These homemade chocolate caramel apples are dipped in salted caramel sauce, drizzled with melted chocolate, then sprinkled with toasted pecans and flaky sea salt!

Chocolate caramel apples with branch as a stick

I have this thing for caramel apples…a pretty serious thing.  If I go to a candy shop, there are two things I can’t resist — almond toffee and caramel apples.  

I normally like my caramel apples with chopped almonds or peanuts, and chocolate certainly doesn’t hurt either.   The thing is, most of the time the apple itself is mushy or too tart or just straight up unworthy of the luscious caramel it’s coated in.

I finally took matters in my own hands and made my own homemade caramel apples, so I can scratch this item off of the old bucket list. 🙂

For years I’ve wanted to make caramel apples, and I had no idea how easy it is until I started reading up on it!

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • The chocolate caramel apples can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator before serving.
  • The combination of homemade caramel sauce, melted chocolate, and pecans add so much flavor and texture to the apples.
  • Any leftover caramel sauce can be made into caramel candies or served as a dip!
Homemade caramel apple with chocolate drizzle and pecans

Recipe ingredients

I’ve always been a big fan of the turtle combination, and I was so excited to try it on these chocolate caramel apples.  

Needless to say, this was one delicious combination — luscious caramel, melted chocolate, toasted pecans, and flaky sea salt with a tart-sweet super fresh Granny Smith apple.  Addicting…yes!   

Ingredient notes

  • Apples. I prefer using Granny Smith apples, but any crisp, tart apple will work.
  • Bourbon. You may omit the bourbon from the caramel sauce, if preferred. However, the hint of bourbon makes for the best best caramel apples!
  • Flaky sea salt. I added salt to the caramel sauce and also sprinkled some on top of the apples. You need that pinch of salt to balance out the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate.
  • Corn syrup. For an extra dark caramel, you can use dark corn syrup as well as dark brown sugar.

How to make this recipe

I can hardly contain myself around these, and you can bet they’ll be happening a lot more often. Here’s an overview of how to make caramel apples.

  1. Place the apples on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment, and press popsicle sticks firmly down into the apple through the stem.
  2. Fill a heat proof bowl with some ice water for an ice bath and set aside.
  3. Place the cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, bourbon, and sea salt in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Heat until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F, or softball stage.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and place in the ice bath, stirring until combined for about 1 minute.
  5. Remove from the ice bath, and begin dipping the apples in the caramel.
  6. Place the apples in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes until set, then remove.
  7. Melt the chocolate, then place in a zip top bag and snip off just a bit of one corner.
  8. Drizzle the chocolate over the apples, then sprinkle with the pecans and sea salt.
  9. Let stand at room temperature or in the refrigerator until set.
Front view of chocolate caramel apple

FAQ’s

What are the best apples for caramel apples?

I love using Granny Smith apples for my caramel apples because the tartness is the perfect balance with the caramel. You can use your favorite apples, however, because this caramel is so delicious, there’s no going wrong here.

Can this recipe be made in advance?

Yes, you can prepare this homemade caramel apple recipe one day in advance. Stored the apples in the refrigerator before serving. Bear in mind that the chocolate will gray over time as it is not tempered.

Recipe notes

  • You do need a candy thermometer to make the caramel for the caramel apples, but this recipe is not intimidating whatsoever. It’s no-fail, super simple stuff here.
  • The caramel hardens quickly. When that happens, all you need to do is heat it over low heat for a minute or two, stir it, and get back to dipping.
  • If you have leftover caramel sauce, you can make caramels or just use it as a dip!

More apple dessert recipes:

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Homemade caramel apples with chocolate and almonds

Homemade Turtle Caramel Apples

These chocolate caramel apples are dipped in caramel sauce, drizzled with chocolate, then sprinkled with toasted pecans and flaky sea salt!
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Ingredients

Apples:

  • 4 Granny Smith apples mine were small-medium sized
  • 4 ounces chocolate chips melted
  • 1/4 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped
  • flaky sea salt for garnish
  • 4 popsicle sticks or branches

Caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed (I used light)
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup I used light
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon optional
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Instructions 

  • Wash the apples and dry thoroughly. Place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment, and press the popsicle sticks firmly down into the apple through the stem. Fill a heat proof bowl with some ice water for an ice bath and set aside.
  • Place the cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, bourbon, and sea salt in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Heat over medium to medium-high heat, stirring just until all the ingredients are combined. Heat until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F, or softball stage.
  • Remove the pan from heat and place in the ice bath, stirring until combined for about 1 minute.
  • Remove from the ice bath, and begin dipping the apples in the caramel. When removing the apples, let the excess caramel drip off for a few seconds, then place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the remaining apples. If the caramel begins to harden, simply heat for a minute or so until it softens. Reserve remaining caramel for caramel candies or dip.
  • Place the apples in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes until set, then remove.
  • Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl set in a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Place the warm chocolate in a zip top bag and snip off just a bit of one corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the apples, then sprinkle with the pecans and sea salt.
  • Let stand at room temperature or in the refrigerator until set. Store leftover apples in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

  • Total time above includes setting time for the caramel and chocolate.
  • I used the tree branches for my photos alone and did not use them for dipping as there were too many bark particles to deal with even after cleaning the branches. If you’d like to use the branches, just plan to dip the apples with popsicle sticks first.
  • For an extra dark caramel, you can use dark corn syrup and dark brown sugar.
  • Apples can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator before serving. Bear in mind that the chocolate will gray over time as it is not tempered.
  • Recipe very loosely adapted from Chow.com.

Nutrition

Serving: 1caramel apple, Calories: 810kcal, Carbohydrates: 116g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 41g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 83mg, Sodium: 735mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 107g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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