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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. 5 stars
    I made this tonight with the coconut cream! It was runny but I chilled the apples in the freezer with the caramel and then re-layered the caramel that slipped off back onto the apples after it thickened in the freezer. Really yummy flavor! Everyone at the dinner party loved them!

    1. Hey Mary,
      Happy Monday!🎃 I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was tasty for you, thanks a bunch for making it! xx

    1. Hi Brooke,
      Sorry, for this recipe you will definitely want to use heavy cream. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xT

  2. This caramel is absolute perfection! I have been making caramel for years and know what it’s supposed to act like. With this recipe I couldn’t tell a difference. So sorry for the others that have made it without success, but I will be recommending to friends and family 100%.

    1. Hey Miah,
      Happy Friday!! I am delighted to hear that this recipe turned out tasty for you, thanks a bunch for giving it a try!

  3. 1 star
    Boiled for 9 minutes and it smelled burned and turned a darker brown . Threw away immediately. Sorry this recipe didn’t work for me either .

    1. Hi Sandy,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try, sorry to hear you had some issues. Was there anything you adjusted in the recipe? Please let me know how I can help! xTieghan

  4. 4 stars
    It worked for me mostly! It was super fun to do – for those it’s not working for with candy you really have to follow directions precisely. Which I felt like I did but the caramel didn’t adhere to the apple as well as I wish – there’s always some pooling at the bottom but here there was too much I’d say. What did I do wrong?

    For flavor it tastes quite nice, it doesn’t taste precisely like caramel but I like that it feels a bit more healthy than regular caramel. Although considering I used cheap fake syrup which is all corn syrup possibly it wasn’t!

    1. Hey Sarah,
      I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! Sounds like it just needed to boil for a bit longer:) xx

  5. Mine was also pretty thin after following instructions and letting it cool. So I put it back in the pot and let it simmer super low for like an hour while I forgot about it and did other things. It ended up nice and thick just like the photos and generously coated the apples.

    1. Hi Annette,
      Perfect! I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I am so glad it was a hit! xx

  6. 1 star
    Unfortunately this was a flop for me. I used coconut cream, boiled for 12min let sit and the caramel just never thickened up after letting it sit for 20min. I even stuck it in the fridge to see if it would thicken up that way with no luck. Any thoughts?

    1. H Hailey,
      Thanks for trying this recipe, so sorry it didn’t turn out for you! Unfortunately, the coconut cream can be finicky! I think maybe boiling for a bit longer would have helped! Let me know if there is anything else you need! xx

    1. Hey Krystal,
      Happy Sunday! I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and appreciate you giving it a try!🍂 xT

    1. Hi Brianne,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try, so sorry they didn’t workout for you. Is there any thing that I can help with? What went wrong? xT

  7. Can I make the caramel as a dip for the apples instead of coating the whole apple? If so, would I need to add more liquid so it doesn’t harden?

    1. Hey Leslie,
      Sure, that would work! I would just add more cream or boil for 8 minutes. I hope you love this recipe! xx

  8. 1 star
    carmel never thickened even after boiling double the recommended time 🙁 finally gave up and took it off the stove hoping it would thicken up as it cooled but it was still too runny to stick to the apples after several minutes. Bummed because these looked so good!

    1. Hi Lauren,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear you had issues. Unfortunately, caramel is very finicky, boiling it for longer than the recommended time will not thicken it, it only turns it into a hard candy. Sounds like you just needed to pour into your jar and allow it to sit for a bit before coating the apples. Please let me know if I can help with anything else! xT

  9. Tieghan, might it work to melt the caramel over a double boiler then when thickened, turn down the heat to keep it warm and fluid while the apples are dipped?

    1. Hey Terri,
      If you want to follow the recipe and then just keep the caramel warm over the double boiler, that would work well for you! xx

  10. These look delicious 🙂 Do you have suggestions for how to store them if you’re not serving them right away? I’d like to make them 1-2 days before serving them for a party. Thank you! I really enjoy your recipes and have made a number of them!

    1. Hi Tieghan,

      My boys and I have been following you for a year now and we love your recipes! I just tried the Carmel apples and I am having trouble with my Carmel. The Carmel is not adhering well to the apples well and when it does the Carmel is brittle. I can’t even cut the apple without it falling off… I’m not sure where I went wrong.. flavor is all there just and tastes great.

      The only think I can think of is my honey was crystallized…

      1. Hi Kristin,
        Thanks so much for making this recipe, so sorry to hear you had some issues! If the caramel has turned hard like candy that means it was boiled for too long! Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

        1. Hi Sarah,
          Yes, vanilla extract will work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  11. Tieghan, I think you would love baking with dates if you got some really great ones directly from a date farm and spent some time playing around with them. Date paste (which is just whole dates, pulverized, often with water added) makes the perfect base for the “caramel” in caramel apples, and it’s truly just “the fruit, the whole fruit, and nothing but the fruit,” so it’s a healthier way to make things sweet. And dates naturally taste a lot like caramel!

    1. Hey Brenna,
      Thanks so much for sharing! I do like using dates when I can, I just didn’t choose them for this recipe:) Let me know if you give it a try! xx