the best caramel apples

I shared my new favorite caramel recipe with you on Wednesday, and now it's time to share what I made with it! These caramel apples are pretty much just perfection. I've only ever attempted caramel apples twice before, and both times they were a disaster. This time, though, I really wanted to do them right, so I did some internet research and learned some tricks to make them awesome!

I'm also trying really hard to be less "control freak mom" and more "fun mom" so I thought it would be fun to let the kids decorate their own caramel apples. I set out a bunch of possible toppings and let the girls pretty much just go nuts. They had a blast! It was a really fun activity for the whole family, and the girls kept looking at me like, "Am I really allowed to do this, Mom?"

Abby chose white chocolate for her apple, then topped it with M&M's, butterfingers, and Oreo cookies. Lizzy pretty much just went nuts with the sprinkles and then decided she was done. :)

If you'd like to make your own, here are some of the tricks I learned:

- Make sure your apples are cold. Chilling the apples beforehand will help the caramel stick to the apples instead of sliding off.

- Let the caramel cool on the apples before adding chocolate and decorating. It makes them a lot easier to work with!

- Make your own caramel! It tastes so much better… yum!

- Spread the chocolate on the outside of the apple using a knife or an offset spatula instead of dipping. It makes it a lot easier to get even coverage and prevent a big puddle at the bottom at the bottom of the apple.

This is definitely the way we'll make them from now on!

The Best Caramel Apples

12 small to medium size green apples
12 popsicle sticks or caramel apple sticks
1 recipe homemade caramel (or 2 bags of store bought caramels, prepared according to the package directions)
Wax paper or parchment paper, for cooling

For topping:
Chocolate for melting (I used white chocolate and semi-sweet chips)
Chopped/crushed candy bars and cookies and/or cinnamon sugar

Prepare the apples by scrubbing them clean and drying well. Insert a stick into each apple and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate at least one hour. Make the caramel according to the directions and let cool 5-10 minutes. Dip each apple into the caramel, turing the apple around to coat all side. Let the excess caramel drip off the apple, and scrape a knife across the bottom of each apple to remove the excess. Place the apples back on the baking sheet and let cool to room temperature.

To melt the chocolate, add the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl with 1/2 teaspoon shortening or coconut oil. Microwave at 50% power for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. To decorate, use a knife or offset spatula to spread chocolate around the outside of the apple, leaving a small amount of caramel showing at the top. Sprinkle with desired toppings. (My very favorite is the cinnamon sugar + white chocolate combination!) Let cool completely.

My favorite way to serve them is to remove the stick and slice the apple into quarters, then cut out the core. I then cut each quarter in half to form eight apple pieces that are covered with the perfect amount of chocolate and caramel. Yum!


perfect homemade pizza + tips for family pizza night!

I was given pizza making tools and compensated for my time by Fleischmann's. All opinions are my own. 

If there's one thing my family loves, it's pizza night! My husband Geoff, especially, loves pizza, and my girls think it's a party whenever I make or serve pizza. I love that pizza is so fun and versatile, and you can make pretty much any combination you can dream up! I've been making my own pizza at home for a few years now, but I've gotten kind of tired of the same old recipe. I have especially struggled with the crust and getting that perfect crispy, chewy texture that I love so much. When Fleischmann's offered to send me some pizza-making tools and included their new pizza crust yeast, I was excited to give it a try!


pick your prize giveaway!

I have such a fun giveaway today! One winner will get to choose between three awesome prizes:

a 5 Qt Artisan Series KitchenAid Mixer with Pouring Shield (winner can choose the color) 
an Apple Ipad Mini 16GB Wifi (winner can choose black or white) 
or $275 through paypal

How awesome is that? I've teamed up with some really great bloggers to offer this giveaway, and I would love it if you checked out some of their amazing blogs!

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter below, and good luck!

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