Chocolate, Caramel, and Pecan Dipped Apples…12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweets

I was in Dallas two weeks ago for a library-related conference.  Our hotel connected to the Galleria, so everyone morning we’d all meet at Starbucks for our morning jolt of caffeine.  En route, we had to pass the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, so every morning for 3 days, I looked at these in the display case. 

Immediately, I had the idea to make them for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweet Treats!  Gluten-free, delicious, fun, and healthy – well, there is an apple buried under all of that chocolate, you know. 
Not realizing that a small apple would be more practical, I bought the biggest apples I could find – extra-large Honeycrisp.  Learn from my experience – don’t use a sweet apple – go for tart – Granny Smith would be perfect.  They were yummy with the Honeycrisp, but I think they would be outstanding with a tart apple. Use a small apple, not gargantuan.  Much more dainty and infinitely more attractive.  Be patient, as it takes a little practice.  Be sure to allow the excess chocolate to drip into the bowl, as you can see, I didn’t allow enough “drip time” and the excess chocolate pooled into a large puddle.

These were great fun to make, and even with my mistakes, my apples were a terrific treat, and I think they’d be a perfect addition to a holiday dessert tray.  The Honeycrisp apples do have a terrific crispness and flavor, but they are a bit too sweet to complement the caramel and chocolate, be sure to use a tart apple.  Andrew snubbed these, although he did say that if I skipped the caramel and nuts, double-dipped the chocolate, and rolled the apples in M&Ms, he might taste them.  Brett ate one wedge, and suggested that white chocolate would be better.  Co-workers, however, loved them!  So will you!

Chocolate, Caramel, and Pecan Dipped Apples
4-6 small tart apples
14 oz bag caramels (I used Kraft)
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1 tablespoon water
2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
Lollipop sticks or craft sticks

Rinse apples in warm water, then dry thoroughly and remove stems.
Insert lollipop stick into core and set aside.
Line a baking pan with parchment or foil; be sure to spray foil with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
To toast pecans, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast pecans for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately toss pecans with melted butter, then sprinkle on Kosher salt.
When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop, pour into a shallow dish, and set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine unwrapped caramels and 1 tablespoon of water. 
Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until caramel is melted and smooth.
Dip apples into caramel, using a spoon to pour caramel over apples.
Place caramel-coated apples into pecans and roll until covered as desired.
Place on prepared sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Some of the caramel will slide off – just mold the caramel and pecans back around the apple.
After the apples have chilled, combine chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons shortening in a large microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until chips have melted and chocolate is smooth; alternatively, you can place chocolate and shortening in a double-boiler and melt.
Dip caramel coated apples into chocolate, using a spoon to assist with the coating.
Place on prepared sheet and chill until chocolate is firm.
To serve, remove lollipop stick and sliced into wedges.

Linking today’s post to the following terrific blogs!
These Chicks Cooked
Cast Party Wednesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Let’s Do Brunch
Made From Scratch Tuesday
What’s Cooking Wednesday
Wow Me Wednesday
Delightfully Inspiring Thursday

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