Every fall, Hundt women, especially the ones with an apple orchard, make homemade caramel for dipping apple wedges using the recipe that came from Jacob’s grandma Kate – a farm wife, talented painter, dedicated journal-keeper, cook extraordinaire, and a mother of thirteen. Having spent most of her life helping her husband Bernie run a dairy farm, she took up painting in her later years, choosing as her subjects the things she knew best – her pantry, her food, and, most notably, her bread. This here recipe is one of the many I inherited from her.
Anyhow, this caramel is smooth and wonderful and is easy to throw together.
And now for the secret ingredient – you might be able to find it at your local food cooperative or on Amazon. Although the original recipe calls for white “light” Karo corn syrup, this imported cane syrup makes caramel especially smooth and adds extra depth to the flavor. But don’t worry if you can’t find any – corn syrup works fine too, and that’s what we used for years.
Next, you’ll need some evaporated milk. Evaporated, NOT sweetened condensed. You’ll also be needing a stick of butter (I used salted) and 2 C granulated sugar.
Now place your butter in a pan, and pour in everything else. This recipe is for a large batch, making approximately a quart of caramel, so be sure your pot is at least 2-quart capacity. Which, by the way, the pot in the photo is not.
Don’t you just love the color of this syrup?
Now what you gotta do is bring everything to a simmer, stirring constantly, over medium to low heat, and continue cooking and stirring first on medium-low, then on low until your caramel is thick enough to form a soft ball in cold water. Do you know what this so-called “soft-ball stage” looks like, by the way?
Here is what you need to do: drip some hot caramel into a bowl (or, in this case, glass) filled with cold water; if your caramel is ready, it will look like in the picture above.
Pour the caramel into designated bowls right away and let cool before serving.
Homemade Caramel for Dipping Apples
Makes 5 C
- 2 C evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed), such as Carnation (you will be needing one regular can and one small can)
- 2 C granulated sugar
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 C Lyle’s Golden Syrup or any light corn syrup
Place all ingredients together in a 2-quart or larger pan, preferably a heavy-bottomed one, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and cooking over medium-low and later low heat until the mixture reaches soft-ball stage (that is, until it forms a soft ball when dripped into cold water). Do not give up on stirring or the caramel will curdle. Pour into bowls, cool and serve with apple wedges for dipping. The caramel will thicken as it cools.