Apples store for a long time and are a wonderful source of long lasting local food here in Michigan. Caramel Apples are fun for the family to make together, topping them different ways, and making caramel suckers with the leftover caramel. This is Rock River Lunch Bag's recipe for caramel apples made with local apples and local honey. You can cut twigs off of local trees for the sticks.
1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Butter
2 Cups Packed Brown Sugar
1 Cup Local Honey (you can substitute some or all with corn syrup)
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 teaspoons Organic Vanilla Extract
10 Large or 16 Medium Apples washed & dried, sticks inserted through the top & all the way through
5 Extra Sticks for Suckers
Chopped Almonds, Pecans, Peanuts
Chopped Fair-Trade Chocolate
Organic Evaporated Cane Juice (Sugar)
Anything else you can think to stick on it!
Heat butter, brown sugar, and honey on medium-high heat in a heavy pot till it begins to boil. Add can of condensed milk. Turn heat back to medium and cook till 248 degrees or soft ball forms when dropped into water. This may take 20 minutes or so. Add the vanilla. If you can dial your stove down to very low, you may. This helps keep the caramel warm while you coat the apples.
Tip the pot to an angle if necessary and dip each apple, rolling in the caramel. At this time, you may sprinkle with sea salt, sugar, chopped nuts, chopped fair-trade chocolate, etc. to embellish each apple after you complete its caramel. The caramel sets quickly, so it's helpful if there are two of you working through dipping and sprinkling or rolling in toppings.
When you've coated as many apples as possible, drop tablespoonfuls of caramel onto parchment paper and press sticks into the circles of caramel to make suckers.