Inside Out Chocolate Caramel Apples
14 ounces good quality milk chocolate
1 (13.4) ounce can Dulce de Leche Caramel
8 ounces red confectionery coating/candy melts
1/2 dram - 1 dram Apple Flavoring
1-3 drops green food coloring
optional: a pinch of Citric Acid
If you prefer you can use Sour Green Apple Flavor Candy Flavoring Oil instead of the apple flavoring and citric acid.
Wire cooling rack
Plastic wrap and parchment paper
Baking sheet that fits in your freezer
Melt milk chocolate and allow it to cool to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit. (For a detailed explanation of melting chocolate and why using melted chocolate that is too hot will result in oily modeling chocolate, read this tutorial. ) Stir in Dulce de Leche. The mixture will get very thick, but you need to make sure all of the caramel is mixed into the chocolate, so use your hands if needed. Once well mixed, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes. When you unwrap the caramel modeling chocolate, knead it on the counter just until smooth about 30 seconds.
Pinch off a teaspoonful of the caramel modeling chocolate and place in a bowl. Add 1-3 drops of green food coloring and stir until well incorporated and green. Pinch off a small amount of the green colored caramel modeling chocolate and roll into a ball. Flatten and form into a leaf. Repeat to make 4 leaves (not pictured.) Pinch off about 1/2 teaspoonful of the caramel modeling chocolate and mold into a stem. Repeat to create 4 stems. Divide remaining caramel modeling chocolate into 4 balls, roll and shape into an apple. Use your finger to create an indentation on the top of each apple.
Melt red confectionery coating/candy melts. Place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 25 seconds then stir. Heat for 20 seconds and stir vigorously. If not melted, heat for 10 second increments, stirring after each, until melted. Stir in 1/2 dram (1/2 teaspoon) of the apple flavoring and citric acid, if using. Taste it and see if you'd like it to have a stronger apple flavor. If so, add more apple flavoring. Note: If your candy coating gets thick, you can add 1/2 teaspoon -1 teaspoon vegetable oil to thin it out.
Dip the bottom of each apple in the candy coating. Smooth using an offset spatula. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes so that the candy coating hardens.
Set a wire cooling rack over a piece of parchment paper. Set caramel chocolate apple, indentation side up, on the cooling rack. Pour red candy coating over the apple. Tap the cooling rack a few times. This will help the candy coating to run down the sides of the apple. Make sure the entire apple is covered, especially around the bottom. Use a spatula to fill in any places that aren't covered in the candy coating.
Carefully lift the apple using an offset spatula and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Immediately add the stem and leaf to the indentation in the apple. Place in freezer for 8-10 minutes until candy coating is hardened. Repeat with remaining apples. I suggest you freeze each apple as you complete it, as the red candy coating has a tendency to dry with white streaks if left at room temperature for too long. Don't freeze the apples for too long either or they might crack, get sticky, or streak.
You can purchase boxes or cellophane bags to package your apples if you plan to give them as gifts. The apples will keep for at least one month if kept in an airtight container.
To serve, use a sharp knife to cut the apple into wedges, or just take a bite!
If you want to add embellishments to your apple, you can write a special message on the outside of the apple using a food coloring marker. You can also make some decorations out of modeling chocolate and attach them to the apple. How about a worm, or a graduation cap, or even a cute face?
For complete illustrated instructions go to Hungry Happenings.com.
Beth Jackson Klosterboer is the author of Hungry Halloween featuring Movie Monster Munchies, Bewitched Buffet, and Dead Man\'s Diner. She has been a chocolatier and party planner for over 20 years and creates edible crafts which she features on her her blogs, http:www.HungryHappenings.com and http://www.HungryHalloween.com.