Caramel apples are a classic fall treat, making them with family and friends can quickly become your favorite autumn activity. Here are some tips, tricks, and fun ideas to throw a create your own caramel apple party!
You can decorate your table with some farm-style fall décor, or go all out for a spooky Halloween! I used red tablecloths and gold wire baskets. I was on an office budget this year but if I were doing this for myself I would incorporate fun items such as hay bales or wooden crates to add some height to the table with plaid or gingham linens or burlap. Scattering other items such as leaves, pinecones, and acorns add whimsy while chalkboard signs provide guidance at the tables.
What you will need:
- Triple Slow Cooker– each crockpot is 1.5 qt. these are perfect for several groups working at different tables.
- Store-bought caramels – I used Kraft Premium Caramel Bits, about two bags per 1.5 qt crockpot
- Heavy cream– about 1/4 cup per bag
- Apples – Granny Smith is a popular choice because its tartness balances out the sweetness of the caramel and toppings. But practically any type of apple will work. This year we used a variety of apples from my bosses farm.
- Sticks – I used chopsticks for this they were a nice long length and very sturdy and Target had them in stock. If I had more time I’m sure Amazon has some good options, but everything I was finding at the stores was much too short.
- Ice Cream Bowls– I used these for your toppings, you can find them on Amazon, but I got mine at Party City. I also got a pack of fancier disposable spoons to help coat the apples with topping.
- Trays & Cupcake Liners- I used foil cookie sheets from the dollar tree, these came as two packs. One tray served as a great way to catch any spilled toppings. The other tray held cupcake liners to dry the finished apples, and could also be used to transport the apples home at the end of the party.
- Toppings – have fun with this, I searched Pinterest for some inspiration and narrowed it down to six toppings. But don’t be afraid you can customize these with optional toppings to make each apple over the top and unique. I used:
- Pretzels– pulse in a food processor a few times to get small enough pieces for coating.
- Peanuts-pulse in a food processor a few times to get small enough pieces for coating.
- Heath Crumbles
- Graham Crackers + Cinnamon– pulse these together in a food processor until you get a nice crumb mixture.
- Sprinkles– I was short on time so I got a standard color mix from Target but if you search on Amazon you can find some really fun Halloween types. This is where planning ahead really pays off
- Shredded Coconut
Prepare your stations:
To help protect our party during COVID, I set up a table for each family group to help with social distancing. Even without COVID protocols, setting up stations helps to speed along the process.
- Apples: Rinse and thoroughly dry apples, I had a dozen or so ready to go at each table in gold wire baskets.
- Sticks: I kept the chopsticks in their packages and had them available for people to stick their own apples as they went.
- Toppings: I prepared each topping the night before and had them measured out into smaller containers and covered with cling wrap. I also filled a big Ziplock bag with extra of each topping so I could replenish the cups as the party progressed.
- Prepare pan to rest apples on: Layout some cupcake liners on one of your pans so your guests can rest their completed apples to harden.
- Make your caramel sauce: Each small crockpot had two bags of caramel bits and 1/4 cup heavy cream. It takes about an hour on high to melt, remember to stir often to avoid burning. I had cork trivets ready at each table to place the crock pots on during the party.
Making Your Apples:
- Stick it: I recommend not sticking the apples ahead of time in order to save any leftover apples.
- Dunk it: Dip apples one at a time into caramel on an angle so it covers nearly to the top center (or all the way to the top if you don’t care to have apple showing through). Rotate and turn to coat apple. Lift your apple and let excess caramel run off, use a stick to scrape off any access sauce and the bottom of your apple.
- Top it: immediately roll in toppings (or sprinkle with toppings) before caramel sets.
- Set it: Set your apple aside to harden. placing your apples in the fridge for a few minutes can also speed the process along.
Putting together a caramel apple bar is easy and a great way to welcome fall. It’s a fun activity for kids and adults alike — and a tasty one too! Remember to get creative, make it your own and enjoy!