Have you seen the size of caramel apples lately?
No question, they are beautiful and I'm certain they are delicious. But how many people really are going to sit down and eat such mammoth sugar bombs, never mind feed one to their kid?
Which got me thinking about ways to capture that delicious blend of apples and caramel in a smaller, less guilt-inducing package. I've tried this before, actually. I once used a melon baller to scoop out perfect balls of apple, then stuck them on sticks and tried to coat them with caramel. It was a fine idea that didn't work. The caramel wouldn't adhere to the flesh of the apple (only the peel).
The problem was the moisture. The solution was simple — get rid of the moisture. This also resolved my size issue.
Instead of coating whole fresh apples, I decided to thinly slice them and turn them into chips. It's a painless process, especially if you have a mandoline. The slices get baked low and slow until dried and slightly crisp. Once they cool, they are easy to dunk or coat with all manner of sugary treats.
I opted for a trio of coatings — caramel, white chocolate and dark chocolate. But you could use whatever candy coatings you like. Candy melts (sold at craft and baking supply shops) are an easy choice. They also come in a wide variety of colors, so you can create seasonal treats. And while the coatings are still tacky, you also can decorate with candy sprinkles.
CARAMEL-CHOCOLATE APPLE CHIPS
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (45 minutes active)
1 large apple
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Half of a 14-ounce package caramel candies, unwrapped
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup white chocolate bits
1 teaspoon shortening
1/2 cup dark chocolate candy melts
Heat the oven to 250 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.