Caramel Apples

GAPS legal caramel apple

It looks just like a "regular" caramel apple, but tastes way better!

Going to a parties where they can’t eat anything is hard on our kids. No chips, no cake, no candy, no ice cream! I try to always send them with a treat besides just dried figs and dates. Sometimes it’s coconut flour brownies and sometimes it’s coconut macaroons. For Halloween, though, we needed something a little more special to help them keep their paws out of the candy bowl!

Which is where caramel apples come in! Not only are they GAPS legal, I made enough of them for kids to share so they weren’t quite so left out. I used the caramel recipe from Internal Bliss, the GAPS cookbook. One batch made more than enough for 15 small apples plus some leftovers that I wrapped in wax paper to have on hand Halloween night.

Any apples will do for this recipe, really. I had some small Fujis that, when covered in caramel, went from meh to AWESOME.

Joy here – I’m adding a few notes to this recipe in italics since people have been asking some questions and Kelsy made the recipe and made them the last couple times. I just made a batch and the kids are happy with the results!

Caramel Apples

makes enough for 15 apples plus leftovers

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups honey
1/2 cup ghee or butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup water
15 or so apples (I used Fujis, but any apple will do, really)
coconut oil, ghee, or butter for greasing pan

Directions:

  1. Heat all ingredients in 3 qt saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until boiling.
  2. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture reaches just over 250 degrees F – hard ball stage. It will bubble up when you stir it – be fearless, though. The bubbling will subside when you stop stirring. If it doesn’t, take the mixture off the heat for a few seconds to restore sanity. It will take a looooooooong time for the caramel to be ready. Everyone’s stovetop is different so yours might need to be turned up a bit higher than medium.
  3. In the meantime, stab all of your apples with popsicle sticks (the kind from the craft store are fine). You want the stick to be about half in the apple, half out. Also cut fifteen 4″x4″ squares of wax paper to set the dipped apples on. Also grease an 8″x8″ glass baking pan. (Getting to 245 degrees over medium heat takes a while) Because I got a thicker coating than Kelsy did, I actually used two medium ramekins for my extra caramel.
  4. When the mixture has reached firm ball stage, turn down the heat so that the caramel is just simmering. You want it hot so that it sticks to the apple. hard ball stage, remove from heat.
  5. Make sure your apples are clean and completely dry. Dip each apple in the hot caramel, turning it so that all of the surfaces get covered. I tipped the pan so it would be deeper, then as I pulled the apple out of the caramel, I continued to turn it until the caramel moved more slowly before setting it down. Set each apple on a square wax paper to cool. Puddles will form under your apples, but the apples will still be coated and the extra caramel is delicious! To reduce puddling, store the apples in the refrigerator.
  6. Once you have dipped all of your apples, pour the remaining caramel into your prepared 8″x8″ pan or ramekins and stick it in the fridge. When it’s cool enough to handle, you can wrap it in little squares of wax paper or just hack off chunks and eat it.
  7. Enjoy!

This post is featured in the Momma’s Lounge Autumn Blog Hop and Fresh Bites Friday on Real Food Whole Health and Tasty Tuesdays, Monday Mania, Seasonal Celebration, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Cybele Pascal, Fight Back Friday.

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28 comments to Caramel Apples

  • Hey there! I’ve been GAPS-ing for a couple months now, and I was excited to stumble upon your blog and this recipe. How did you get the sauce to thicken up? I followed the directions exactly, took everything to the firm ball stage with a candy thermometer, and when I cooled it off it was still the consistency of water. I heated it back up to boiling for about 20 minutes to let it reduce like a traditional sauce and when that still didn’t work I cooled it to room temperature thinking it might thicken as it cooled. No such luck! It just made the apples a bit shiny but for the most part ran right off. Any suggestions?

    • Joy

      We have no idea what happened! We used full fat canned coconut milk, maybe that’s the difference. Also, you say “firm ball” stage, but we took it all the way to the “hard ball” stage. It does thicken and get more solid as it cools but was never the consistency of water for us.

    • Joy

      I just made another batch and have updated the recipe to hopefully address your problem. Hope it helps, and thanks for letting me know about the problem!

