I made the teachers' gifts yesterday afternoon and evening with the help of my elves: Cora, Afton and Kirkham. The caramel apples were so easy to make and turned out fabulous, I think.
From my pantry I pulled white paper cupcake liners, 2 cups of sugar and 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon. I also had some Christmas stickers in my craft supply, left over from last year, that were begging to be used. They decorated my simple hang tags. I used about 50 cents worth of cupcake liners, 36 cents of sugar, 3 cents for cinnamon and I think the stickers cost me $3 but I only used half the pack so, $1.50 for stickers. These, the sunk costs (items already purchased that would have just gone to waste-technically speaking-if I had not used them; IE: previously incurred costs that cannot be recovered), came to $2.39.
Total project cost was $35.47. I made 21 wrapped and tagged caramel apples for a total cost per apple of $1.69 each. What a great deal, a lot of fun AND had enough caramel left over to make 7 more apples (thank goodness I still had 50 cent/lb apples left over from last week) for the family to enjoy. They didn't get wrapped.
To make caramel apples
- Prep your apples by removing stems and stickers, washing and drying the apple and refrigerating for at least 2 hours.
- In a heavy pan or double boiler slowly melt down 1 lb unwrapped store bought soft caramels and 2 T of water for every 5-6 apples you would like to dip. Stir constantly!
- While the caramels are melting down put desired stick into tops of apples pushing clear through to the bottom of the apple. If you are using candy sticks it may be helpful to pre-pierce the apple with a skewer--a pilot hole--and then place the candy stick. If you and the kids are going to enjoy the apples right away consider using a dinner knife instead of a stick. It is easier for kids and adults to hold onto and gives you more control as you dip the apple into the hot caramel.
- Carefully dip the apple into the hot caramel. You may need to tip the pot to get a big enough puddle to rotate your apple through. Let the apple hang over the pot for a few seconds to drip off the extra caramel. You may want to scrape the long drips off with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- OPTIONAL: immediately roll your apple into a prepared cinnamon sugar combination to coat, tastes like apple pie. Or dip in peanuts, chocolate, sprinkles or whatever else you think might be tasty.
- Place dipped and cooling caramel apple into a lightly sprayed cupcake paper and place on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator to cool thoroughly. It is best to keep the apples refrigerated until you are ready to enjoy them. This is because if the caramel warms up it may start to slide off the apple. OH NO!