Homemade Caramel Apples

It just that time of year.  You know.  The time when you can smell the apples ripening on the trees, and there's just that little bit of crispness in the air.  I have to say I am loving it right now.  The colors here in Utah are absolutely AMAZING!!  It has been so dry and hot this summer I didn't think we'd have anything but brown as fall came.  But let me just tell you it is awesome!  There are some red trees above my house that look like they are on fire.  And the yellow Quakies on the top of the hills, are so pretty.  James says it reminds him of Fruity Pebbles:)  It's his favorite cereal.  I like to think of it as the Fireworks of Fall!
This is from our Sunday drive up to Porcupine Dam.  So pretty!
These Caramel Apples have  become a fall favorite at our house.  The best is when you pick some pretty perfect apples from a neighbor or mom, and then cover them in caramel.  Pretty amazing when a store isn't involved at all.  I will confess to making these A LOT one year and gaining about 10 lbs. in a months time.  Not so great for my Ben Lomond Bum, but I've learned to temper my Caramel Apple addiction, and to always give plenty of the beauties away.  Plus when you do give them away, people think you're pretty amazing.

I received this recipe from James' mom and it is originally from his Grandma Clawson.  She lived across from the little school James attended from Kindergarten to 9th grade.  He used to run over to her house many days for lunch and he and his brothers and sisters spent a lot of time there after school.  Grandma Clawson always had something special for the kids.  A big pot of rice pudding, or a big pan of the famous caramel.   I only knew Grandma Clawson for a few years before she passed, but those Clawson kids always talk about time they spent at her house.  She wasn't the warm fuzzy type of lady.  I think showing affection, or even voicing affection was hard for her.  But those kids always knew she loved them.  They felt comfortable there.  Right at home.  And their little bellies were always filled.

So my friends.  Let's talk disclaimers here for these glorious Caramel Apples.  Making homemade caramel isn't hard, but it does take some finesse.  When I first started making these apples a couple of years ago, it wasn't a first time success.  It wasn't even a second or third time success.  It probably took me 5 or 6 tries to get the caramel just right.   Some times I still don't get it just right and the caramel slips off my apples.  Temperature is a huge factor in how the caramel sets.  You want a soft ball set, but if I cooked my caramel to 240' F. which is the soft ball temp. on my thermometer, I would have a burnt, rock hard mess.  It's all about your elevation.

I live at about 5500 ft. above sea level.   I'm pretty high up.  Water boils sooner than the 212' F. boiling point at sea level.   Water boils at my house around 202' F.  Therefore my candy is always done before the standard temperature is met.  You'll just have to play with your temps. if you really want to make these.  Or just email me.  lisa@greatharvestlogan.com.  Or you can just look at the pretty pictures, and go buy a Caramel Apple at your local chocolatier and call it good:)  That might be better for your backside anyways.

I dipped both red and green apple this last weekend, and let me just tell you.  The Granny Smith greens were the best.  So use your favorite apple, and if you don't have apples you can always just pour the caramel into a big greased cookie sheet and cut it into squares and wrap them.  Or my favorite.  Pour the caramel over pecans or almonds and then cut them into squares, and dip them in dark chocolate!  Divine!!  So be brave and give this a try.  Maybe half the recipe, and try out your temps.  Once you perfect this though, you will be a caramel making madman!

Grandma Clawson's Famous Caramel

1/2 c. butter
1 2/3 c. dark Karo Corn Syrup
2/3 c. sugar
1 c. cream
1/2 t. salt

Place all the ingredient in a large heavy pan.   I use a big cast iron pan, or a heavy bottomed soup pot.  You don't want a flimsy pot or your caramel will burn.  Bring all the ingredients to a boil and then slowly add:

1 more c. cream

I asked James' mom the reason for the two additions of cream and she said that if you drizzle the second cup of cream in while the rest of the ingredients are boiling, you get a smoother caramel.  Try to not let the caramel stop boiling while you add the second cup of cream.  

I let my caramel boil away on a medium heat until it reaches 232' F.  and then take it off the heat. (Which would be 240' F. or the soft ball stage if I lived at sea level.)  It usually reaches 233-234' F. by the time the temp. stops rising even when it's off the heat.  This will take about 20-30 minutes.  My caramel boils away at about 210' F. forever and then it finally starts to rise.  Don't worry.  

After the caramel has been taken off the heat I add:

2 t. real vanilla

Stir the caramel until it stops bubbling and then dip your apples.  Each batch of caramel make about 10 medium sized apples, or 6 giant ones.  If there is caramel left over I pour it out onto a greased plate and the kids cut away until it's devoured.


  1. I love caramel apples. I've never tried to make my own caramels for them, but I'm willing to try. What a great Autumn treat.

    1. Carole I hate to say that we ate every last apple by Sat. night, but I promise the next time I make them, I'll bring a couple for you and Mic.

    2. Making the caramel apples for the 2nd time. I bought everything to make them for Halloween and things got in the way. I didn't think the cream would still be good but it was! Hurrah!

  2. Thank you for sharing your recipe

  3. Hi there!
    I decided on a whim to make caramel apples for 70 6th graders. Well, I headed to my computer to google making caramel in Utah. Because after all, attitude or altitude is everything!! That's when I found your lovely website. And imagine my surprise when I see you address with Logan. (I'm in Providence) Then, I put 2 and 2 together and realize we've met! I'm Andrew B's and Sarah B's Aunt. Such a small and wondrous world!! Thanks for posting this. I'm going to experiment tonight...

    1. Hi Barbara!!!! Good luck with the apples!!! You are tackling a huge project! I hope it works for you. I will have to admit that I made a few batches of this caramel the other day, and one of them was a total flop. I think I've mastered something and it still can kick me in the pants! Thanks for the nice note, and I'm glad you said hi! I love Andrew and Sarah!! Maybe I'll see you at Macey's again one of these days:)



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