Rachel's Chocolate Covered Caramel Apples
Microwave oven 750 watts or Conventional oven 375 degrees
24 ounces Brachs MilkMaid caramels
24 ounces Guittard real semi sweet chocolate chips
24 ounces raw nonpareil almonds
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
6 Fuji apples (grocery story variety average weight 8 ounces each)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour raw almonds onto dry cookie sheet, distributing them evenly. Toast in oven for 15 minutes, turning them at 5-minute intervals. The skins will be golden brown and beginning to crack open. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. When cool, pour 1/2-cup increments into food processor assembled with chopping blade. Pulse food processor in 2-second intervals, only enough to break the almonds into chunks. Pour each batch onto 9 x 13-cake pan until all almonds are chopped. Make a 3-inch wide well in the center of the almonds and set aside.
Prepare apples and utensils:
Wash and dry apples, set aside. Line clean flat baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove cellophane wrappers from caramels and place caramels in 1 1/2-quart glass bowl. Pour corn syrup and vanilla over caramels and place bowl in microwave. On full power, microwave caramels for 4-5 minutes stirring at 1-minute intervals.
Important: even though it will appear like the caramels are just being moved around in the bowl for the first 2 minutes, it is important to do so to distribute the heat evenly. Continue stirring until the corn syrup and vanilla are incorporated into the caramel and mixture is completely smooth.
Place one apple in center of hot caramel. Using sturdy serving spoon, draw caramel up sides of apple. Being careful to leave apple top exposed. Lifting the apple from bowl with spoon, press index finger on exposed apple top to guide apple onto lined baking sheet. Continue with remaining apples, spacing them 2 inches apart from each other on baking sheet. Let caramel cool completely before dipping into chocolate. To test caramel, the apples will immediately release from paper if given a quick tug. If caramel stays adhered to paper. Let cool further until they immediately release.
Open two 12-ounce bags of chocolate chips. Reserve 2/3 cup and set aside. Pour remaining chocolate chips into 1 1/2-quart glass bowl. Set microwave at 50% power and microwave chocolate chips for 4 minutes stirring at 1-minute intervals. Allow temperature to reach 101-106 degrees. Pour reserved chocolate chips in melted chocolate and stir until all chips are melted completely and temperature is 89-90 degrees.
Pour tempered chocolate into center of 9 x 13 baking pan. Place one carameled apple in center of melted chocolate. Using a clean dry spatula, draw chocolate up on sides of apple covering caramel. Slide slotted pancake turner underneath the apple and lift to edge of pan. Gently tap the bottom of turner to allow excess chocolate to drain into pan. Transfer chocolate covered apple to well in almonds and gently press almonds with your hands into chocolate Continue with remaining apples. Place pan of chocolate covered caramel apples in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, until chocolate has set. Enjoy...