Who says trick-or-treating ghosts, ghouls, and goblins should have all the fun this Halloween? That’s right, I’m giving everyone’s fall and Halloween favorite, caramel apples, a dizzy, adults-only spin by spiking ’em with bourbon – yeehaw!
Can we talk about how much I love Halloween, by the way? I haven’t celebrated in costume in years – I think the last time was when Ben and I dressed up like Shawn Johnson and Bela Karolyi (HAHAHA,) in 2008. TWO THOUSAND AND EIGHT? We are fun people, I promise. Anyway, one of my most favorite memories of Halloween as a child was dressing up as a bunny rabbit when I was maybe six, complete with a plastic bunny nose attached to a string that covered my entire nose but stopped just above my mouth so I could breathe. Well, we were getting down to the wire – 10 minutes ’til go time – and I could not find that dang bunny nose anywhere! We searched high and low but no dice. Luckily one of my brothers dressed up as like, I don’t know, a zombie that year and had leftover face paint so my Mom quickly applied a black nose, white mouth, rosy cheeks, and whiskers, and then huddled all of us together to take a picture.
Guess what I found as I reached up to adjust my bunny ears before the flash? That damn plastic bunny nose! It had been making my nose sweaty (no nose holes, y’all) so I’d put it on top of my head to air things out while I was finishing getting ready and totally forgot. Why nobody, especially my Mom who was inches away from it while applying face paint, didn’t see it, I’ll never know. (Nose firmly in place over face paint in pic below!)
ANYWAY EASY BOURBON CARAMEL APPLES WITH PECANS – MUWAHAHAHA!
I promise I haven’t just finished eating one of these boozy delights, I’m just well, delighted, with how the sticky, sweet, and risque caramel apples kissed by crunchy pecans came out. I’m partnering with Fisher Nuts again this year and developed the recipe, which is inspired by my favorite fall drink Ginger + Apple + Bourbon, to highlight their preservative-free pecans halves and update a classic fall treat.
Here’s the scoop – 4 ingredients, 15 minutes, seriously sinister. I cannot tell you how delicious the combo of crispy apple, smoky bourbon, sweet caramel, and crunchy pecans is. This takes the classic caramel apple up a few thousand notches and was the perfect way to use up the bounty of apples we picked at the orchard a few weeks ago. I, uh, well I got a bit carried away and came home with more apples than I know what to do with. Problem deliciously solved!
Start by scrubbing 5 small red apples – any kind you like. I used Honeycrisps from the orchard we visited a few weekends ago. Here’s the deal though – some store-bought apples may have a waxy coating on them so make sure you scrub then dry ’em off really well. Next, remove the stems then stick a bamboo skewer or popsicle stick into the center. I got the bamboo skewers right in the regular grocery store.
Next, chop 1-1/4 cups pecan halves relatively small. You can use a knife or one my favorite kitchen gadgets, a food chopper from Pampered Chef. Ben rearranged the kitchen cupboards a few weeks ago and tried to convince me this baby didn’t deserve a spot in the new layout. The nerve. It chopped the nuts up in under a minute! I win.
Scoop the nuts into a shallow bowl then set aside.
Caramel time! Now, you could certainly make your own caramel but I love using these ultra-convenient caramel bits from Kraft in everything from Shortcut Caramel Cinnamon Rolls to Snickers Chex Mix. They’re basically unwrapped caramel squares in pellet form so they melt super easy. Look for these in the candy vs baking aisle, by the way.
Pour the caramel bits into a tall, narrow bowl (vs a wide, flat bowl,) then add 2 Tablespoons bourbon. If you don’t have a bottle in the house you can buy the little airplane bottles which are usually right by the check out at the liquor store. I know this because I have been permanently tasked with stocking Ben up with tiny bottles of Fireball, which he keeps in his golf bag for the back 9, whenever I’m buying wine.
Microwave the caramel and bourbon for 1 minute then stir and microwave for up to another minute, or until very smooth. Next, dunk the apples in then give ’em a little spin to get rid of the excess caramel. The apple dunking process is easier if you’ve got a narrow/tall bowl vs a wide/flat one, by the way!
Gently pat the apples into the chopped pecans then place them onto a nonstick sprayed, wax paper-lined baking sheet. That’s it!
Finish with the remaining apples then put the baking sheet into the fridge for at least 30 minutes before eating. The caramel will remain tacky for a few hours so if you want to package them up for a friend, for instance, wait until then to do so!
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Easy Bourbon Caramel Apples with Pecans
Easy Bourbon Caramel Apples with Pecans are a fun and tongue-tingling fall treat with just 4 ingredients!
- 5 small red apples
- 11oz bag Kraft caramel bits (look for them in the candy aisle)
- 2 Tablespoons bourbon (could use water)
- 1-1/4 cup Fisher Pecan Halves, chopped
- 5 bamboo skewers or popsicle sticks
- Scrub apples to remove any wax coating then dry very well. Remove stems then skewer through the top with a bamboo skewer or popsicle stick. Place chopped pecans into a shallow bowl then set aside. Place a piece of wax paper onto a baking sheet then spray with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Add caramel bits and bourbon to a tall bowl with high sides (vs a wide, flat bowl) then microwave for 1 minute. Stir then microwave for up to another minute or until caramel is very smooth.
- Dunk apples into bourbon caramel, spinning to remove excess, and then lightly press into chopped pecans. Place onto prepared baking sheet then finish with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate immediately to help caramel set for at least 30 minutes before eating. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
The BEST! Sticky, sweet, crunchy, and that bourbon flavor – oh. my. gosh. Amazing! If you don’t like bourbon, you can of course use water in it’s place. But if you want a real, adult-friendly treat than go for it!