      As I was cooking the caramel it was very thin, and then not super hard when soft. But it did stay on my apples and cool to a soft caramel consistency that stayed on the apples without a problem.

  • Kathy

    Hi! Love the recipe. How appropriate! Takes me back to when I was a kid :)

    I’m wondering what canned coconut milk you use? Is it GAPS legal? I heard there are some out there but don’t know which. Thanks!

  • Angel

    I have recently been lamenting the fact that it is almost impossible to find caramel that doesn’t have corn syrup in it. I love caramel and caramel apples are just divine. Thanks so much for reminding me that I can make my own and not just simply go without.

  • Rochelle

    Thanks for posting this! My kids will be so excited. I’d like to make it for a friend’s son who has dairy allergies. Can I substitute coconut oil for the butter?

  • Kathy

    I’m wondering what canned coconut milk you use? Is it GAPS legal? I heard there are some out there but don’t know which. Thanks!

  • Hi Kathy, I just happened to come across this post today and saw your question and wanted to say that I’ve been using Natural Value which has recently started using BPA-free cans and their product is coconut and water, no guar gum or anything else. This is the product I use – you can see it at Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000LKVIEG/?tag=kitchenlib-20

  • Mrs. Mom of 6

    Tried your recipe today. Took the caramel to the hard ball stage, but it never got to “hard candy” like consistency. However, I was REALLY happy with the results… I got a soft caramel on the apples; and in the pan, after the fridge it was a firmer soft caramel. Very tasty. I think you could add vanilla extract after you reach the right temp.

    For us, we boiled this baby about an hour, and had to turn the temp up from “medium” to “medium High”. But you should have seen my GAPS kids’ eyes light up! REAL candy! They were so happy!

    Its halloween, and they got real halloween food. Thanks so much for this recipe!

    • Joy

      I’m glad your kids liked it. That feeling of getting real halloween food is precious!

      I’m sorry you had a little trouble. I’ve gotten some feedback that people had a hard time getting the caramel hard enough/to not slide off apples so I just made a batch and updated the instructions a bit!

  • Nicole

    This looks great! But can I substitute agave for the honey?

    • Joy

      I haven’t tried it, as I don’t use agave. I imagine it would work with a one to one substitution.
      We don’t use agave because it is high fructose, which is hard on the liver. Agave nectar has more fructose than high fructose corn syrup! It’s touted as a traditional sweetener, but the processes used to manufacture it these days doesn’t resemble traditional processes at all. I like this post from Real Food Forager about why she doesn’t use agave nectar.

      • Nicole

        I didn’t know that. Thank you for the information. Are there any other sweetners that can be used. We need something with a low glycemic index since we are diabetic. Honey spikes our blood sugar.

        • Rochelle

          Coconut Sugar might work, but I don’t know what the substitution ratio would be.

          • Joy

            I haven’t used coconut sugar, but I do know that it is usually subbed for granulated sugar at a 1:1 ratio. Since we used honey and honey is usually half the amount of sugar used, I’d use twice as much coconut sugar as honey. You’d probably need to increase the water a bit, too.

        • Joy

          I’m not sure what would work best. Probably one of the evaporated sugars at a higher amount. Here is an article listing the various sweetener options (note, they are NOT all low-glycemic-index!!!). I was not surprised to see that it said raw honey (which we use) has a lower GI than pasteurized honey you get in the store.

          I don’t think stevia or xylitol would work well in this kind of recipe. I think this is one of those times when you’re going to make a call… caramel apples are (should probably be) a “sometimes food” anyway. Is having the sweet worth the downside of having to watch for/treat for a blood sugar spike or the downside of metabolizing the processed fructose? It’s your choice.

  • Rae

    hi,
    my son and i are just beginning… we’re on stage 2, in intro to GAPS. when we get to the baking stage, are stevia or xylitol acceptable? haven’t seen them in recipes, and because my son also has candida, i want to avoid any sugars as long as possible.

    thanks,
    rae

  • Lynn

    Just made these….so easy, so tasty. My caramel was super thick and dark (I think I over cooked it because I didn’t have a thermometer)….but still stuck to the apples great and tasted good! Def making this one again, thanks!!

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