A crisp apple, generously enveloped in creamy caramel, packed with sweet yet mouth-puckering flavor – many of us have experienced the satisfaction of crunching into a Caramel Apple, a classic treat that's fun to eat off a stick or sliced. However, what’s the difference between a traditional Caramel Apple and one that is deemed “gourmet”?
A traditional Caramel Apple is a fresh apple, dipped in caramel, served plain or simply topped with chopped roasted peanuts or candies, affixed onto a wooden stick. This classic Caramel Apple is typically meant to serve 1 to 2 people. It’s the perfect any-occasion dessert.
The best Gourmet Caramel Apples are made similarly to their traditional cousins but are more extravagant, with premium apples and caramel, as well as layers of toppings. Read on as we sink our teeth into this subject!
What Makes a Caramel Apple “Gourmet”?
The key differentiator of a Gourmet Caramel Apple is the level of quality and overall specialness of the ingredients. Our resident experts share what they believe are the tricks to taking a Caramel Apple from standard to extraordinary – Sam Kowalczyk, our Director of Product Development emphasizes upgrading a Caramel Apple by using superior ingredients.
An especially refined palette is not a prerequisite for partaking in this kind of Caramel Apple. It’s merely a delicious dessert option for when you want something extra special. We’ve created this infographic to break down the primary components of a Gourmet Caramel Apple:
Just like a well-constructed house, a good Gourmet Caramel Apple begins with a strong foundation: the apple itself. We prefer to use Granny Smith apples at Mrs Prindables, as they provide a tart foil to the sweet caramel and toppings. This variety is more firm and holds up well when plunged into hot caramel, maintaining its crisp, juicy interior. It can also be fun to experiment with more unusual varieties, such as Fuji apples, which are enormous and have a subtly sweet flavor.
Caramel is the next integral element. For it to be a true Gourmet Caramel Apple, the caramel should be made with real butter, cream, and vanilla, making it especially rich and mouthwatering. Mrs Prindables caramel incorporates bourbon vanilla to add extra depth in flavor. The caramel should have a smooth, chewy consistency, so that the Caramel Apple is easy to bite into. It should never be hard or grainy.
For the pièce de résistance, you have the Gourmet Caramel Apple toppings. Jewel-like pieces of nuts, such as roasted pecans, walnuts, or cashews can stud the exterior of the Caramel Apples. Or, they can be encased in crushed candies like toffee, milk chocolate chunks, or crispy dried fruit. Sometimes, multiple types of crunchy elements can embellish one Caramel Apple to create an even more exciting combination of flavors and textures.
As our Confections Supervisor, Dana Vikander points out, when developing Gourmet Caramel Apple ideas, you can really let your creativity run wild!
A final layer of melted chocolate gives Gourmet Caramel Apples a more polished look. We like to stripe our most popular flavor, Triple Chocolate, in ribbons of milk, dark, and white chocolate. Ultimately, these amped up Caramel Apples are a feast for the eyes as much as the taste buds.
However over-the-top, Gourmet Caramel Apples don’t lack some practicality. Like a classic Caramel Apple, the gourmet version typically includes a narrow wooden stick peeking out where the apple stem would be. Wood is the preferred stick material as it is sturdier than paper, like what's used for lollipops, and holds up to the weight of the Gourmet Caramel Apple. It also functions as a handle to hold when slicing the apple or eating it directly off the stick.
It’s important to note that for it to be a Gourmet Caramel Apple, all the elements should be applied by hand versus a machine. Because it is hand-crafted, an additional level of care is put into making each Caramel Apple utterly divine.
How to Serve Gourmet Caramel Apples
Gourmet Caramel Apples make delicious, edible gifts, they’re also special desserts to serve friends and family or treat just for you. Between the toppings and sheer size of the premium apple itself, Gourmet Caramel Apples can be quite big. At Mrs Prindables, for example, you can find “petite” Gourmet Caramel Apples, while still sizeable at around 8 ounces, and serving 1 to 2 people. You can also get extra-large “jumbo” Gourmet Caramel Apples, weighing around 1.5 pounds and feeding 6 to 8 people. Compare Caramel Apples sizes for yourself!
Although it can certainly be done, a Gourmet Caramel Apple may be unwieldy to eat directly off the stick, especially if it’s exceptionally jumbo-sized. We recommend slicing Gourmet Caramel Apples to make them more manageable to pick up and bite into, you also achieve a more balanced ratio of apple to toppings. Since Gourmet Caramel Apples are more decadent than the traditional version, just a few slices could be enough to satisfy, making it an ideal dessert to share with others.
Because we’re especially passionate about this subject, we’ve published our recommendations for exactly how to cut and serve a Gourmet Caramel Apple. If it has been stored in the refrigerator, the secret is to take it out 30-45 in advance of serving so the caramel warms up slightly, making the Caramel Apple easier to slice. This is also helpful since Gourmet Caramel Apples have thicker and more layers to cut through.
Whether entertaining guests or treating your family to something sweet, Gourmet Caramel Apples make for a delightful end to an evening. These indulgent treats are perfect served on their own, featuring a variety of flavors, they’re also a fun addition to a dessert “charcuterie” platter. Our guide on how to make a sweet & salty snack board breaks down the steps for assembling your own platter, and includes unexpected ideas for what munchies to pair with the Caramel Apples.
Where to Find Gourmet Caramel Apples
Extravagantly concocted Caramel Apples are a staple at many confectioneries across the U.S. If you find yourself craving one but don’t have a source near you, it’s easy to buy Gourmet Caramel Apples online and have them delivered to your door. When arranging a Gourmet Caramel Apple delivery, there is an array of companies to choose from, but it’s important to select one that is more established and easy to communicate with should you have any issues with shipping delays or need change your order.
Another important factor to consider is how the Gourmet Caramel Apples are packaged when delivered. You’ll want to ensure the Caramel Apple company ships them properly with bubble wrap to cushion your treats while in transit, so they arrive in perfect condition.
While traditional Caramel Apples are a delicious anytime treat, when you want something special, go for the gusto with a Gourmet Caramel Apple. Between the quality of the apple, the creaminess of the caramel, and crunch of the decadent toppings, it is sure to fulfill your dessert dreams!
Whether you’re a Gourmet Caramel Apple aficionado or about to try one for the first time, we suggest giving a Mrs Prindables Jumbo or Petite Caramel Apple a try. Having invented the Gourmet Caramel Apple more than 30 years ago, we have perfected our methods. And although we can’t reveal our exact Gourmet Caramel Apple recipe, we can give you a glimpse of our process. Browse our selection of irresistible Gourmet Caramel Apples for sale today!