Your great grandma didn't use corn syrup in her caramel apples, and neither should you! You will find all kinds of recipes for caramel and caramel apples, and basically all of them say that you need corn syrup for one reason or another. What you need is something sweet that has a similar composition of glucose and fructose as the corn syrup. Corn syrup is about half glucose and half fructose. The corn syrup you buy at the store is usually Karo brand syrup. Karo is a mixture of half corn syrup (100% glucose) and half high-fructose corn syrup (90% fructose). Giving it about a 50/50 mixture of glucose and sucrose.

Substituting a sweetener that is mostly sucrose (table sugar, maple syrup) or fructose (agave nectar, 90% fructose) will not work. If you do not use the proper substitute, the fat will separate out of your caramel and the caramel will either end up brittle, or too greasy to stick to your apples. Sucrose is a disaccharide of fructose and glucose; in other words, sucrose is fructose linked to glucose. With caramel apples, the glucose essentially keeps everything in solution. Sucrose has a completely different structure. If there is not enough glucose, the sucrose recrystallizes and the fat gets pushed out of the caramel, and you do not have that chewy creamy goodness. So what is the magical mother nature substitute for corn syrup? HONEY! Honey has about the same glucose and fructose content as corn syrup. It took me 59 caramel apples worth of experimentation, but at the end of it all, I came up with a repeatable recipe for caramel apples that does not include any corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup.

This video shows a condensed version of the process. The footage is from one of my experimental batches using corn syrup in order to observe the properties of that kind of caramel. Just pretend that I'm adding half a cup of honey instead of Karo syrup:

Step 1: Ingredients and equipment

It's amazing that I hadn't accidentally made caramel apples at some point; it is just that simple. Not altogether easy, the first time, but simple. This recipe will give you enough caramel to make eight caramel apples. However, if it is your first time, you will likely glop caramel all over the place and put too much caramel on your apples and you might end up with just 7 apples so coated in caramel that you will be any three-year-old's best friend for life.


8 apples (7 if you are a pessimist)
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Brown Sugar (Brown sugar is nice because it already has a caramelly flavor)
1/2 cup Honey
4 tbsp Butter (half of one stick)

That's it. I know. crazy.


1 medium sized pot (one with thick sides works better than a plain old steel one)
1 stirring implement, most likely a spoon
1 greasy little square of aluminum foil big enough to set your caramel apples on
1 cup or small bowl, full of cold water
8 sticks or forks or somethings you will use to jab your apples and hang on to when you eat them
measuring cups

***You will NOT be needing a thermometer of any kind***
Most of the time, the thermometers you buy on a whim at the grocery store can't be trusted. I will teach you how to determine when your caramel is done using the cold water test. Then when you're on a deserted island without your candy thermometer, you can still delight the natives with tasty treats.
Great to see the alternative to corn syrup and why - I live in ireland and they don't sell corn syrup over here, only lyon's golden syrup which is a completely different make-up.
to sweet<br /> <br />
who doenst love the yummy sweetnes of caramel apples?? i think i found someone who does!!
To sweet or not to sweet that is the question.<br>
im wondering does this count for caramel candy too?
I think that I did read that it wasn't necessary to keep stirring once the mixture was boiling.&nbsp; However, I&nbsp;did not trust that advice and I stirred it almost constantly.&nbsp; Sorry for the confusing info!&nbsp; Keep stirring. :]<br />
The previous step says after it boils, you can stop stirring. This step says keep stirring. Which is correct?
Yummy... I&acute;ve just made my first batch and I&nbsp;can&acute;t wait to try them!<br />
Gonna try it soon thnx
"It will be easier to make good caramel than to explain recrystallization to a disappointed child. " lawl
I want one too! Wanna try this when we buy apples...
these look amazing I want to try these out so badly
Awesome! I want one. Thanks for the cold water test videos, too. ;)
schmeese's mom LOVES !!! them and you will to

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