Kids can enjoy making caramel apples with your help.
Caramel apples can be fun to make any time of year, not just in the fall. Messy? Yes. Sticky? Yes. Super-sweet? You bet. You've created pretty much the kid cooking trifecta for your miniature chefs. They'll love making caramel apples, even if you have to hose the kids -- and the kitchen -- down when they're done. Plan ahead to make sure you've got everything close at hand, since you'll have to help the kids work quickly when working with melted caramel. The extent to which you'll have to help depends on the ages and numbers of kids involved, but all but the youngest ones will be able to do most of this activity themselves.
1Tell all the kids to wash and dry their hands before this, and any other, cooking project.
2Tear off lengths of the wax paper the size of the plastic trays. Help the kids lay the wax paper flat on the plastic trays and show them how to coat it lightly with the vegetable spray.
3Ask your cooks what type of toppings they want on their caramel apples. Some might want them plain, others might choose to add chopped nuts, candy sprinkles, flaked coconut or crumbled cookies. Select three or four and put each topping in a separate flat dish. Set the dishes aside.
4Unwrap the caramels and put them into the glass bowl. Put a spoonful or two of milk into the bowl with the caramels, then microwave on high for 10 to 15 seconds. Carefully remove the hot bowl from the microwave and let one of the children stir the melting caramels with the wooden spoon. Return the bowl to the microwave for additional 10-second cooking intervals, stirring after each one, until the caramels are completely melted and mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more milk and heat for another 10 seconds, then stir.
5Clean and dry the apples completely to help the caramel stick to the apples better. Give the kids heavy weight plastic forks and show them how to stick the tines of a fork into the center top of an apple to make a "handle." The kids can use craft sticks as an alternative to plastic forks. Make sure their handles are firmly stuck into their apples so they don't fall off.
6Hold an apple by the handle and quickly dip and roll it in the melted caramel to coat the whole apple. You might have to tip the bowl slightly so the kids can get the top of the apple coated. Then show them how to slowly twirl their apple over the bowl to allow excess caramel to drip off. Dip the coated apple into the desired topping, then place it carefully, with the handle pointing straight up, onto the greased wax paper and let it dry. Let each kid dip his own apple in the caramel, one at a time, then into the toppings. Place the apple on the wax paper.
7Help the kids clean up the dishes and the counters while the apples set. You can put the trays into the refrigerator if you want the apples to set more quickly. Keep a damp washcloth or some paper towels handy when the kids are eating their apples, because your little apple makers are guaranteed to end up with some pretty sticky hands and faces!
- Keep the apples in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them, since the caramel adheres better to colder fruit.
- Don't offer chopped nuts as a topping if any of the children has a nut allergy.
Things You'll Need
- Plastic trays
- Wax paper
- Vegetable cooking spray
- Various toppings: sprinkles, candy bits, nuts
- Small, flat dishes
- Microwave safe deep bowl
- Square caramel candies
- Wooden spoon
- Small whole apples, any variety
- Heavy duty plastic forks