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Celebrating apple season with these Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples. Crisp autumn apples dipped into homemade salted maple “caramel”. Made with 5 simple ingredients, 6 if you love a little chocolate – which we do. Real maple syrup, honey, cream, and vanilla. Each caramel apple is dipped or drizzled with chocolate and finished off with a pinch of flaky sea salt. Zero processed sugars! A yummy, wholesome twist on a classic fall treat. Fun for both Halloween and Thanksgiving to come.

Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples | halfbakedharvest.com

Oh, how we just love these apples! Yet another recipe I wasn’t sure would turn out, but ended up being completely perfect!

These are so good!

Growing up my mom used to love caramel apples, which is funny since she would say she doesn’t like caramel. Only caramel apples I guess (and likely only with a drizzle of chocolate). Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but whatever. She would buy those Kraft Wrapples kits. They were caramel discs that you’d wrap the apples in to make caramel apples at home. They were very convenient but obviously full of not-so-awesome ingredients, which at the time we didn’t really care about.

Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples | halfbakedharvest.com

To be honest, I don’t remember loving or hating them. But we must have enjoyed them because she’d buy those caramel sheets every fall.

These days, we try to stay away from processed sugars when possible. Of course, I still have fun baking cookies and cakes, but I always try to use healthier sweeteners, usually maple or honey whenever I can.

Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples | halfbakedharvest.com

That said, caramel apples have always stumped me. I wasn’t sure how I could make caramel minus the actual sugar.

But then, I finally had the “duh” moment. Why not try the maple-based caramel I use to make my Vegan Snickers and Twix Bars? I wasn’t sure the caramel would stiffen enough to stick to the apples. But I was so pleasantly surprised when it worked perfectly.

Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples | halfbakedharvest.com

Here are the details

I have to say that I find this caramel 100 times easier than a traditional caramel. And we love the flavor better too. So sometimes healthier ingredients really are just better!

Before you begin making the caramel, prep your apples. I used twigs from outside to stick into my apples. Twigs are really fun, but you can really use any kind of stick. Just something that’s 4-6 inches long. These would great too.

Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples | halfbakedharvest.com

Once you’ve got the sticks in place, it’s time to make the caramel.

Take the maple and mix it with honey and cream. If you’re vegan, you can use additional maple and then coconut cream. However, I found that I had better results with a mix of maple and honey.

Boil the 3 ingredients together for 12 minutes, by this time the sauce should be thickened and look pretty similar to caramel. Add in some vanilla bean powder and sea salt.

From here, you have to work kind of quickly. Start by dipping the apples through the caramel. As the caramel cools, it will begin to thicken, making it harder to dip the apples. If the caramel cools too much, just warm it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Once the apples are dipped, let the caramel harden. Next, drizzle each apple with chocolate (if preferred). Finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and you’ll have the perfect sweet and salty caramel apple. Minus any processed sugar!

Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples | halfbakedharvest.com

You can set up an assembly line of caramel, chocolate, and salt. Then make the apples while chatting with friends or watching your favorite Halloween movie. You could even add some yummy add-ins like toasted nuts or chopped candies. I’m all about the salt, but use what you love!

Can’t wait to make these apples for both Halloween and Thanksgiving this year. I know they’ll quickly be devoured by family and friends.

Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other fall sweets? Here are a few ideas:

Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake

Old Fashioned Caramel Apple Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Chunk Chai Banana Bread

Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Cupcakes

Chai Spiced Maple Sugar Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

Cinnamon Sugar Swirled Apple Butter Brea

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Maple Icing

Lastly, if you make these Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 6 apples
Calories Per Serving: 559 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Insert wooden skewers or twigs into the apples. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. In a medium pot, combine the maple syrup, honey, and cream. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 10-12 minutes or until thickened to a caramel-like sauce. It should easily coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. 
    3. Very carefully transfer the caramel to a heat-proof bowl.
    4. Working quickly, swirl the apples in the caramel, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining apples. If the caramel stiffens too much to dip, warm for 15-20 seconds in the microwave to loosen it back up.
    5. Let the caramel set, about 10-15 minutes, then dip/drizzle each apple with melted chocolate. Let the chocolate harden, then enjoy! The apples will keep in the fridge for about 1 week.
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Sweet and Salty Healthier Caramel Apples | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Delicious!! It was hard to not want to eat the caramel before dipping the apples.
    However, once hardened on the apple it was more of a hard candy consistency.
    Is there a way to tweak the recipe to make the caramel softer/ chewier? I followed the recipe (though it took me longer to get it to a thick enough consistency) just wondering if the harder caramel is expected, or if I didn’t follow instructions correctly.

    1. Hey Mary,
      Happy Wednesday! Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! You’re going to want to reduce the boiling time, the longer the caramel is boiled for, the harder it is going to be:) xT

  2. 4 stars
    Hey guys!
    Love the recipe, a great healthier candy apple.
    Just wanted to share that it does eventually thicken! But it did take almost 40mins…. So if you have the patience it will get there 😊

    1. Hey Linda,
      Happy Monday! 👻 I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it! Happy Halloween! 🎃

    1. Hi Cindy,
      So sorry, to be honest, I never took the temperature of the caramel. I just boiled for 10-12 minutes until it reached thickness. Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope it turns out amazing for you! xx

  3. 3 stars
    The flavor was really good, but my caramel would not thicken and I followed the recipe exactly so I was disappointed. Ended up using it as a syrup over pancakes instead. But I REALLY appreciate the healthier alternatives, so I was really excited to try it.

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, so sorry to hear your caramel didn’t thicken. Did you boil for 10-12 minutes? It should eventually thicken! Let me know how I can help! xx

    2. Everybody loved the caramel apples I’ve been making caramel apples for 30+ years oh my that tells you how old I am lol and everybody said that these were the best caramel apples ever! I made 33 caramel apples for all my nieces and nephews who trick-or-treat at my house. They love them everyone love them this is my new favorite caramel apple recipe forever. FYI I cook the caramel to 238° it was perfection.

      1. Hey Cindy,
        Fantastic!! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback and giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it turned out well for you! Have a great weekend:)

    1. Hi Monica,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try, so sorry to hear about the caramel. Was there anything you adjusted in the recipe? Did you boil the caramel for at least 10 minutes, that is really key! Let me know how I can help! xx

  4. 3 stars
    These were good, but the caramel mixture ended up way too hard for us! We let it boil for around 10 minutes and it thickened up nicely, but after hardening on the Apple it would break up in shards. Still ate them all tho! 😂

    1. Hey Kelly,
      Ohhh nooo! So sorry to hear this!! I’m thinking the 10 minutes was too long for you, next time I would do no more than 8 minutes of boiling. I hope this helps! xT

  5. I made the caramel as a dip for sliced apples, and it turned out wonderfully. Everyone went nuts for it. I followed the advice in the comment section to boil for only 8 minutes. It was perfect!

    1. Hey Alison,
      Happy Friday!👻 Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try and sharing your review! I love to hear that it was enjoyed! xT