When is an apple not an apple? When it is a pumpkin gourmet apple!
Hang with me… It’s a great idea. I promise!
When our family was trying to pay off debt or saving money for Christmas, I would often work through the fall creating gourmet apples to sell to friends. Each gourmet apple would be dressed as a character and one of my favorites was the pumpkin.
Designer Pumpkin Gourmet Apple
- Granny smith or red delicious apples (Best price is $0.99/lb or under) ~ The granny smith has a better shape for decorating but some people prefer the red delicious taste. Choose apples that are of a medium size. Over-sized apples require more caramel and chocolate. Small apples have a lower resale value.
- Wooden dowel sticks ~ Popsicle-style sticks come with the caramel but I use the rounded sticks made for candy apples. You could use either. You can find a great deal at Amazon.com.
- Caramels ~ I use Kraft caramels, individually wrapped in the candy aisle, as they are cheaper than the caramel bits in the baking aisle. You might also choose to use caramel sold in bulk but I am unfamiliar with it.
- Waxed or Parchment Paper
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray
- Nuts ~ I give my customers a choice between pecans and peanuts. You can buy a large container of salted party peanuts at Amazon.com for just $0.17 per ounce with the Subscribe & Save option. I chop my nuts very fine using a Pampered Chef Food Chopper but a food processor might also work well. Just do not over chop or you will have dust.
- Milk Chocolate Morsels AND Chocolate-flavored Almond Bark (Candy Coating) OR Ghirardelli Chocolate Melting Wafers ~ See Step 6 for details. The best place to buy the Ghirardelli Chocolate Melting Wafers is at a wholesale club like Sam’s although it is also available at Amazon.com.
- Orange Candy Coating
- M&Ms in orange, brown, and/or red
- Milk Chocolate Morsels
- Autumn Leaves Sprinkles
- Tootsie Rolls
- Jumbo Cupcake Liners ~ I place the finished apples on white jumbo cupcake liners, flattened, before wrapping in cellophane.
- Cellophane ~ I recommend the 20-inch width because it is easier to cut. If you can only find 30-inch width, you will have to cut it in half.
Step by step instructions for Pumpkin Gourmet Apples
Wash the apples well and dry. Push craft sticks into the apple at least one full inch for stability.
Microwave the contents of the entire bag of caramels (unwrapped) with two tablespoons of water on HIGH for one minute. Stir well and repeat in 30-60 second increments. The caramels will continue to melt from residual heat as you stir between heating so make sure you are stirring very well. Do not overheat! You can get about 5 apples from one bag of caramel.
Spoon the caramel over the entire apple and then scrape the bottom two inches off. Place on waxed or parchment paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and allow the caramel to slide down the apple. (I normally microwave my chocolate at this point.)
Roll the bottom half of the apple in FINELY chopped nuts, pressing the nuts into the caramel if needed. Place apples in the refrigerator to allow the caramel to set. If the caramel slides, just reshape the apples before dipping chocolate.
Step 5 (Optional)
To give the apples more of a Snickers taste, I used to add a layer of white chocolate before the milk chocolate but stopped because if expense. You can find white chocolate morsels in the baking aisle or purchase Ghirardelli White Melting Wafers at your local Sam’s Club or Amazon.com.
For the milk chocolate, I use Ghirardelli chocolate or half milk chocolate morsels and half chocolate-flavored almond bark/candy coating. The bark helps the chocolate dry faster and smoother. The chocolate can be melted in the microwave like the caramel, but make sure your tools are all BONE DRY. Just a small driblet of water will make your chocolate seize up. Same thing will happen if you overheat it. So stir it well at 30-second increments and let it melt as you stir.
Allow the chocolate to cool for about two minutes. Then, spoon the chocolate over the apples. Shake the apples gently to allow the excess chocolate to dip back into the bowl. (Some nuts make fall into the chocolate.)
Melt orange candy coating and allow to cool slightly, stirring frequently to keep the candy coating from setting. Spread the orange candy coating over the milk chocolate layer. You will need to work quickly because the milk chocolate will melt. Sprinkle with leaves and place in the refrigerator until set.
Pipe milk chocolate faces and vines on the pumpkins. Use milk chocolate to attach a Tootsie Roll as the stem and M&Ms as the eyes and teeth.
Refrigerate until completely set. Then, wrap in cellophane and secure with a ribbon.