Vanilla Bean Caramel Dip with Sliced Apples

I was recently chosen as a winner of a cookbook & brownie mix giveaway on Vanilla Sugar.  It was really cool to win this wonderful giveaway because Vanilla Sugar is one of my favorite blogs.  Dawn is seriously talented in the kitchen and creates the most amazing food with awesome combinations of flavors and textures.  Be sure to check our her site!  Anyway, I received a box of brownies (that I can’t wait to make) and two cookbooks, Baked & Baked Explorations both by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  Let me just tell you, these cookbooks are the best baking cookbooks I’ve ever seen.  Literally every recipe is drool worthy.  Thanks for the wonderful giveaway Dawn!  xoxo

I wanted to try something from the cookbook Baked first.  I chose a recipe that would be fairly simple to make and would use ingredients that I had on hand.  I thought the vanilla bean caramel dipped apples would be a perfect after school treat for my little ones!  I have never made caramel before so I was a bit nervous.  It smelled so amazing while it was cooking that  I was almost swooning.  Seriously.  Anyway, I followed the instructions but I think my candy thermometer must not work well or it could be the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, regardless, the caramel turned out so delicious but it didn’t “set”.  When I dipped the apples into the caramel, it basically just slid right off.  It was much too thin to coat the apples.  I didn’t know what I should do since I have no idea what “set” caramel should look like.  Before I threw everything away in frustration, I tasted the vanilla bean caramel.  Words can’t express how amazing this stuff tastes!  I could NOT throw away something that was so scrumptious!  I decided to slice up the apples and serve the caramel on the side as a dip.  My kids were THRILLED with this after school snack.  They didn’t care that the apples weren’t on a stick and they both kept saying (and moaning) that it was so delicious.   I can’t wait to try making this again in hopes that I will actually do it correctly next time.  Does anyone have suggestions on how to tell if the caramel is ready for dipping apples into it?

If you make dipped apples, remove the stems of the cleaned apples, then set them on a parchment lined baking sheet a few inches apart.  Insert a skewer about three quarters of the way through each apple.  If you want apple slices, clean the apples but wait to cut them into slices until right before serving.

Put the cream in a small heavy pot.  Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and using the tip of the knife, scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the cream.  Add the vanilla bean to the cream as well.  Simmer the cream over a very low temperature for 10 minutes.  Do not let the mixture boil.  Remove from the heat and pour the mixture through a very fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove the vanilla bean and any loose fibers.

Place the vanilla cream back into the pot, then add the sugar, corn syrup, and butter making sure that the mixture doesn’t splash up onto the sides of the pot.  Place the pot over very low heat and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium high heat and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pot.  Heat the caramel mixture, without stirring, to 245 degrees F.

Meanwhile, put a few handfuls of ice into a large bowl, big enough to fit the pot you are cooking the caramel in.

When the caramel mixture reaches 245 degrees F. (and stays there for at least 1 minute), remove from the heat and place the pot on top of the ice for 30 seconds to slow the cooking. Remove the pan from the ice.

If your caramel is cooked correctly and is setting, tilt the pot toward you to create a big pool of caramel.  Immediately begin dipping the apples into the caramel.  Dip each apple only once, and don’t worry about coating it evenly or completely.  Return the caramel-dipped apples back to the baking sheet and refrigerate until the caramel is set, about 10 minutes.

Side Note: If your caramel has not set properly, your apples will look like the below apples do.  Still tasty, just not a good dipped apple.

If  you want to use the caramel as a dip then slice the apple into wedges and serve the warm caramel as a dipping sauce.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy.

 

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Vanilla Bean Caramel Dip with Sliced Apples

Yield: 4

Prep Time: 10 min.

Cook Time: 15 min.

Total Time: 25-30 min.

Ingredients:

4 skewers (optional)
4 small gala apples, cleaned & stems removed
1 cup of heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of light corn syrup
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

Directions:

If you make dipped apples, remove the stems of the cleaned apples, then set them on a parchment lined baking sheet a few inches apart. Insert a skewer about three quarters of the way through each apple. If you want apple slices, clean the apples but wait to cut them into slices until right before serving.

Put the cream in a small heavy pot. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and using the tip of the knife, scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the cream. Add the vanilla bean to the cream as well. Simmer the cream over a very low temperature for 10 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture through a very fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove the vanilla bean and any loose fibers.
Place the vanilla cream back into the pot, then add the sugar, corn syrup, and butter making sure that the mixture doesn't splash up onto the sides of the pot. Place the pot over very low heat and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium high heat and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pot. Heat the caramel mixture, without stirring, to 245 degrees F.

Meanwhile, put a few handfuls of ice into a large bowl, big enough to fit the pot you are cooking the caramel in.

When the caramel mixture reaches 245 degrees F. (and stays there for at least 1 minute), remove from the heat and place the pot on top of the ice for 30 seconds to slow the cooking. Remove the pan from the ice.

If your caramel is cooked correctly and is setting, tilt the pot toward you to create a big pool of caramel. Immediately begin dipping the apples into the caramel. Dip each apple only once, and don't worry about coating it evenly or completely. Return the caramel-dipped apples back to the baking sheet and refrigerate until the caramel is set, about 10 minutes.

