I don’t know if there is a better ingredient for fall than caramel. Its ooey gooey-ness is easily found from Halloween to Christmas – and for me, there is always something so comforting about warm caramel. Orson H Gygi recently sent me the largest brick of artisan Peter’s Caramel that I had ever seen and asked me to create whatever I wanted with it. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was caramel apples – because they are one of my favorite treats. However, since kicking off HBN Cocktail Club, I also thought incorporating caramel into a fall cocktail would be awesome.
Is anyone else totally intimidate by candy cooking?
For some reason, I always feel like it should be super hard. I have only made homemade caramel sauce once, and I was overseen by my good friend Tiffany (@FoodFinery) at every step. I am pretty sure that is the only reason it turned out. But, I have always wanted to be THAT FRIEND – the one that brings the homemade and super impressive creations to the party. To me, a beautiful caramel apple is exactly that. What I love about Orson’s caramel is that the most difficult and intimidating part was done – the caramel was already created. I just had to melt it (which, let’s be honest, can also be intimidating!).
I bought the most beautiful honey crisp apples I could find – apples were right at the peak of their season, so that was helpful. All the caramel in the world won’t make a taste-less apple any better. 😉 I also picked up some slivered almonds, mini chocolate chips, and Halloween colored sprinkles. I was, after all, taking these homemade treats to a Halloween party! But don’t fret – if you take a few of caramel apples to Thanksgiving, people will love you.
The caramel was easy to melt. I decided to forgo the stove all together and followed the microwave instructions for melting caramel. It was still a process, but it worked. It was also easy to re-heat the caramel after it started cooling off. One minute on high, and then another minute at half power did the trick.You’ll have to do this several times, adding more caramel when needed.
After the caramel was hot, I simple rolled the apples into it, covering all sides and the bottom. This took a bit of practice – and my last apple definitely looked better than my first. One key trick: keep rotating the apple in a circular motion after covering it in caramel so that it cools a bit before placing it on the wax paper…this helps eliminate the “feet” – or the caramel pooling once the apple is set down. But let’s be honest, there isn’t too much wrong with a pool of caramel – ever. 🙂
Then, simply roll the caramel apple in whatever topping you like! I found that layering the candy in a pile on the wax paper, and then rolling the apple over it was the easiest. I started by dipping the apples into bowls of almonds, chocolate chips, or sprinkles, and that was much more difficult! You learn something new everyday, right?
A few days later, I got the caramel back out for some cocktail experiments.
What I came up with I call, Heartbeat Nosh’s Crisp Apple Caramel Smash!
First, gather your ingredients:
Apple Juice or Sparkling Apple Cider/Juice
Second, melt a small amount of caramel (less than 30 seconds in the microwave should do it – and be careful, it is easy to burn in small amounts). Then, with a spoon, drizzle the caramel on the walls of your cocktail glass.
I used Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Juice, so I added that after shaking. If you want some effervescence, use something sparkling! Who doesn’t like a little bit of bubbles? Or, if you have a juicer and want something super fresh, this cocktail would be amazing with freshly pressed apple juice. I have a juicer – but I wanted bubbles. Priorities, friends.
Then, simply garnish with an apple or lemon wedge. YUM!
This cocktail is pretty amazing and PERFECT for fall. The whiskey and apple juice pair so wonderfully and the lemon brings just a hint of citrus, making it a bit lighter. The caramel, of course, adds a note of sweetness – making this a great dessert cocktail as well. In fact, pair this with some pumpkin pie or a caramel apple, and you’ve got yourself a pretty perfect ending to the day.
Thanks to Orson Gygi for providing me such a great ingredient! You can pick up a brick of Peter’s Caramel at their store or online! On the website, you can also find a ton of great cooking ideas and trinkets…definitely worth checking out!
Happy Fall, friends! I hope you are entering a wonderful season of holiday cooking. 🙂
Orson H Gygi Store
3500 S 300 W, Salt Lake City