Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Slices are a festive treat that the whole family can help decorate. Dipped in dark or milk chocolate and adorned with caramel and your favorite toppings, these apples are fun to make and easy to serve.
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What I Love About Caramel Apple Slices
My family loves making caramel apples in the fall, especially after a trip to the orchard. This variation on the treat is great because:
- It’s easy to customize. Everyone can add their favorite toppings to their apple slices.
- Each apple slice has a decadent topping-to-fruit ratio. Instead of just the outside of the fruit being coated as with traditional caramel apples, the whole slice is enrobed here.
- They’re a bit easier to eat and serve, particularly for entertaining. Cutting up caramel apples after they’ve been decorated can be messy, and biting into a whole apple can be cumbersome.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Slices
- Large, Fresh Apples. We love to use Granny Smith (tart) or Honeycrisp (sweet-tart), which offset the rich coatings and toppings well.
- Chocolate Melting Wafers. This type of chocolate has been formulated for melting, dipping, and setting, without the need to temper it at home. For the best flavor when using this type of chocolate, I like to buy Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate Melting Wafers.
No melting wafers on hand? Check out How to Temper Chocolate from Epicurious to make this recipe using blocks of chocolate.
- Soft Caramel Squares. Be sure to buy soft caramels to melt down (such as Kraft America’s Classic Caramels) as opposed to caramel hard candies. For a twist, using soft sea salt caramel squares would also be delicious, as would a batch of my Apple Cider Caramel (cooked to 245-250 degrees F).
- Heavy Cream. You’ll need just two tablespoonfuls to mix into the caramel squares for drizzling over the chocolate covered apple slices. If using my Apple Cider Caramel recipe, omit the extra heavy cream here.
- Candy and Nuts for Decorating. The sky’s the limit! See the “decorating” section below for ideas. Smaller toppings tend to stick best to these chocolate covered caramel apple slices.
How to Make and Decorate Caramel Apple Slices
This recipe is a cinch to make, but a few details will ensure that your decorated apple slices turn out great every time.
Prepping the Apples
Start with whole apples (washed and dried well). Slice each from top (stem) to bottom into 4 or 5 slices, about 1/2-inch thick (no more than 3/4-inch thick). I like to use a the tip of a paring knife and a melon baller to remove the stems and any seeds or tough fibers, particularly from the center slices.
Insert a 10mm width popsicle stick into the center of the bottom of each slice, pushing it about halfway into the apple. I prefer to use flat popsicle sticks for these, as opposed to round candy apple sticks, for added stability.
If you’re having difficulty inserting the popsicle sticks cleanly, use a paring knife to cut a slit in the apple first. I’ve found that the need to do this varies by batch and apple variety.
Perhaps the most crucial step for success with this recipe: dry the sliced apples very well on all sides with paper towels immediately before dipping in chocolate. If the apples are moistened with juice, the chocolate will not adhere.
Dipping the Chocolate Base Coat
Melt the milk or dark chocolate wafers (I use a double boiler, or microwave them, according to Ghirardelli package instructions) and dip the dried apple slices into the chocolate to coat. Be sure to cover the whole slice, just past where the popsicle stick meets the apple, to seal it in and make it a bit sturdier when you’re eating it.
Let any excess chocolate drip off, and then lay the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, without touching each other. Refrigerate the apples for 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate is firm.
Drizzling with Caramel
While the chocolate is setting, prep the caramel. Combine the unwrapped soft caramel squares with heavy cream in a bowl. Microwave for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each interval, until the caramel is melted and smooth.
If desired, you can also add an extra layer of chocolate drizzles after the caramel, in a complementary variety. For example, drizzle milk chocolate over a dark chocolate base (or vise versa), or white chocolate (as pictured). Chocolate drizzles also help the toppings stick better.
Before adding caramel and chocolate to the dipped apples, be sure that neither is too hot. Caramel and extra chocolate should be fluid enough to drizzle, but not so hot that they melt the chocolate base underneath.
