stir occasionally until the sauce is melted and smooth.
While your caramel sauce is melting, get your toppings ready. You can use mini chocolate chips, crushed cookies, chopped pistachios, sprinkles, mini marshmallows, crushed pretzels, coconut slices…so many things you have in your pantry will work great! I used a muffin tin with muffin liners for easier clean up, as you can see below, but you can use small bowls or small dishes as well.
Cut apples into slices, careful to remove the stem, core and seeds. Gently push sticks partially into the bottom of each slice, leaving enough room on the stick to handle them.
Now you can start dipping! Grab an apple on a stick, dip it in the caramel sauce, and then swirl it around in a topping of your choosing.
You can make these and eat them right away, or store them in a piece of parchment paper in your refrigerator for a snack to enjoy later. If you are having a party, you can create a sliced caramel apple bar, leaving your toppings out and allowing your guests to dip and self-serve. It’s a lot of fun! Think fondue setup, but for caramel apples 🙂
Once these are dry and have hardened, you can put them into treat bags for a snack for your child’s class. Or, you know, just devour these puppies on a Tuesday for no apparent reason 🙂 Enjoy this festive treat!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What toppings work best for the candy caramel apple slices?
Answer: You have so many options here! And I bet you have tons in your pantry already. I’ve found the toppings that work best are small, or can be cut or crushed into small pieces. Larger pieces tend to be too heavy and fall off the apples. So, for small items, think mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, finely crushed oreos or other cookies, and finely chopped nuts. So many possibilities!
Question: How do I store the leftover caramel sauce, and how long does caramel sauce keep in the refrigerator?
Answer: You can store the caramel sauce in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 2-3 weeks. It will harden in the fridge, so when you want to use it again, you can reheat it in the microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring in between, until it is smooth and easy to stir.
Question: How long will the apples keep in the refrigerator?
Answer: Sliced apples in general don’t keep for too long in the refrigerator, so if you plan on making these ahead of time for a party, I would do it from no longer than the night before. They brown and get mushy, and you want your apples to still be nice and crunchy when served. If you are creating a caramel apple bar for a Halloween party or fall party, slice the apples a few hours in advance, squeeze some lemon juice on the slices to keep them from browning, and store them on sticks in an air-tight container. You can set them out right before the party and let guests dip and serve.
Question: What else can I use the caramel sauce for?
Answer: So many things! You can swirl it on top of ice cream, drizzle it over your favorite pumpkin bread, or stir it into any of your favorite fall baked goods. We like to drizzle it on top of banana pancakes. So good!
If you are looking for more fun fall foods, try my Fall Spice Cake, Pumpkin Chia Pudding, or my Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Ravioli. And if you make this recipe, let me know how it went in the comments!