September 25, 2008

Vegan Caramel Apples

Today was our day for apple picking at Blake's Orchard. With Alex's dairy allergies it requires planning ahead to have the complete experience of caramel apples and donuts, so I made up some caramel apples yesterday to bring along. We had a great time picking apples, pie pumpkins and raspberries. Though no luck on getting any unpasteurized cider.

I'm still working out some of the details with using this caramel to coat apples. When the apple skins are smooth the caramel has trouble staying on overnight. You can do what I do and smoosh it back up or you can try refrigerating the covered apples. You can also make the block of caramel and remelt it and cover the apples shortly before serving. I was crazy for caramel pre-Alex and I really think these hold up in a taste test to real dairy caramels. Give them a try!

Vegan Caramel
Ingredient proportions from The Glad Cow Cookbook
Makes ~100 pieces of caramel candy, will coat ~8-10 apples

1 cup margarine*
2 cups sugar
2 cups soy milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 t vanilla
*Optional: Add 1 tsp salt if using unsalted margarine

-Line an 8 inch x 8 inch pan with parchment or cover a baking sheet with parchment and ready your apples and sticks. You can cover a few apples and then place the remaining caramel in any parchment lined container to set up and make candies. I use a loaf pan for the extra caramel when covering apples.
-Place the margarine, sugar, soy milk and corn syrup in a large saucepan (4qt capacity minimum)
-Bring ingredients to a boil stirring continually.
-Cook over medium-high heat while continuing to stir until candy reaches 248 degrees F. (243-5 for softer caramels)
-Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into lined baking pan. If coating apples then let allow the caramel to cool for a minute while still stirring and then start coating. After you coat the apples place them in the fridge or eat them as soon as they cool.
-Allow the caramel in the pan to cool completely. Snip into pieces using clean kitchen shears that you wipe or spray with oil (or slice with a knife). Wrap individually with waxed or parchment paper. Makes ~100 pieces
Variation: Cook to 230 degrees F for caramel sauce for ice cream/cake. Store in a covered container.

I'm adding this to the Living with Food Allergies Blog Carnival. Look for it and the other entries at The Allergic Kid on October 2nd.

This dairy-free recipe is kitten approved.


VeggieGirl said...

Looove apple-picking!! And OH MY GOODNESS, those vegan caramel apples (hooray!) look SUPER luscious and divine.

Haha, Abbie is sneaky!! ;0)

Nowheymama said...

These look so great! I can't wait to try them!

Joelen said...

Yum! Way to get into the fall season! :)

JennShaggy said...

These look great too :) I'm going to use the recipe to make vegan sea salt caramels.

Sandra Gordon said...

Excellent! I've been wanting a dairy-free carmel apple for ages and this is just perfect. Thanks for posting!

Hillary said...

Haha, the picture of the cat is so cute. We have an awesome caramel apple recipe too. Nice vegan recipe!

shellyfish said...

Oh apple picking and vegan caramel apples??? Oh how delicious. I was just thinking I haven't had a caramel apple- or a pomme d'amour as we call them here - in ages.

I can't wait to try this!

Upright Ape said...

I found your post through Food Gawker. How long do the caramels last if stored in an airtight container? I am having a fall vegan wedding (in 3 weeks) and think these caramels would be soooo perfect, but I would want to make them ahead of time, of course. Would they store for a week? Two?

Maggie said...

VeggieGirl: The apple picking was a lot of fun. My son liked the haunted house there the most. Abbie is dreadfully sneaky. You can't turn your back on food with her around.

Nowheymama: I hope you get a chance to try them.

Joelen: Fall is my favorite season.

JennShaggy: I have done some with fleur de sel on top and they are outstanding.

Sandra Gordon: You're welcome. I looked forever to find a recipe without soy creamer (I don't care for the taste).

Hillary: The chocolate decorated apples you have are gorgeous. I've used this to dip pretzels into and then drizzle with chocolate but there weren't anywhere near as pretty.

shellyfish: I hope you get a chance to make them. It doesn't feel like fall without at least one caramel apple.

Upright Ape: Congratulations on the upcoming wedding. I’ve kept wrapped caramels for well over a month with no change in texture or flavor at all. I would definitely recruit a big group of friends for cutting and wrapping them all, it’s a time consuming process. I buy packs of precut cellophane from Candyland Crafts to wrap mine. They also have cellophane bags for sale.

Upright Ape said...

Thank you! I will do a small batch this weekend to make sure I don't mess things up :)

Jo said...

Those look amazing Maggie... I'm not at all vegan, but I'm tempted to try these... they sound so good!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Ohhh that apple loos just perfect! Look, even your cat thinks so!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, yummy! These look good! I love your cute cat!



Jennifer said...

Ah, I love cooking with apples at this time of the year. I definitely need to check this out...

I just posted on a recipe of mine for baked good!

Juliet said...

Yum! I've never thought about making my own caramel!

Evia said...

Hi! I love caramel apples, but I'm the unlucky vegan who is allergic to soy; would rice milk work in this recipe?


Maggie said...

upright ape: I'd love to know how they work for you.