Decorating the Apples
Before the caramel and chocolate drizzles have set, adorn the apple slices with your favorite add-ons. This is a great opportunity for little helpers in the kitchen to join in.
We love to use M&M’s Mini’s, Reese’s Pieces, or chopped nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, or pistachios) to decorate our caramel apple slices. Milk, dark, or white chocolate chips are also delicious, as are chopped candy bars (a great way to use leftover Halloween candy), or seasonal sprinkles (fun for kids!)
Try experimenting with different combinations to find new favorites. Here are some ideas for inspo:
- Keep it simple with a pinch or two of finely flaked sea salt.
- Put a tropical spin on the recipe by pairing chopped macadamia nuts and shredded coconut with dark chocolate.
- Add crushed up Oreo or Biscoff cookies or graham crackers.
- Sprinkle with chopped dried cherries or cranberries.
- Break salted mini pretzels into small pieces for a sweet-savory twist.
Once I’ve added the toppings, I like to pop the apple slices in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to help them finish setting.
Serving The Decorated Apple Slices
For the best flavor and texture, I recommend serving the apples soon after assembling them. Since this recipe uses sliced fruit, additional juices will seep out in time and make the chocolate coating more prone to releasing when you bite into it. The caramel drizzles and candy toppings can also become a bit messy the longer they sit.
I’ve had success resting the apples for a couple of hours after assembly in the refrigerator, but I do not recommend preparing them ahead for overnight storage.
As when eating dipped fruits, such as chocolate covered strawberries, some of the chocolate coating will break off of the apple slices as you eat them. It’s best to serve these with a napkin or plate.
More of our Favorite Apple Desserts
- Homemade Caramel Apples
- Bourbon Apple Crisp
- Homemade Apple Pie
- Caramel Apple Hand Pies
- Miniature Apple Raspberry Pies
Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Slices
- 3 large granny smith or honeycrisp apples , washed and dried well
- 10 ounces milk or dark chocolate melting wafers (such as Ghirardelli)
- 8 ounces soft caramel squares (1 cup), unwrapped (such as Kraft)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup complementary variety chocolate melting wafers , optional but recommended (see note)
- mini M&M's, chopped nuts , and/or other assorted small toppings of your choosing*
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- Slice each apple from top to bottom into 4 or 5 slices, about 1/2-inch wide. You can go as thick as 3/4-inches, but we find anything thicker cumbersome on the popsicle stick. Use a melon baller and the tip of a paring knife to remove the stem and carve out any seeds or fibrous core. (Don't dig all the way through the apple slice with the melon baller.)
- Insert a 10 mm wide, food-grade wooden popsicle stick into the center of each apple slice from the bottom, pushing it about halfway into the fruit. (If needed, use a paring knife to cut a slit in the bottom of the apple slice before inserting the popsicle stick; the need to do this will vary by apple.)
- Melt the milk or dark chocolate wafers in a double boiler or the microwave according to package directions. Immediately before dipping the apples, pat them very dry with paper towels on all sides. Dip the entire apple slice into the chocolate, just past where the popsicle meets the fruit, allowing extra chocolate to drip off.
- Place the apples onto the prepared sheet pan in a single layer, making sure they aren't touching each other. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate is set.
- While the apples are chilling, place caramel squares in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the heavy cream and microwave on high for 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring between intervals until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
- If you're adding extra chocolate drizzles over the caramel, melt the wafers in a double boiler or the microwave according to package directions. Let both the caramel and extra chocolate cool a bit until they're warm and still fluid enough to drizzle. (If too hot, they will run together and will risk melting the chocolate coating on the apples.)
- Using a spoon, drizzle the caramel over the chocolate-dipped apple slices, followed by the extra chocolate, if using. Immediately sprinkle with your favorite toppings. Refrigerate for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the chocolate and caramel are set.
- For best flavor and texture, serve the apples the day you make them, within a few hours of assembly. Refrigerate until ready to enjoy. We do not recommend assembling the caramel apple slices for overnight storage before serving.