New This Month

Celebrate Fall with a Dip-Your-Own Caramel Apple Bar

Bring on the toppings! It's all treats and no tricks at this sticky-sweet dessert party.

There's just something special about digging into a sticky and sweet caramel apple during the fall season!

 

I love entertaining friends and family during the holidays and having a caramel apple party is a great alternative to your typical Halloween party and an easy one too. Plus, the idea of having everyone coming together to create their own caramel apple creations is so much fun. Here are some tips, tricks, and fun ideas to create your own do-it-yourself caramel apple bar!

Party Prep

You can decorate your table with rustic fall décor, or go all out for a spooky Halloween! I used a rustic red tablecloth, burlap runners, tin canisters for my toppings, and incorporated a fun hay bale to add some height to the table. Plaid or gingham linens, leaf crafts, pinecones and acorns, wooden crates, and chalkboard signs would all be welcome touches at this table.

Creamy Caramel

For big gatherings, I use a slow cooker to heat your caramel and keep it warm for dipping. This makes it fun for everyone to get involved, and keeps you from standing next to the stove during the duration of your party.

Acing Apples

Before dipping your apples, be sure to wash them, remove the stems, and remove all produce stickers in advance. Use a scrubbing brush or pad to remove the wax off of the apples. Having a clean apple will allow the caramel to stick better and won't run as it otherwise would on a waxy surface.

 

Provide a variety of apples for your guests. Some may prefer a sweeter taste while others may like something more tart. I chose to use Granny Smith apples, because their tartness really compliments the sweet flavors of the caramel and toppings. I also really love the pop of bright green in contrast! Pink lady, honeycrisp, or gala apples tend to be the best red apple choices.

Topping it Off

To make things easier for guests, prepare your apples on sticks in advance. The easiest way to do this is to use get handy and use a hammer. This allows your guests to focus on the dipping and decorating process of caramel apples. When choosing toppings for your caramel apple bar, choose a variety of flavors and textures. Pick some salty options, some sweet options, and some unexpected options. I really love mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, crushed candies, sprinkles, toffee bits, nuts, and shredded coconut.

Mastering the Dip

  • caramel-apple-bar-apples-sticks-aerial-1017

    Keep your apples in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until your guests are ready to dip. Cold apples will help the caramel set quicker and prevent it from running off of the apple

  • caramel-apple-bar-step-2-1017

    Allow the excess caramel to drip off of the bottom of the apple and then use a spoon to scrape the excess off of the bottom.

  • caramel-apple-bar-step-1-1017

    When dipping the apples, use a dip and spin technique to really cover the apple well and ensure it goes on smoothly.

  • caramel-apple-bar-step-3-1017

    Flip the apple upside down and hold it that way for about 20 to 30 seconds to allow the caramel to set, before rolling or dipping into your toppings. 
     

  • caramel-apple-bar-apples-sticks-aerial-1017

    Keep your apples in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until your guests are ready to dip. Cold apples will help the caramel set quicker and prevent it from running off of the apple

  • caramel-apple-bar-step-1-1017

    When dipping the apples, use a dip and spin technique to really cover the apple well and ensure it goes on smoothly.

  • caramel-apple-bar-step-2-1017

    Allow the excess caramel to drip off of the bottom of the apple and then use a spoon to scrape the excess off of the bottom.

  • caramel-apple-bar-step-3-1017

    Flip the apple upside down and hold it that way for about 20 to 30 seconds to allow the caramel to set, before rolling or dipping into your toppings. 
     

When done dipping and decorating, place the finished apples on parchment paper. Pop them back into the refrigerator for about 10 to 15 minutes before allowing guests to take them home. Doing this will prevent the apples from getting too sticky. 

Helpful Tips and Tricks

Chocolate dipping:

You can also melt chocolate in a slow cooker as well, and dip your caramel apples in chocolate before decorating or using it to drizzle with on top. If you plan to dip your apples in chocolate, allow the caramel to harden first, before dipping, and always dip into the caramel first, before the chocolate. Otherwise, the chocolate will melt instantly when you swirl your apple into the caramel.

 

Creative combos: 

For toppings, keep different flavor profiles in mind that you think guests would like and be inclined to try, like s'mores, chocolate peanut butter, or cookies and cream and have those toppings on hand.

 

Essential tools: 

Don't forget to include spoons or scoops for your toppings so that guests can help themselves. Small disposable plates are good to have on hand too in case things get messy!

 

Finishing touches:

Don't forget to be prepared with cupcake liners for guests to package their finished apples when they are ready to take them home.

 

 

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!