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How to make candy apples (and a free gift tag!)

How to make candy apples (and a free gift tag!)

I love candy apples and caramel apples during the Fall, but the problem is that I crave them the rest of the year too, and they are terribly hard to find! Even if you can find them, they cost a million dollars a piece! So I decided I’d try my hand at making my own candy apples, caramel apples, toffee apples- whatever you call them! And guess what? They turned out AMAZING! And they really weren’t as hard as I thought they’d be. Once I got the hang of making them, I wanted to make them for pretty much every person I knew. 

how to make gourmet candy apple

Here’s a little video showing how I made my candy apples:



Seriously, these are so PRETTY! They cost about a dollar each to make, so for the price and the WOW factor, they just can’t be beat. You can get creative and top your candy apples with whatever toppings you’d like too.

how to make gourmet candy apple

I thought these would be darling little gifts, so I came up with a free printable gift tag to attach to your candy apples that will turn them into the perfect gift for a friend, neighbor, or teacher. If you want to give them as a gift, just download one of my tags (download below) and tie it on to the stick. They are darling to give as a favor at a party, or as a thank you.

how to make gourmet candy apple
I love to have my kids help me make these, and then we package them up really cute with one of my three thank you tags (download them below), and give them to their school and church teachers. 

apple thank you gift

And besides being cute, they are so darn delicious! Every time I make them for gifts, I have to make a few extra for my family. Because you can’t go giving away all the yummy caramel apples without saving a few for yourself, am I right?

caramel apple gift tag

Would you like to make your own? Of course you would! Here ya go!

Ingredients for Candy Apples:

  1. Granny Smith Apples
  2. Kraft caramel bits (less than $2 a bag on Amazon)
  3. Vanilla Almond bark 
  4. Toppings- I used crushed up Heath Bar for my toffee apples, sprinkles, cinnamon & sugar, and crushed up Oreos
  5. Caramel Apple Sticks 
  6. Wax Paper
  7. If gifting- printable gift tags (see below for the download) and celophane bags

(One batch will make 4 candy apples- 4 apples, 1 bag of caramel bits, and a third of an almond bark brick. I generally triple my batch, so I buy 12 apples, 3 bags of caramel bits, and one brick of almond bark.)

Directions for Candy Apples:

Prepare Apples

Granny Smith apples are the absolute best choice for candy apples. I like to look for apples that are on the smaller side, so I know they’ll fit into the cup when I’m dipping them, and then into the cellophane bags when I’m wrapping them up- plus then your caramel and candy to apple ratio is a lot better! Make sure your apples are washed and REALLY dry. Insert sticks into the stem of your apples. I use these Caramel Apple Sticks, which I found on Amazon.  

Prepare Caramel

One of the best tips I received from my friend when she was teaching me to make these candy apples is to use a 2 cup glass measuring cup to melt the caramel in. It is the PERFECT size to dip the apples, and I’m not wasting a ton of caramel in the bottom of the dish at the end. (Later, for the almond bark, you’re going to need a 4 cup glass measuring cup, so I would really recommend buying this set with both cups included.)

Place one 11 ounce bag of Kraft caramel bits (less than $2 a bag on Amazon) in your 2 cup GLASS measuring cup- make sure it’s microwave safe. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of water. Place in the microwave for one minute, then stir. If it’s not all the way melted, microwave another 30 seconds. Repeat for 30 seconds until it’s all melted. Be careful not to burn your caramel. I recommend letting your caramel cool for about 2 to 3 minutes before you start dipping your apples- it just seems to stick to the apples better when it isn’t super hot.

Dip Apples

When your caramel is ready, start dipping your apples. You’ll want to watch the video above so you can see the technique. You really end up swirling your apple more than dipping. Make sure not to dip the caramel all the way up to the stem, where the stick is in the apple. The caramel tends to get yucky when it gets the juice from the apple on it, so stay clear of the stem. 

Once your apples are covered, you want to slowly pull it out of the caramel. Just hold the apple above the caramel for a few seconds until the caramel stops dripping off. Then you’ll scrape the bottom of the apple across the rim of the measuring cup. This will help it so you don’t end up with a huge puddle of caramel on the bottom of your apple. Then place your apple on wax paper to cool.

Let Cool

You’ll want to let the caramel cool really well on your apple before you dip in your chocolate. I would wait about 2 or 3 hours, or even overnight, before dipping in the chocolate. 

Dip in Chocolate

You can use whatever chocolate you want, but I like Vanilla Almond Bark- you can find this on Amazon, but it’s much cheaper at the grocery store- look in the baking isle, by the chocolate chips.

Break up the almond bark into chunks into a 4 cup glass measuring cup (remember I said you’re going to need this set with both cups included). I use the entire 24 ounce package of almond bark. Melt in the microwave for one minute, then stir. If it’s not all the way melted, microwave another 30 seconds. Repeat for 30 seconds until it’s all melted. Stir until it’s smooth. 

Before I start dipping, I make sure the cooled caramel on my apple is as smooth as possible. I just take my fingers and smash any bubbles and smooth the bottom of the apple, where I pulled it off of the wax paper. You can see this in the video above.

When your chocolate is ready, start dipping your apples. This technique is similar to the caramel layer. You’ll want to watch the video above so you can see the technique, which is more of a swirling motion than dipping. I like to dip my chocolate so it doesn’t cover up all of the caramel. Then I have a layer of apple, caramel, and chocolate showing- I just think it’s prettier that way.

Once your apples are covered, you want to slowly pull it out of the chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip off for a few seconds. I’ve found that the more I shake and move the apple, the less uniform my chocolate looks, so I would just hold it still above your measuring cup until it stops dripping. 

Add Toppings

As soon as you’re done dipping your apple in chocolate, add the toppings- you want to do this while the chocolate is still warm, so the toppings stick. My personal favorite is cinnamon & sugar mixed together, but you could really use whatever you wanted. My kids love sprinkles, crushed up Oreos, and Heath Bar toffee bits too. You could also drizzle milk chocolate on top of the white chocolate. Then set your apple on wax paper to cool for a couple of hours.

Package and Add Gift Tags

Once the apples have cooled, use these celophane bags (I’ve found that this size is the best), and slip the apple into the bag. Then tie with a piece of ribbon or string. I always use this baker’s twine. It comes in a bunch of different colors and seriously lasts forever.

Then tie on one of my gift tags.

Download the free printable tags here:

Cirlce + Dots Thank you tag


APPLES thank you tag


FLOWERS thank you tag




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Loann P

Thursday 22nd of October 2020

This is the best recipe and instruction video ever. I used your method last Halloween and couldn't find where I marked your website from last year. It took me 4 weeks of searching the internet to find your website again. Finally did! So excited. Thanks again for this.

Sue G

Friday 6th of September 2019

This is such a great idea! They all look amazing!!! Do you know if the almond bark could stay warm in a crockpot or something so we could do it with a group of people? I would have the caramel part done already.