Jo: After my inital experiments making dairy-free caramel with soy creamer I was sure it couldn't be done but these really are great. I've given them as gifts to non-vegans who loved them.

Clumbsy Cookie: She's always got to check to see if things are tasty.

Rosa's Yummy Yums: Thanks!

Jennifer: I love baked apples. My grandmother Margaret used to mix cinnamon red hots and borwn sugar in hers and they were awesome!

Juliet: It's not something you can walk away from once you start but candy making is a lot of fun. I hope you give it a try.

Maggie said...

Evia: I've never tried making them with rice milk. If I were going to try to make it soy-free I would probably start with a "milk" with more fat and protein. Almond milk or hemp milk might be a better substitute because they both have a higher proportion of protein and fat. I think coconut milk would also work but it has a LOT more fat and so the amount of margarine might need to be cut. I might go ahead and try a batch with almond or hemp. What kind of margarine do you use? You could try to substitute that with coconut oil. Let me know if it works (or doesn't work).

once in a blue moon... said...

abbie is a little heart stealer~

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

What a great recipe. I had a "little bit" of trouble because I didn't read the instructions throughly and didn't have the right thermometer. If you like, you can laugh at my misadventure with your wonderful recipe here:

I will make this again (Correctly!) :)

Thanks for sharing such a fantastic DF recipe!

Maggie said...

once in a blue moon: Yeah, she has me completely wrapped around her paw.

Becky: Your boys are adorable!! I'm so glad they liked it. My husband was the one that created my mission to make good dairy-free caramel for our allergic son.

I had a disaster the the first time I made the caramel too. The recipe I had didn't say anything about stirring so I just stuck a candy thermometer in it and waited for it to get to the correct temperature. The whole bottom was one big scorched mess but the caramel on top tasted great.

You can make it without a candy thermometer and test the consistency in a glass of ice water. Just drop a glob of caramel in the ice water to check to see if it's cooked enough. When it's ready it should feel a little firmer than play dough.

Jamie Kaufmann said...

oh my, i found you and this recipe through boys rule my life and yUM! i've never made caramel before but this worked like a charm. i made it more saucy at 230 degrees. after going in the frig, it's the perfect consistancy for dipping apples. my three year old dairy allergic son is all about "dipping" so this is a hit. thank you so much! i'm going to have to check back for more great recipes. i posted a link to this on my blog. thanks again!

Angela's Kitchen said...

I am a daring baker too and was looking through the threads and found your link to caramel. It is almost exactly how I make caramel, but I didn't remember were I got the original proportions from. I bet it was the same book! Thanks for putting it on your site, so now I can credit it! Your caramel looks great! I use coconut and almond milk in mine...

SNL said...

Just found your recipe in time for apple season - thanks so much for posting this! My 3.5 year old is also allergic to dairy and I've been trying to figure out how to introduce him to one of my fall favorites

Ashley said...

Oh my god, I love you. We just made these tonight, and they are FANTASTIC. My British husband had never had one, and he is now a caramel apple convert. I've never seen corn syrup in the UK, so I used golden syrup, which seemed to work just fine. We covered 4 apples, and poured the rest of the caramel into a loaf pan, covered it in pecans, and tomorrow we're going to cover it in melted chocolate. The flavor of the caramel goes soooo well with the pecans, I can't imagine how good it will be with chocolate! Thank you so much for the recipe, we'll be making it again and again!

Anonymous said...

Using a vegetable peeler to roughen the apple skin may help the caramel to stick. :)

FoodAllergyMom said...

Just wanted to say thank you! I've had this recipe saved in my favorites for an entire year now and every now and then I see it and say "oh, I need to remember to try this recipe when I have some free time" here I am a year later and still hadn't tried it. Well, tomorrow my daughter's class is having apples and caramel dip. I just made it and I have 3 children licking all of the utinsils and pot clean. Wonderful recipe, thank you so much!

Heather K said...

I was so excited to try this recipe, but it was a total bust for me. First I used too small of a pot(against the instructions in the recipe) and had to transfer to a bigger pot. Then I think my candy thermometer wasn't working properly because it was boiling for probably 15 minutes and didn't ever reach 248, finally I had to turn it off because the bottom was starting to burn and the caramel is tasty but way to hard to eat. Bummer! Looks so good in the picture!

Maggie said...

Heather K: I'm sorry you had a hard time with the recipe. If you are interested in trying this again there are two things to remember:
1) It will take over 15 minutes to reach 248, usually 25-30 minutes. It's just not a quick recipe.
2) During this time you do have to stir the mixture occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom. I don't stir constantly but do so at least once every 30 seconds making sure I scrape the bottom well.

Good luck!

Jen said...

OMG so yummy! I just made these, bit into my apple and had to take a break to write a comment.
AWESOME recipe. My little guy has multiple food allergies and hasn't had a caramel apple before. He'll be so excited when he gets home from school! You are my hero!

kitchen pantry storage cabinet said...

These look so yummy! I can't wait to try them!

Leila Wood said...

I have made caramel professionally for years. I look forward to trying your version.
Thanks, Leila