If you don't want to dip apple slices instead just slice them into wedges and serve the warm caramel as a dipping sauce. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Adapted recipe by For the Love of Cooking
Original recipe from Baked New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

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24 Responses to “Vanilla Bean Caramel Dip with Sliced Apples”

  1. 1

    Martha — May 22, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    Congrats on the win! This sounds like a delicious treat! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again :)

    [Reply]

  2. 2

    Laura O — May 22, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

    I think the measurements may be off on your recipe. I don’t see it posted here so I’m not sure what they are – but try less cream, more butter, and substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar if you want a stronger caramel flavor. Don’t add the cream until the sugar/butter/corn syrup mixture is at the soft ball stage on your candy thermometer. Then add the cream and whisk into the sugar mixture, then bring back to a boil and remove once it reaches the hard ball stage. Hope that helps.

    [Reply]

    • Pam replied: — May 22nd, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

      Thank you so much Laura – that totally helps!

      Cheers,
      Pam

      [Reply]

  3. 3

    Mary — May 22, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

    That dip sounds HEAVENLY! I love the addition of the vanilla bean. Did you plan to include the recipe or not this time?

    [Reply]

    • Pam replied: — May 22nd, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

      I did plan to include it but I forgot! Thanks for the reminder Mary.

      Cheers,
      Pam

      [Reply]

  4. 4

    Kris — May 22, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

    Wow Pam…it all looks and sounds so good!!! I have a serious sweet tooth, and I would love all of this!!!!
    Hugs,
    Kris

    [Reply]

  5. 5

    Diane — May 23, 2012 @ 12:19 am

    Lucky you wining those cookbooks, they do look fun. Love the sound of the dipped apple, yummy. Diane

    [Reply]

  6. 6

    lenia — May 23, 2012 @ 1:57 am

    This sounds so delicious!!!xxx

    [Reply]

  7. 7

    SEVİL — May 23, 2012 @ 2:13 am

    Harika cocuklar icin ve hep cocuk kalanlar icin

    [Reply]

  8. 8

    Kim in MD — May 23, 2012 @ 4:43 am

    I have the book, Baked, and I love it! I’ve never made this caramel recipe, but I make caramel (with great success) all the time. At first glance, your caramel doesn’t look like it’s dark enough- mine is always amber colored while I would call your caramel a “blonde” color. After reading through the recipe, I realize that this recipe is quite different from my recipe (and most caramel recipes) in that this recipe starts off with the cream, sugar, corn syrup and butter combined and then boiled to 245 dgrees. With most caramels, you boil the sugar and water together until it is about 245 degrees and amber color, and then you add the cream, vanilla, etc. at the very end. This results in a nice, thick caramel. That said, I looked up the recipe in the Baked book to see the photo of the caramel apple. The Baked caramel looks very thin in the photo, unlike traditional caramel, but it is definitely amber in color. So my thoughts are that your thermometer is off, and you should have cooked your caramel a little longer. Since you aren’t adding cold cream at the end (which stops the cooking process and prevents the caramel from burning), I would suggest cooking your caramel to a light amber color before putting the pot into the bowl of ice, as I think it will continue to cook a little more in the ice. I hope this helps, Pam! Now- may I suggest the second recipe you make from the book should be THE Baked Brownie. It’s amazing! :-)

    [Reply]

  9. 9

    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — May 23, 2012 @ 5:13 am

    Congrats on winning the giveaway! And these apples look AH-MAZING! I should definitely make them and bring them to work – it will be the perfect pick-me-up when I’m just waiting for the clock to hit 5PM!

    [Reply]

  10. 10

    Jenn's Food Journey — May 23, 2012 @ 5:26 am

    What a great little giveaway win! I do love anything vanilla… the apples and dipping sauce look incredible!!

    [Reply]

  11. 11

    vanillasugarblog — May 23, 2012 @ 5:28 am

    So happy you love the book.
    Too bad the sauce didn’t set up
    Caramel is tricky and it’s all about timing really.
    And also a good pan for even cooking.
    Thank you XOXO for the mention.
    Love you girlie!

    [Reply]

  12. 12

    Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook — May 23, 2012 @ 5:48 am

    Nice win, those are great cookbooks! Love the idea to use it for sauce instead of dunking the whole apple. I’ve had that pool of caramel before. Great solution.

    [Reply]

  13. 13

    Carmen Rosa — May 23, 2012 @ 8:01 am

    This sounds so sweet and delicious !!!

    [Reply]

  14. 14

    michelle — May 23, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    HI there
    I have not used this recipe but when I make carmel or toffee I use a brown paper bag as a guide for the color. I do not even use a thermometer. Just keep cooking until it is the color of a paper bag. I actually get out a bag for comparison.
    Hope this helps
    Michelle

    [Reply]

  15. 15

    Blond Duck — May 23, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    I’d probably drink it out of the pot and scald myself.

    [Reply]

  16. 16

    gloria — May 23, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    This look delicious I love apples!

    [Reply]

  17. 17

    Joanne — May 23, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

    (a) Dawn is the BEST.
    (b) Those are my two favorite baking cookbooks of all time! Make the sweet and salty brownies. And the grasshopper bars. Just do it.

    [Reply]

  18. 18

    Jennifer — May 24, 2012 @ 6:46 am

    Caramel is my arch nemesis. I can’t get it to set up because it beats me every time, but I’m not going to give up. I’m glad you found a good use for your not-set caramel. I bet it was delicious on the apples.

    [Reply]

  19. 19

    Angie@Angie's Recipes — May 24, 2012 @ 11:23 am

    Congratulations on the win!
    The dip looks yummilicious!

    [Reply]

  20. 20

    grace — May 24, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    you don’t have to be a kid to love a caramel apple! bravo to you–great post.

    [Reply]

  21. 21

    Words Of Deliciousness — May 24, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

    You were lucky to win such a nice prize. The dip looks wonderful.

    [Reply]

  22. 22

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