Caramel apples deconstructed…awesomely

It’s Halloween and I have been craving the traditional caramel apple. I like the idea of a caramel apple. It looks so tasty and brilliant. I mean, come on, food on a stick? Does it get any better? But the actual eating of a caramel apple, not as much fun as it sounds. It is messy and it is sticky. And while it has the awesome notion of being on a stick, it is an apple on a stick. A banana on a stick works. A hot dog on a stick works. But an apple? Not so much. Immediately following the thought of apple-y goodness covered in caramel is the question, “does anyone have a damp towel I can use?”

So how to enjoy the beauty of a caramel apple without the mess? Easy, deconstruct it. Turn a simple dessert designed for children into an adult treat of apples with dulce de leche. And because this is Living a la Mode, we will create this wonderful treat by taking something very ordinary and, with one small change, render it extraordinary. And that one something ordinary? A can of sweetened condensed milk.

Now how does one take a can of sweetened condensed milk and turn it into dulce de leche? Magic. Oh, and a big pot of water. Now before I let you in on this secret please allow me to state….the following is not considered the proper way to use a can of sweetened condensed milk. If you choose to proceed, remember, you are working with contents under pressure and in a way that whoever manufactured your milk would strongly disapprove of. Basically, proceed at your own risk. Funsies!

Now, first remove the label from the can. Place the can in a large pot and fill with water. Make sure the water covers the can by a few inches. Bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water begins to boil lower the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for about 3 1/2 hours. Every now and then take a look to make sure the can remains covered in water. After 3 1/2 hours, remove the pot from the stove, carefully remove the can with some tongs and allow it to cool to room temperature. I usually do this in the evening before I am going to use the dulce de leche but since it is canned you can prep the milk well ahead of time.

Now, here is the fun part. Open the can. I do this by turning my head and most of my body away from the can as I pierce the top with a can opener. Contents under pressure and all. Then, once the lid is cut, remove the top and ta da!!!!!

I know!

And the most wonderful thing about this recipe? It is way cheaper to purchase a can of sweetened condensed milk than a jar of fancy, dancy dulce de leche. And as we have established so often on this blog, I have champagne taste on a beer budget. Or more appropriately, I have dulce de leche tastes on a sweetened condensed milk budget. But if you prefer not holding your breath and wondering if that can’s integrity is not compromised, go with the already made in a jar. I like living on the edge myself, at least when it comes to caramel.

Next, slice up a few apples. Many recipes for caramel apples recommend Granny Smiths. The tartness of the apple is a nice balance for the sweetness of the caramel. I prefer Fuji and Gala apples myself so I say go with what you like.

Finally, chop up some salted peanuts. The addition of salted peanuts is divine. Apples, caramel, salt, peanuts….yum. I have an old coffee grinder I use to chop nuts when I need them chopped to a fine consistency. I recommend chopping the nuts fine so they cling to the caramel and not drag it off the apple.

That’s it. So simple. So sweet. So a la mode. Enjoy!!!!!

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10 thoughts on “Caramel apples deconstructed…awesomely

  1. This is BRILLIANT! I love it! And are the pics yours? Also, love! By the way, have you discovered the deliciousness of a honeycrisp apple? Probably a little to sweet for this recipe, but a treat nonetheless. Great post!

    1. Thanks! And yes, the pics are mine. I think coming up with the photos is as much fun as coming up with the posts. If it does not say photo via pixmac/photographer than the pic is mine. I think all my photo friends have rubbed off on my.

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