There are a lot of things about this October that are different — masks of a much different sort, for one thing. With harvest festivals and haunted houses on hiatus, and trick-or-treating in limbo, we are longing for some simple fall pleasures — like juicy apples. Halloween isn’t all about picking pumpkins — after all, Wenatchee is the “Apple Capital of the World,” and apples are the top agricultural product grown in the state. So, in honor of the awesome apple, here is your guide to picking, dipping, and celebrating the No. 1 fall fruit.
Simple Salted Caramel Apples
Cookbook author and 425 contributor Danielle Kartes did her due diligence when developing the best caramel apple recipe a couple of years ago for 425 magazine. It was a tough job, but her family happily obliged.
“We tested so many recipes for these apples, and in a blind test, individually wrapped caramels won out each time over homemade caramel,” Kartes said. “The caramel is stable and takes on flavors perfectly. I added heavy whipping cream, flaky sea salt, and a touch of hazelnut liquor for the adult apples. And who needs store-bought wooden sticks when you can use an elegant apple branch?”
Here’s her recipe, as seen on the cover. And we are happy the “easy” way was the better way.
- 6 organic or farm-fresh apples (no wax)
- 6 cleaned and trimmed 8-inch long branches
- 20–25 (usually in a bag) individually wrapped butter caramels (we liked Kraft brand the best)
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1–2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (optional and for the grown-ups)
- Sea salt to taste (optional)
- 6 squares natural parchment paper
Unwrap the caramels, and melt them slowly with the heavy cream in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Watch this carefully, and stir frequently.
Prepare your apples. Using a paring knife, slice an X that is at least 1-inch deep at the top of each of your apples. Being careful to not break the branch, shove it into the X. The branch should become a sturdy-enough handle to dunk and hold the apple with.
Once your caramel is melted, remove from the heat and add sea salt and liqueur, if you like. Gently dunk each apple into the melted caramel, and, using a spoon, drag the caramel up the sides to coat the entire apple. Lift above the caramel to let excess caramel drop off, and repeat for a thicker shell.
Place the finished apple onto the parchment square to cure for at least an hour. Repeat this process for the rest of your apples. Finish with a light sprinkle
White Chocolate Caramel Apples
425 contributor and Northwest style expert Monica Hart loaded branches with caramel apples that are double dipped with melted packaged caramels (recipe is on the back of Kraft caramels) and a swirl of white chocolate after that.
“Once (caramel is) cooled, swirl the apples in a second layer of melted white chocolate, and perch on a DIY pedestal. The base is made of real cut birch, topped with a simple white plate and decorative parchment.”
Poison Pink Candy Apples
Hart also created these hot pink sweet treats — any time we can incorporate pink into our Halloween decor is a win!
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 ¾-ounce bottle white food coloring
- 1 ¾-ounce bottle pink food coloring
- 4–6 apples
Lightly grease a rimmed baking tray with cooking spray. Line the greased tray with parchment paper. Grease the parchment. In a heavy stovetop pan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and food coloring and bring to a boil. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches hard-crack
Remove from heat and, quickly dip and swirl your apples in the mixture.
Place apples on the greased parchment paper to cool.
Grab a Basket and Pick Your Own
NW Bloom’s South 47 Farm in Redmond will offer u-pick apple picking by reservation through Oct. 17.
Swan Trails Farms in Snohomish features Honeycrisp and Jonagold ripe for the picking.
Issaquah’s Gilman Boulevard is lined with fruit and nut trees. In fall, you can pick a variety of apples.
Curran Apple Orchard in University Place offers acres of free apple picking.
Apple Fritters, Ciders, and Pie, Oh My!
Head to Olympia for Lattin’s Country Cider Mill & Farm. The fresh apple fritters are worth the drive and, of course, the cider! Also find farm animals, pumpkins, and more! Make it a day trip.